15 Tips for Creating Standout Pitch Decks

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Gaining the right kind of attention is essential to business growth, whether you're hoping to attract backers for your brilliant idea or your first few or highest-profile clients. How you present your business to these folks is important, and worth investing extra time and energy into.

When preparing to wow clients or investors, make sure you hit the right notes with these 15 tips from pros.

A. Think Critically About Your Audience

Teams will often get carried away in trying to make the most visually stunning deck or perhaps coming up with the biggest, brightest idea. Both aspects are important, but we've found a lot of success when we dig into the real DNA of our clients. This helps us make more informed decisions and present not only good ideas, but good ideas that thoughtfully consider the client and their unique needs. - Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench

A. Define the Problem and Then Solve It

The first thing many investors will want to know is the problem you're trying to solve. Get to the point quickly on the problem, make them agree that it is a problem, and then demonstrate how you plan to solve the issue better than the competition. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

A. Seek Feedback Before You Present

Before meeting with investors, show your deck to anyone willing and capable of giving you quality feedback. Seek out other entrepreneurs who have raised money, advisers who have helped companies raise money and investors who you do not plan on pitching to. The more feedback, the better: What may be standout to you may not be to others, and you want to have your best pitch by game time. - Adam Mendler, Custom Tobacco

A. Be Strong on Fundamentals

Investors are very savvy when it comes to telling the difference between data backed by research and empty jargon. That's why your deck has to be strong on fundamentals such as expenses and projected profits. It's great to be articulate and have impressive designs, but it's more crucial to show investors exactly how your idea, product or business will help them. Be ready to provide hard data. - Shawn Porat, Scorely

A. Tell a Story

Great pitch decks tell a story. Be sure to state a big, relevant change happening in the world. Then show that they can either embrace this trend and win big, or disregard the trend and risk becoming irrelevant. Show your solution but, more importantly, highlight evidence that shows your solution is the magical answer. - Eddie Lou, Shiftgig

A. Present Conversationally

One mistake I’ve seen my friends make is writing the deck like it’s for a robot to analyze versus a human being to read and enjoy. One of the best ways to get an investor’s attention is to create the deck as if you’re speaking directly to one person — them! It’s a copywriting trick that works great in any situation, and especially well in decks. - Mark Krassner, Expectful

A. Talk About Examples

Show how you can drive results with examples, testimonials and case studies. Furthermore, select examples that will resonate with the potential client — companies they respect, companies in their industry, or companies with similar pain points, for instance. - Marlene Jia, TOPBOTS

A. Offer Solid Statistics and Metrics

There’s nothing more powerful than real, relevant stats and metrics to tee up your pitch. Show that your product is critical due to real market forces and present data reinforcing that front and center. Call out the trends that prove your product is essential. - Vincent Wong, mHelpDesk

A. Connect the Idea to Existing Pain Points

Show how you can alleviate existing pain points that have yet to be solved in a way that the audience will benefit from, and you will get attention over other pitches. Illustrate how you can make this happen, as well as the result of such a solution. - Murray Newlands, Sighted

A. Specify How the Money Will Be Used

Investors want to know how you plan to use their money. Do your goals align? Create short-term goals that will help you achieve your long-term goals. Explain to them in detail where the money will be spent and how it will be used to achieve a greater mission. Inspire, but be realistic and logical. - Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

A. Speak Specifically

The worst pitch decks that we've produced have always shared one commonality: They're vague. Vagueness leads to inconsistency, and a lack of focus will always come across in your pitch. Be specific, succinct and know what you're trying to say. Don't flail and tread water if you don't have to — if your pitch seems blurry, tighten it up before you put it in anyone's hands. - Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

A. Anticipate Questions

Telling the right story about what you have to offer is only the beginning. Any client or partner worth your time will certainly have questions. Know what they will be and exactly how you want to answer before you even begin your presentation. If you’ve done your research, you should be able to anticipate where gaps in understanding may occur and plan for the best possible ways to close them. - Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty

A. Keep Your Visuals Simple

It is easy to get carried away with a pitch deck — after all, you want to represent your company in the most comprehensive way possible to potential investors or customers. Instead of trying to jam all of the information into the deck, though, keep your visuals simple and supplement it with deeper insights in your verbal presentation. - Stan Garber, Scout RFP

A. Hire a Designer

You have one opportunity to impress those you are pitching to, so you have to make it count. Going in with a self-made pitch deck screams "amateur." Spend the money and bring in a designer to make your pitch look professional. In the end, the investment will be worth it. - Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co

A. Don't Overthink It

You want whoever you are pitching to, to grasp exactly what you are attempting to accomplish, so keep it simple, be yourself and don't overthink it. Too many people try to get too clever or crafty with their pitches and end up losing their audience. Remember: Less is more. - Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution

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