Your pitch deck is not intended to raise capital, but you can’t raise capital without one.
The fact is, investment decisions are rarely (if ever) decided in the first meeting, so expecting a ‘yes’ after the initial pitch is unrealistic. Most successful fundraising campaigns involve meeting at least 20-30 potential capital partners (sometimes many more), some of them multiple times (6-8 times is the minimum). So what gives?
The immediate outcome you want from a pitch is not an investment in your business but the opportunity to provide more information and continue the dialogue with future meetings that will lead to a commitment of capital. So you have to make it count.
It is your only chance to make a first impression, so it needs to be good. You and your business will be judged on the quality and content of your pitch; everything you do from that moment on will be colored by their first impression.
Finally, the slides in the pitch deck are simply there to guide the conversation and emphasize your key points. The real presentation should be verbal and be focused on telling a story. In the human brain, decisions are not made with the ‘left/logical’ hemisphere, decisions are made in the right/creative side where stories reside and resonate.
Don’t try to crowd everything you’d like to say on a slide; it’ll just muddle the message and take attention away from you and your narrative. Make the audience listen to you and not just look at the slides.
However, a pitch deck is vital for helping the story along, and there are certain slides you must have for a great pitch deck. We'll address that - and the other documents you'll need to prepare - in later posts. In the meantime, a great resource for learning about what works and what doesn't can be found in Haje Van Kamp's Pitchdeck Teardown series on the Techcrunch website. Great stuff.
Just keep in mind that it can be a long and challenging process, so be relentlessly positive!
Keep your chin up!