A man in a suit stands in front of a floor-to-ceiling window and speaks and gesturing to a group off-camera. Behind him is a screen showing a graph in various shades of brown.
Your pitch deck is the way that many potential investors and partners will be introduced to your company, so you'll want to make it as complete and appealing as possible. — Getty Images/Hiraman

A pitch deck is a presentation that gives your audience an overview of your business plan. You can use a pitch deck when meeting with potential investors, customers and business partners. Here are nine steps to creating a standout pitch deck.

[Read more: 3 Easy Steps to Research Your Startup Business Idea]

Outline the problem you’re trying to solve

Every business starts by trying to solve a problem that exists in the market. So the beginning of your pitch deck should outline the problem your company is trying to solve.

Ideally, this should be a problem that most people can understand and relate to. Make sure you focus on just one core problem — if you start talking about multiple issues, you may come across as unfocused and lacking direction.

Present your solution

Once you’ve outlined the problem, you should immediately explain the solution your company provides. If you’re trying to receive funding, the solution you present should be scalable.

However, it’s also essential to focus on the timing and why this solution matters now. You don’t want investors to think you’re too early or too late to the market.

Explain your target market

Next, you want to talk about your target market and how extensive this group is. What is the total market size, and how will your company be positioned in that market?

This information will help investors start to see the potential behind your business. However, be careful not to present your market as too broad — having a smaller, more specific market can help you initially.

Talk about how your company will make money

Your pitch deck should also outline your business model and explain how your company will make money. For instance, will you rely on a subscription-based model, or will you sell products or services to customers?

You should also show how your pricing will fit the overall market. For example, will you offer a lower-priced option that undercuts what’s currently available?

[Read more: 6 Steps to Starting a Subscription-Based Business]

The beginning of your pitch deck should outline the problem your company is trying to solve.

Introduce your team

Before investors put money behind a company, they want to trust the people leading the business. So you should devote some time to introducing your team and talking about why you chose them.

Highlight some of the key members on your team and talk about the expertise they bring to the table. Or, if you don’t yet have a team, talk about some of the critical positions you plan to fill in the future.

Include a competitor analysis

Potential investors will want to know who your competitors are and what sets your solution apart. Devote some time to competitor research and explain any advantages your business has over its competitors. You want to highlight what makes your company different and why customers will choose you over the other options available to them.

Utilize customer testimonials

If you have any customer testimonials, you should include them in your pitch deck. Customer testimonials add social proof and help investors see that there is already a demand for your product or service.

[Read more: How to Create a Product Prototype]

Make it look good

In a perfect world, your pitch deck will be judged based solely on the content you include. But appearances matter, and you want your pitch deck to appear professional and put together.

That doesn’t mean you need to pay to have your pitch deck professionally designed. You just need to pay attention to the details, like choosing fonts that are easy to read and using colors that complement each other.

Practice your presentation

Finally, you should practice your presentation before delivering it to investors. Hone in on the key points you’re trying to make and which slides are the most important. It doesn’t matter how good your pitch deck is if your presentation isn’t engaging.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published February 24, 2022