What is the correct order for the slides in your pitch deck? – gotechbusiness.com


There’s a huge number of pitch deck templates out there, and there’s one thing most of them do wrong: they forget to mention that the template is (intended) flexible. For some businesses, using the template works as it is, but for others it gives you a story that doesn’t flow at best, or doesn’t work at worst. For example, in my teardown for Encore’s pitch deck this week (gotechbusiness.com+ subscription required), the company starts with a team slide – that’s cool, and it works for some companies, but not others.

Broadly speaking, the content that goes into pitch decks is pretty much the same thing — that’s kind of the point, and it helps investors quickly get a comprehensive overview of the company they’re looking at. You know how it goes: what is the problem, how do you solve it, how big is the market, what is the competition, what is your team, how much money do you raise… the usual.

But if there is no set order, how? to do do you determine the correct order?

When I review pitch decks, whether for gotechbusiness.com, with the various accelerators I work with or in my capacity as a pitch coach, I often run into a tricky problem. Many, probably most of the people I work with haven’t given enough thought to the order of the slides. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t tell your story to match your slides; it’s the other way around. You use the slide to support and reinforce your story.

The first slide is the answer to “What’s unusual about this company.”

That means two things: if your slides don’t work, or if you can’t connect the computer to the screen (it happens more than you might think), if for some reason you can’t share your screen (thank you Zoom… ), or if you can’t use your slides for any other reason, you need to have a handle on your story enough to be able to present your slides without it. More importantly, the slides shouldn’t be the focus of your attention: your story is. If your Keynote or PowerPoint steals the show, you’ve already lost. The investors don’t have to trust your presentation wizardry; they must have faith in you and your ability to run a business.

In other words: Lead with your power. Investors see tons of pitches every day, and the temptation is to write you off before you actually get started. To get their attention, your first slide needs to be something that surprises and delights. If you have incredible traction, lead with a chart showing that. If you have the only team that could lead this business, that’s your first slide. Do you have patented technology? Is the problem unusual and interesting? Is the market astonishing and growing fast?

The first slide is the answer to “What’s unusual about this company.” From there, tell the story as you would any story – find a common thread that you can follow all the way to the end. A fundraising pitch isn’t a linear story, so there are no rules for where to start — as long as it supports a compelling storyline that follows you from start to finish.

There is no “correct” order for the slides – but there is a wrong way. If you find yourself jumping back and forth a lot in your story, you’ve found the latter.

So how do you fight against the right order? Write the titles of your slides on Post-its or index cards, give them to a friend who hasn’t heard your company’s story before, and pitch your friend in whatever way feels most natural. Ask your friend to keep track of the order in which you told the story and to put the index cards in that order. It feels a little weird at first, but it works the majority of the time. The only problem here: if you find yourself returning to the same part of the story (say, market size comes up more than once, or you keep coming back to your product), it’s a sign that you need to clean up that part of it. story. “Split slides” — that is, where you’re telling part of the, say, go-to-market story at one time and another part of the story at another — means you need to consolidate. It becomes confusing for the listener to keep track of the message you are trying to convey.

Keep an eye out for my weekly series of pitch deck teardowns to learn from some incredible sample decks. And if you’ve already raised money, why not send in your own card to share with the startup ecosystem?


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