A killer pitch deck is how you raise money to launch or grow your startup. Likewise, a not-so-good pitch deck can crush your dream of growing a business. What can you do to prevent it from happening to your startup? How can you save your pitch deck? How can you prevent investors from dropping your business idea? No worries. We will point out how to perfect your pitch deck by avoiding the classic startup pitch deck mistakes.
Note that startup pitch deck mistakes range from your slide arrangement to your presentation approach to your business model. If you are mindful of them, you can avoid making these mistakes. Keep scrolling to learn all about them.
Startup Pitch Deck Mistakes to Avoid
1. Too many slides
A pitch deck should always be short and simple. You must not forget this golden rule at any time. That is why you should limit the number of slides. So how many slides should you include? The general number is 10–20, but most experts recommend 10-11 slides. Any more than that will not work in your favor. Instead, it could produce negative results like:
- Investors lose focus
- Investors assume you are not prepared enough
- They think you do not know what you are doing
- Potential investors would doubt your skills like time management and confidence
They do not want to hear every piece of information about your business. So stick to the most relevant details and cut down on the rest. For example, they do not want to know about your product specs or team member bios. Keep in mind that the goal of this meeting is not to collect the funds but to set up the second meeting. Too much information will not help you here. The investors will also feel that you do not respect their time.
They have places to be and dozens, if not hundreds, of more pitch decks to review. They only want to know the essential facts. That is it. If they need more info about some topic, they will ask you. Besides, let’s suppose you need to provide additional information. You can always follow up with a separate document or an email.
2. Not having one slide per title
One topic per slide is the way to be clear and precise. You do not want to push all the information into a couple of slides and expect the investors to understand. They will lose focus instantly. It will be difficult for them to focus and for you to present too.
Take this article, for example. If we did not highlight the topics, it would have been difficult for us to convey the message to you. Also, it would have been confusing for you, the audience. Even if the topics are specified, the entire content should not be aggregated into a single page or a few pages. That is not the ideal way to write a post or use your pitch deck.
Always remember to have separate slides for each topic. Also, split the slides if you are explaining a complex title.
For example, suppose you plan on explaining different issues the store owners face and their customers in your pitch deck. The ideal way to present this information is by having the problems split into two slides. Give one to the customer and one to the store owner.
3. Wordy Slides
What do you think of sitting through a presentation with wordy slides and little to no visuals? That does not sound exciting at all, does it? Surely you would want to walk away. You would even think the person who made this was as boring as this slide show. Sadly, many entrepreneurs give that impression. It is one of the most common startup pitch deck mistakes that entrepreneurs make.
Remember that your presentation needs to be concise, and the slides should be easy to read. If your slides contain more text and little to no visuals, it can bore and distract the audience, ultimately losing their attention.
Investors see hundreds of thousands of presentations. They also include charts and graphs to convey their message effectively.
If you skip all that and stick to plain text, it implies that you are neither creative nor organized. Investors might even assume that you are not passionate enough about the project. None of these assumptions work in your favor. This negative impression can affect their view of your business. They think you do not have the spark to survive and decide not to invest in you.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Avoid adding too much text.
- Do not use small font sizes.
- Do not write paragraphs. Instead, opt for bullet points to a maximum.
- Let the visual language do the work (use graphs, charts, images)
4. Design inconsistency
The design of the presentation is something a lot of people overlook. Sadly, this causes them to make one of the most careless startup pitch deck mistakes, including:
- Inconsistency in design.
- Not sticking to a specific color palette.
- Using many different font types.
- Images not being properly placed.
Remember that even if you are doing the talking, your slides speak louder. If the designs you use on the slides are inconsistent and all over the place, they will not convey your message correctly. To avoid that, stick to a specific design and color theme throughout the presentation.
We recommend going with your brand colors. We suggest keeping your design simple and using high-resolution images for better readability.
5. Excluding information
What do investors expect to hear from a pitch deck? Here are the most critical points you cannot exclude from a pitch deck:
- Target market and opportunities
- Business model
- Traction and market validation/timeline of your achievements, marketing and sales strategy
- Your team
- Your competitors
- Necessity of funds and the use of funds
Investors use this information to learn about you and your company. Remember that this is their first official introduction to your startup.
If you exclude some of these points, they do not get the opportunity to learn enough about your business. Rightfully so, they would not want to invest in a company they hardly know. So the chances are that they will turn you down.
Other than that, if investors ask for more information, you should be prepared to answer them. If you fail to provide the info, they will not think you are uninformed about the business idea.
6. Weak business model
One of the most critical points in your pitch deck is your business model. It can make or break your chances of getting investors on your side. At this point in the story, investors are trying to figure out if your startup is worth their time and money. If you fail to explain how your business will make money, you cannot expect to win over investors.
The most common mistakes people make when developing their business model (that you should avoid) are:
- The product or service you are planning to sell is not in high demand.
- Your product or services are too expensive for your target market.
- Failure to anticipate and present all the expected expenses of your business (from production costs to delivery charges).
7. Unrealistic market share
We are sure that you are excited about your business idea. Any startup entrepreneur would be too. However, keep in mind not to overestimate your business potential. It happens to be one of the biggest startup pitch deck mistakes. If you are unrealistically optimistic about your product, you will make the following mistakes:
- Assuming your solution is flawless
- Presuming customers would instantly choose your solution
- Undermining your competitors
Such baseless assumptions indicate that you have not done sufficient market research. It shows that you are not realistic in your estimates.
Even if your product does have a significant market, it does not make much difference. Or at least, not as much as you think. You cannot presume that customers will choose your product over other solutions. Are competing products and services that insignificant? Is your service better than what is already out there? Can you be sure at least 10% of customers instantly choose your service? What is your plan to earn a significant portion of the target market? These are the critical factors that you need to address in your pitch deck.
8. Not using a storytelling approach
The delivery of your pitch deck has a significant impact. You should present it in a way that is easy to understand, compelling, and attention-grabbing. What you can do is tell it like a story. It works best to get your message across to the investors. Most startup entrepreneurs have succeeded in using this approach.
Of course, there is no set rule that says this is the only method you should follow to present the pitch deck. However, if you choose to make the presentation sound like a boring college lecture, it will not work in your favor. If you do, you will lose the attention of your potential investors. They will instantly lose interest in hearing about your pitch deck. You miss out on making a lasting impression on investors.
Pitch decks are not supposed to be lengthy Word documents with business plans.
How does storytelling help here? You can explain the problem with real-life examples and talk about how people deal with it. The more realistic you sound, the more convincing you can be. As you go on to introduce your solution, emphasize that. Use the storytelling approach to explain how you and your team came up with the product that can save the day.
Investors get to hear hundreds of pitch decks. They rejected hundreds too. You cannot make yours just another reject. Instead, make it stand out and memorable. Sure, investors want to know if your product is worthy of investment or not. However, they remember stories and people more than a company or a product. That is how they know you can make an impact.
9. Not being clear about funds
Believe it or not, one of the startup pitch deck mistakes that entrepreneurs make is not saying how much money they want. Some do not even include a fund ask slide in their presentation. It is rather shocking because, often, the ultimate goal of a pitch deck is to raise capital. If you want to raise funds, make it extremely clear to the investors.
On the other hand, stating your price is not enough either. However, they do not explain how they plan to spend the money. That is a mistake to avoid too. Note that the ask is not just a number. Investors need to know more. So make sure to inform them about:
- The equity percentage you are selling.
- What is your expected runway (how long will the startup funding round last?)
- Which type of instrument do you choose (straight equity, convertible notes, etc.)
- Any minimum ticket size.
Treinetic’s final thoughts on startup pitch deck mistakes
There you go! You have got to learn all about the most common startup mistakes. Now you are all set to perfect your pitch deck. Avoid making any mistakes while creating the pitch deck and presenting it to investors. Remember to do thorough research when planning your business model. Also, create an easy-to-follow structure with your slides.
Plus, remember to include only the most relevant information. Do not forget the storytelling approach when presenting your pitch deck. Most of all, keep it simple, engaging and with no mistakes. If you do, you will develop a killer pitch deck that can get investors on your side.