Creating a convincing and thorough investment proposal – or a deck, as they’re often called – plays a key factor in a business’ ability to raise finance. You have to grab and hold people’s attention in a matter of minutes. So rather than putting together an epic document, it’s best to edit your deck down to these ten slides.
1 The elevator pitch
This is where, in as few word as possible, I want to understand what your business does. Wishy-washy language or jargon-laced explanations won’t impress. Don’t tell me that you’re creating a paradigm shift – there’s no quicker way to turn an investor off than to over-intellectualise what you do.
2 Your team
Introduce your core team with top level information but be totally truthful. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve encountered teams who’ve embellished on their backgrounds and expertise.
My advice when I’m asked about starting companies is always the same: just get started. Prove the model and prove that people will care.
4 The market
You cannot sell to everyone, so you need to define your market for us as well as outline the challenges. What is the opportunity and who is your biggest competition?
5 What problem do you solve?
Make it clear to potential investors why you exist in the first place. It might be that there’s more of an opportunity to be grasped rather than a problem to be solved. But either way, what drove you to create the business?
6 A closer look at your product
You should talk about your intellectual property and elaborate on the elements that make your business different, whether it’s a bespoke ordering system or your prices. I desperately want to believe in the business featured in every deck I open, so convince me.
7 Your business model
How do you make money? You need to communicate your monetisation model and show that it’s reliable and scalable.
8 Marketing and growth strategy
Show us how your business can scale up and give us a sense of the strategy you’ll use to achieve this and reach your customers.
9 Financials and forecasts
Talk about incoming and outgoing expenses. There’s no easily digestible way to do this, so add lines into a table and show your recent, current and forecasted financial figures based on everything you make and spend as a business. We need to identify which areas our investment and time could make an impact.
10 Your investment ask
This is when you reveal what you want from us. Don’t skirt around it but instead be frank about how much money or time you’re looking for so we can make an informed decision.
One last word of advice: save two versions of your final deck, one as a PowerPoint (or whichever programme you’re using) and one as a PDF. You don’t want to fall at the last hurdle because of formatting issues.