Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Startup Pitch Deck

By Fernando Berrocal

Whether you're a pre-seed, seed, or even A-stage business looking for your first venture capital investment, your current presentation deck may not be the best. Monthly, investors analyze hundreds of business pitch decks. It can be irritating to watch business owners waste their time creating meaningless slides that no one will read all the way. Even more frustrating, despite the vast amount of information available on the internet on how to make a solid pitch, entrepreneurs continue to make the same mistakes, missing out on the opportunity to draw investors' attention.

Startup Pitch Deck MIstakes

Learning from these instances will more than likely help you better comprehend what exactly irritates investors and causes them to say "no". So, we’re going to share some critical investor pitch deck mistakes that startup entrepreneurs often make, and then go over how we can correct the harmful advice.

  1. What is the ideal length for an Investor Pitch Deck? It’s never too long! When creating your pitch deck, don't put any restrictions. It's difficult to explain all of the distinct concepts in a few slides. The investors' primary goal is to dive into the details while examining the potential, therefore between 25 to 40 slides are appropriate.

Why it’s wrong: This can be considered impolite on your part: It shows that you don't value the time of your investors. It's best to be as concise as possible. The golden guideline for a startup pitch deck is that it should be no more than ten slides long.

  1. Ignore templates and be creative!  A pitch deck follows a conventional format: Problem, Solution, and so on. Demonstrate that you're a visionary entrepreneur. Remove all of the monotonous frameworks from your pitch deck and make it your own. After the first read, investors will remember it for weeks.

Why it’s wrong: Don't waste your time and energy trying to be innovative; it might backfire. Professional investors think in terms that are familiar to them. If you're too creative, it'll be difficult for an investor to make a decision, and instead of devoting additional time to learning about your startup, the majority of them will simply pass it up and go on to another. That is why most require a standard presenting structure.

  1. The pitch deck will be enhanced by storytelling: Have you heard that telling a tale might help you sell? That is something that every marketer is conscious of. In your pitch deck, you should add a narrative, outlining the background of your concept and presenting a wonderful tale about how it came to you. Making 3-5 dedicated slides is the recommended approach.

Why it’s wrong: When there is adequate time and interest from the audience to comprehend your inner motivation, storytelling is a good choice for marketing conversations. The fundamental purpose of a pitch deck is to capture investors' attention and interest in a short amount of time and persuade them to contact you for a follow-up session where you can share additional facts and explain your narrative.

Pitch Deck Mistakes for Startups

  1. Focus on the product and features description:  What sets your product apart from the competition? Why will buyers be more excited about it? It's all about the characteristics of the product. You shouldn’t be afraid to emphasize this point in your pitch deck, highlighting all of the features you either have or expect to build over the next few years.

Why it’s wrong: The product is crucial, but the features aren't what will make it a successful business. Execution and traction are the most important factors. As a result, it's more vital to show what you know about your business and how you plan to make it successful in your pitch deck than it's to describe the set of features you expect to develop.

  1. Make it up as you go along: This is yet another well-known phrase and piece of advice that many outstanding entrepreneurs have publicly reiterated. Why not put it to good use in your pitch deck? Consider numbers that investors would be interested in seeing, and then just write them down. There's always the possibility that they won't ask you to prove it.

Why it’s wrong: It might be a disastrous error that not only puts you on the "rejected list," but also ruins your reputation in the industry. When dealing with business partners, trust is crucial. No one will ever want to do business with you if you ruin it by claiming bogus figures and traction.

  1. Pitch deck consists of 90% design and 10% content: Since "Design is intelligence made visible," you should visualize the most amazing design to display your intelligence. Make it a memorable experience for investors. Remove the frames and experiment with colors, fonts, and photographs to show off your boundless creative energy.

Why it’s wrong: The design of your pitch deck simply demonstrates to investors that you are willing to spend time or money on a sophisticated design, which is not what VCs want. Simple, concise pitch decks with relevant material will appear far more persuasive than expensively designed slides without any real data.

  1. Make sure your contact information isn't visible:  Your contact information should be kept private. Investors will know how to contact you if you provide the pitch deck through email. In other circumstances, potential investors can find you on LinkedIn or another social networking platform in a matter of minutes.

Why it’s wrong: This is such a common mistake made by so many entrepreneurs. Include your contact information in the pitch deck, either on the first or last title slide. It's a good idea to provide at least your name, title, and email address so that investors can quickly discover your contact information and name.

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