So you need to create a business plan presentation for investors. 

This is also known as a pitch deck or a slideshow, but in the end, it’s simply a PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview of your startup to potential investors.

What’s the catch? 

 

A PowerPoint presentation sounds simple enough, but I often see entrepreneurs get hung up on this.

Many of my clients are surprised to find out that not everyone needs a presentation. I often steer entrepreneurs away from building one unless it is truly needed. 

You need a presentation when you are: 

  1. Pitching for more than $500,000.
  2. Pitching investors in a group.
  3. Pitching to a single investor you don’t know personally.

Otherwise, unless your investor specifically asks for a business plan presentation, you probably only need to have your business plan handy.

Now, if you are in the camp that does need a presentation, you definitely want to make sure it’s done right! A great business plan can be rejected because of a bad investor presentation.

Before going into the details on how to craft a solid PowerPoint presentation, I’m going to talk about what a pitch deck is not.

Your Pitch Deck Is NOT…

Your pitch deck is not your business plan crammed into a PowerPoint presentation. If your slides are too wordy, you need to start over. When in doubt, go for short and sweet.

Your pitch deck is also not a standalone document. It is merely an aide to your in-person presentation — not the star of the show. You shouldn’t be reading from your slides like a teleprompter, but rather glancing at the screen occasionally to reference your next point.

Another mistake I often see entrepreneurs make with their business plan presentation is stuffing countless slides into their presentation. Take care to limit the number of slides you use. You should have 15-20 slides — tops.  If you’re higher than that, start condensing. If you feel compelled to include additional information you think is vital, incorporate it in an appendix.

A word of caution: Avoid the urge to cover everything in the pitch deck. You don’t want to blast investors with information. This is your  opportunity to punctuate important elements during your in-person presentation. For now, focus on captivating them with your idea, not with exposing them to every micro-element of your business concept.

Overall, you want to communicate one idea per slide. Slides should contain clear and concise bullet points. Go for simplicity — you don’t want to force your investors to tune you out as they wade through wordy details on the screen.

What to Include in Your PowerPoint

You do need to talk strategy and numbers in your presentation. Spend enough time outlining how you’re going to market your idea and how it’ll generate revenue. Have one slide dedicated to each of the following: 

 – your team

 – the market & what is the market need

 – what your market entry strategy is to meet that need

 – what your business has already accomplished

When it comes to the financials, don’t go over them in excess, though. For instance, a bird’s eye revenues, costs, and margin should be snapshots on one slide. Another slide should explain your asking amount for funding, and how that funding will be used. With these two things, most entrepreneurs can rest assured that they covered what they needed in terms of financial overview in the slides.

Strategy for When You’re Having Trouble

It’s important to be able to identify early on if public speaking is not your strong suit. That’s okay. Just be sure you’re aware of it so you can take measures to deliver a powerful presentation.

Many of my clients use my pitch consult services to get them ready for pitching to investors in a powerful way. Sometimes, I even accompany clients on pitch meetings as a partner – just to make sure the presentation goes smoothly with the investor. 

It’s important that you convey confidence in your idea — not trepidation and hesitation. Address your nervousness head-on now before you’re in the spotlight. You have several options, ranging from hiring a professional to go along with you, to practicing with a professional pitch consultant, to having someone else on your internal team do the talking.

Do not, however, miss out on an opportunity to deliver a presentation because of fear. You have many alternatives at your disposal — practice using them, and schedule a meeting with me if you need support on your business plan and pitch.

how to write a business plan step by step

Click here to download the free pitch deck checklist to help you prepare for your business plan presentation. 

Ashley Cheeks

Author Ashley Cheeks

Ashley Cheeks is a Business Plan Consultant. Her core business plan writer expertise is in designing business plans for bank and investor funding. She founded Written Success after years of being a professional business plan writer as a freelance consultant, and working for companies including GE and Fluor. She lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and son.

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