If starting a mortgage fund is on your to-do list, you will need to generate capital. Having a solid pitch deck is vital for successfully acquainting possible investors with your business plan.
What exactly is a pitch deck and why is it so important?
Think of a pitch deck as your elevator pitch in a presentation format such as PowerPoint. It’s a captivating and compelling snapshot of your company, products and services that is tailored to a specific audience with the end goal of garnering investments. Designing a workable pitch deck that convinces potential investors to back your business requires considerable forethought, but the return on investment is completely worth it.
Here are some quick, easy-to-implement tips to help you achieve the ideal balance of detail and attention-grabbing appeal in your pitch deck design.
- Select an eye-catching format // You can build your pitch deck from the ground up or work off an existing template—just remember to select colors and design schemes that sync up with your overall branding strategy. Keep your slides consistent with the same colors and formats while tastefully incorporating images to compliment your comprehensive message.
- Fuse your branding into the pitch deck // While not all businesses have an established brand, you should still develop a recognizable thematic tone you can build off of. Before starting your pitch deck, ensure you have a default logo or icon and a complementary color framework that represents your unique brand. Additionally, generate a group of keywords that align with your corporate culture and strategically incorporate them throughout your presentation.
- Focus on functional imagery // During the design process, devote adequate time to developing a collection of dynamic images of your business’s key personnel, funded projects, or goods and services. As the adage goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” As cliché as that may sound, there’s an element of truth to it. Professional depictions of your business endeavors make a much more lasting impact on potential investors than grainy clip art ever will.
- Incorporate statistical graphics // Charts and graphs highlighting the success of your business (as long as you don’t go overboard with the amount of data) can offer positive reassurance to prospective financial backers that their money is being responsibly managed. Use straightforward graphics that give investors a clear insight into your business model.
- Implement iconic icons // Opt for subdued icon themes to break up complicated data sets into organized, easy-to-digest blocks. To take your presentation to the next level, color-coordinate your tiled layout to improve the audience’s comprehension. This approach can assist in organizing key information you want to introduce to investors without losing them in a deluge of numerical data.
- Incorporate professional headshots // When selecting images of your staff members, use professional headshots. It’s a worthwhile investment of time and money to get professional photographs taken of your leadership team. Doing so will improve the thematic consistency of your pitch deck and give your overall branding scheme a polished look. Although some startups attempt to feature cameos to give their presentation a personal feel, this approach may not be best suited for your target investor audience.
- Maintain consistency // When it comes to selecting font and format, stick to a uniform template throughout the pitch deck. Using a plethora of styles is distracting to your audience and may obscure your message. Develop a generic template and modify it slightly throughout your presentation to achieve a balanced, professional style for a subtle, yet impactful effect on potential investors.
- Think outside the box // Some ideas are harder to convey than others, especially intricate business plans with an abundance of accompanying data. When formatting your pitch deck, take a step back and put yourself in your target audience’s shoes.
Is your content capable of capturing and holding their attention from start to finish? Is there a better way to convey your comprehensive message? Is all that data really necessary to win them over?
Asking yourself these questions now can pay dividends when it comes to presentation day.
Throwing together a hasty presentation isn’t going to cut it. The average investor only backs a minuscule fraction of the companies that present. Gaining the slightest edge can be the difference between your success and failure.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid to give you that all-important leg up on the competition.
- Go overboard with details // In most cases, potential investors are not familiar with every detail of your company’s specific niche—and they don’t need to be.Steer clear of using technical language that your audience simply won’t follow. Opt instead for a concise message worded in easy-to-understand language. Try to design your pitch deck so that is comprehensible even to individuals with little to no understanding of your industry.
Be careful you don’t oversimplify your pitch though, especially if your audience is comprised of sophisticated investors. Do the leg work, know beforehand who you will be presenting to and adjust the level of specialized info accordingly.
- Rely on outdated style // By no means do you need a degree in graphic design to build an effective pitch deck. Still, it should feature more than mundane white pages. Your presentation should give the impression that your fund is revolutionary and professional. Today’s presentation software programs are brimming with effects and color templates that you can take advantage of.
- Start slow // No matter how cutting edge your company’s fund is, you will fail to get potential investors on board if you don’t make a strong initial impression. A stirring, catchy opening to your presentation will draw your audience in and make them eager to hear more about your brand.
Remember, investors hear countless pitches every day. Avoid getting lost in the crowd by showing them from the get-go why your business is the one they should invest in.
- Drone on…and on // Show that you value your audience’s time by wrapping up your pitch well in advance of your allotted time. You want to avoid inconveniencing a room full of professionals who have a packed itinerary and can’t afford to miss their next appointment. Importantly, be sure to finish your presentation in time to accommodate any questions investors may have.
- Skew the data // You may be tempted to doctor the numbers in your pitch deck to make your business seem stellar. Don’t.
Doing so may make a stronger impression on investors, but they will find out about your dishonesty eventually. This can be devastating for your brand’s reputation and can even result in future legal trouble. To avoid any intentional or unintentional misrepresentation, make sure your data are accurate and up to date before you start compiling your slides.
- Forget the big picture // Many entrepreneurs don’t get the funding they need because they fail to communicate a comprehensive, long-term corporate vision. Convey to investors that you can scale your business once it becomes successful. Be realistic, but ensure that your ambition and drive are readily apparent.
- Blank on an exit strategy // Most investors want to invest their money in ventures that will yield a healthy return as opposed to letting it stagnate in a bank account.
One of the most effective approaches to grabbing investors’ attention is to show them how strong your company’s ROI will be a few years down the road. Presenting a viable exit strategy shows investors that you’re prepared—a favorable characteristic for someone they are entrusting their money with.
As you can see, building an effective pitch deck is an involved process. If your goal is to convince investors to respect and ultimately fund you, be sure to be transparent, accentuate the inherent value of your ideas and be prepared.