7 steps for building a startup pitch deck from scratch

Ever thought of building a pitch deck for your startup, but don’t know where to start?

Ever thought of building a pitch deck for your startup, but don’t know where to start? Have a great idea? Need to give a presentation tomorrow? When starting a business, we often hear these questions from the founders.

You don’t have to be a professional designer or spend tens of thousands of dollars to complete it. Do it yourself. This can be an easy and enjoyable process. Follow our 7-step guide, which was compiled from many successful founders. We will walk you through:

  1. Clear objectives

  2. Right audience; Right information

  3. Content structure

  4. Design matters

  5. Data storytelling

  6. Visualization and simplification

  7. Call-to-action

1. Clear objectives

Start with why. Why do you need a pitch deck now? Is it for investment? Customer meetings? Startup competition? Make sure to use different pitch decks to ease the presentation. There is no one size for everyone.

The purpose of the presentation should echo your content, design, and metrics. A customized pitch deck will bring you closer to your audience. Besides, find a way to measure the success of the presentation.

2. Right audience; Right information

After defining the goal, speak the language of the audience. Think of pitching in front of angel investors; the senior management; the jury in the competition. For example, the relationship between market potential and investors; switching costs for companies; your why versus judging panel.

You cannot expect them to understand all the jargon. Simplicity is the key. Practice a lot, listen to your team’s feedback, and grandma (if she understands, it’s cool).

3. Content structure

As mentioned earlier, you need to arrange the slide in different situations. A typical startup pitching lasts 5–10 minutes, about 10 slides. It depends on whether it is a live presentation, a meeting, or a reading PowerPoint. Please keep this in mind.

You should include the most useful information, such as value proposition, problems, solutions, markets, products, business models, market strategies, competitive landscape, financial forecasts, teams, and call-to-action. We will discuss detailed information on each slide in the next chapter.

4. Design matters

Think of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Snapchat. Bet, you see green, red, and yellow on your head. Yes! Brand color should be consistent with the characteristics of your startup. Choose the correct brand color from CoolorsBrandColors, and other tools.

The typography you choose will also determine your brand. Careful selection of typography painting and font hierarchy can help you evoke the pitch deck. Also, don’t test people’s eyes. Make sure your slides are readable on all devices and screens. Try Google Fonts and Font Squirrel.

Icons and images play an important role in accelerating how the audience processes information. It is recommended to include an icon set that is associated with your brand. Get free icons on the Noun projectFlat icon, or icons8.

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5. Data storytelling

Sometimes the best chart is no chart. A major mission of the pitch deck is to simplify the way the audience reads and thinks. If you rely too much on charts to display simple metrics, it is likely to confuse people and receive many questions.

Use charts only when you are very confident in showing strong contrasts and metrics conversions. Otherwise, mention the key metrics and units. Some popular metrics of investment pitch deck include customer acquisition cost (CAC), monthly recurring income (MRR), and customer lifetime value (CLTV).

6. Visualization and simplification

More than 70% of the population on the planet are visual learners. Visualization is a combined narrative of content, design, and data. Before publicizing your pitch deck, read and present over and over again. You can make your life easier by using icons or images, thereby enhancing empathy.

This is the usual debate: What you want to show on the pitch is often not equal to what your audience wants to know. Each slide should represent a simple goal, and easy-to-understand facts. Never complicate the audience. You are not writing a research paper.

7. Call-to-action

So, what do you want from the presentation? After all, the pitch deck is a tool to help you visualize your message. You should have a simple call-to-action or follow-up steps that complete the goals you define.

Include some easy “yes” questions, or create a sense of urgency to allow you to expand follow-up actions, meetings, or buy intentions. Don’t expect one pitch deck will help you open the door. Practice; iterate and celebrate mistakes.

Follow the step-by-step guide and start building a pitch deck today. This process allows you to realize the beauty of visualization, simplicity, and empathy. A successful pitch deck can help you stimulate the interest of your audience.

Need more help? You can also use ready-made pitch deck templates. Also, check out our weekly pitch deck design inspiration on our Instagram.


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