If you’re a beginner in the world of fundraising and unsure about what to present to potential investors, rest easy; you’re not the only one. Many emerging entrepreneurs often express similar queries:

  • Do I really need a pitch deck?
  • Is it necessary to have two versions of a pitch deck?
  • What is an executive summary, precisely?
  • What does an effective executive summary contain?
  • Why is there a need for both a pitch deck and an executive summary?
  • How does a pitch deck differ from an executive summary?
  • Does the requirement change depending on the investor being an angel investor or institutional venture capitalist?
  • Is a comprehensive business plan required for the pitch?
  • What additional materials are needed for due diligence?

As you might have guessed, this subject is complex, but the intricacies lie in the details. For investors to become engrossed in your complete business plan, they must find your slide deck compelling initially. This is crucial to bear in mind as it aligns with the natural functions of the human brain. It optimizes the time allocated to assessment, enabling individuals and entities to quickly filter through numerous pitches.

Basic Pitching Documents

The pitch deck and the executive summary are the two primary documents you will need during the early phases of your endeavor.

It’s crucial to understand that you will need two variations of the pitch deck – one for interactive pitching sessions and presentations, which will be verbally articulated, and another one that can be easily understood when shared independently, via email, for example. Sending any additional materials apart from the pitch deck and the executive summary might result in investors dismissing your proposal, even if they had previously shown interest.

Why Do I Need An Executive Summary If I Have A Pitch Deck?

Your executive summary serves as an essential supplement to your pitch deck. Here are some convincing reasons why its presence is required:

  • Facilitates a comprehensive understanding of your business and directs investor engagement
  • The concise style of the executive summary provides business owners a platform to showcase their proficiency in effective communication.
  • It allows prospective investors to share it amongst their network for feedback, thereby maximizing their time and heightening the chances of securing an investment.
  • It summarizes the core of the business and furnishes critical details to other concerned entities, such as regulatory bodies.

Numerous novice entrepreneurs undervalue the importance of a single-page executive summary. Nonetheless, the fact remains that it holds considerable bearing. The weight of pitch decks and brief business abstracts cannot be overemphasized, and here are the reasons:

  • The process of writing the summary can aid in understanding your entire project. Condensing your concepts illuminates their worth and may spark potential ideas for business branding.
  • It provides fast readers a quick look into your project, potentially captivating their curiosity.
  • Presenting a succinct business projection affords interested individuals a rapid overview of your proposal. Given that most investors operate on strict schedules, efficient time management becomes vital. Having such a summary simplifies this task for them.

Executive Summary Content

The goal of the summary is to compactly represent the details from the deck, refining it to be more succinct. The traditional layout incorporates a section on the right which includes:

  • Company’s Name
  • Brand Logo
  • Company’s Digital Web Address
  • Number of Employees
  • Founding Team Members
  • Advisors
  • Primary Investors

The bottom section should present essential fiscal data including:

  • Revenue Generated
  • Expenditure
  • Net Income
  • Financial Forecasts

The main content of the one-page summary should accommodate an estimate of 400 words, covering areas such as:

  • Engaging Brief Pitch
  • Company Overview (Organizational Structure & Governance)
  • Client’s Pain Points
  • Estimated Market Size
  • Customer Demographics
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy
  • Business Model
  • Competitors, and your unique competitive advantage.

The Two Versions Of My Slide Deck

The pair of pitch deck styles we’ve previously explored are tailored to two specific scenarios – a narrated talk and a detailed read-through.

This suggests that you can share the latter deck when there’s an expressed interest in your enterprise. View the first deck as the exciting introduction to your proposition, ideally it should be visually startling and engaging enough to catch your audience’s fascination. It can be compared to an alluring cinematic teaser that captivates viewers.

Primarily, both presentations should be adapted to achieve the purpose they have been crafted for:

  • Your narrated slide presentation should contain minimal text to avoid diverting your audience’s attention. Instead, it should revolve primarily around visual, and perhaps audible, stimulus. This method enables the presenter to deliver the crucial aspects of the story within a concise framework (roughly 10 to 15 minutes). 
  • Conversely, an in-depth standalone deck should be laden with exhaustive details so that it becomes self-explaining to the reader without the need for additional narration. Normally, this pitch is sent through an email after your audience’s interest has been aroused.

Despite their contrasting designs, both pitches should fundamentally tackle the same areas:

  • Customer Challenges – Analysis of your unique solution to an existing problem
  • Solution Overview – Specifications, features, technology, competitive edge
  • Key Participants – Info on founding members, investors, advisors
  • Potential Market – Market segmentation, size, specifics
  • Competitor Analysis – Overview and analysis of rival products/services
  • Go-To-Market Tactics – Your sales plans and costs
  • Project Status – Update on product development, customer acquisition, and partnerships
  • Risk Valuation – Realistic assessment of potential risks and mitigation strategies
  • Financial Projections – Revenue, profit, break-even points, and other fiscal forecasts – typically five-year targets should be set under pessimistic, realistic, and optimistic assumptions
  • Exit Plans – Potential buyers, likely exit size
  • Required Funds – Desired investment size and allocation plan. Also, include expected milestones

If the need arises for further data, like diagrams or graphs, consider including these in a supplementary appendix. This allows the presenter (or reader) to refer to the information if required. The main content should cover the aforementioned themes, with one or two slides per topic. Overloading data could be detrimental.

Making An Amazing Pitch Deck

Our visual senses feed a myriad of information into our brain, emphasizing the significance of visual allure in a pitch deck. If your deck lacks compelling visuals, it might be prudent to bring on board a skilled individual or agency that specializes in crafting visually stunning presentations.

Presenting numerical data in an original and memorable fashion is just as pivotal. To ensure that your data hits home with your audience, strive to simplify complex aspects of your presentation into easily comprehensible segments.

Do You Need A Detailed Business Plan

On the point of whether you need a comprehensive business plan, it becomes essential when your prospects express an interest in conducting due diligence on your proposal. Seeing that your business plan warrants a perusal can be viewed as an affirmative sign – it suggests that your proposal is seen as affluent in potential. However, the demand for an elaborate business plan varies from investor to investor. Some could demand a meticulously detailed plan, while others might leave you perplexed, questioning the need for it in today’s pragmatic business milieu.

The importance of investor research cannot be overstressed. Understanding your investors and their preferences is crucial. Should they ask for a business plan, delve deeper – aim to decode the kind and amount of detail they would appreciate in the plan. Your aim should be to present a clear and comprehensible narrative consistent with their previous responses.

In Summary

Getting ahead in the investment game involves doing your homework on potential investors, ideally before you pitch to them. Determine whether they need an Executive Summary, a business plan, or if they have any particular expectations concerning the pitch deck. Through their potential significant investment, it’s crucial to prove your capacity and preparedness to handle such substantial resources. Clear demonstration of your dedication to applying their investment productively stands to your advantage.

Prepare unique presentations for varying situations. Utilizing multiple versions of your investment narrative is a smart tactic. Consider your pitch deck as yet another conduit to convey your vision.

Investors are naturally attracted to individuals who can produce a persuasive pitch, work collaboratively, and comfortably traverse the journey from business inception to exploration and sale. Strive to make a powerful first impression. The tools at your disposal, such as pitch decks, executive summaries, and business plans, are instrumental in broadcasting these qualities to your investor.

1 Comment

Nkwain Timaneng · September 23, 2021 at 4:31 AM

Hi greetings I’m Nkwain Timaneng from Cameroon Africa and I’m a business man dealing with farm products chemicals in Cameroon and I’m also a Cocoa farmer.my business is 6 years old now and I’m currently looking for a business loan to expand.i don’t know if it’s possible I’m help here? Let me know.thanks .

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