How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things
Originally published: 26/02/2018 14:32
Publication number: ELQ-42448-1
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How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things

Here are 35 things found in bad pitch decks. Read them and know them so that you can avoid them.

avoidfundraisinginvestorspitchpitch deckpitchingpresentationslideshowtipswhat not to do

Introduction

You’re fundraising so you need a pitch deck. We get it. That’s why you’re here.


Now getting a pitch deck right is really hard. It can, in fact, be easier to learn what to not do and not do than instead of thinking how to get it right!


Here is a list of things not to do.

  • Step n°1 |

    Have a deck longer than around 20 slides

    As much as you hate to write decks, investors hate reading them more. Don’t make life miserable for investors.



    Your first deck is just to establish interest. Investors use it to filter you. They don’t care till they do. If you were an investor, would you want to read a 40 page, dense deck about something you don’t care about yet. No? So don’t do it.


    Now people write your deck shouldn’t be more than 10 slides or some arbitrary number. There is some logic in that, but the real answer is not simple. It is ‘it depends.’


    People write 10 in the hope you keep the number down. If you use best practice, the length doesn’t matter so much… because it’s easy to parse. A 40 page deck that’s super easy to read isn’t so bad, but it’s still long. Generally, a full, well-written deck is around 24 slides in my experience. A short version can be 10 slides, especially if you have traction. It depends.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°2 |

    Use no images

    Images convey emotions. If you have no images your deck is really boring. Don’t be cheesy though, don’t use anything offensive. You should never have more than ~5 images on a slide (such as showing your customers with testimonials).



    You can use small images when you have a series of columns to show as features. It breaks up the text. I typically like to put them in circles since squares sometimes are ugly. But we are nit picking here, and of course it always depends.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°3 |

    Use no graphs

    Graphs convey information in a way a table can’t. Tables are used when you have to and they do have their place, but they can be hard to parse.



    If you want to convey your use of funds, then 30%, 30%, 40% can be put in a little pie chart!

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°4 |

    Use small font

    Small font is small. It’s hard to read. Hard to read is hard to read fast. Investors want to be able to flick through your deck and they can’t do that if they have to squint.



    The smallest font I use is for body copy and that’s 26. You should target 30 or more.


    The only exception is if you are adding “Source: xyz” which can be as small as 8.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°5 |

    Small font on charts

    Format every aspect of your charts. Don’t just think of the size of the pie chart.



    Your x/y axis labels need to be fair-sized, as does your legend, as are the numbers you present. Don’t forget that just because Excel generates a chart, you don’t have to format everything.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°6 |

    Use weird colors/font

    Be simple with color use. If you have website branding colors but don’t know how to use them (nor have a designer), don’t. Opt for something standard. Your deck is not a place to be original and take a risk.



    Just be simple. Bebas, Poppins are all great fonts I use a lot. You can’t go wrong with blue.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°7 |

    Write a lot of text

    Less is more.



    Do not write an essay, no one wants to read it.


    Write everything in bullet points. Each bullet is maybe 15 words. Each bullet actually makes a point.


    You don’t want to be comfortable with ‘paragraphs.’

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°8 |

    Have an ugly deck

    If an investor opens a deck and it looks like a joke… they think you are a joke.



    The investor doesn’t know you so they judge every little thing more than you might think is reasonable.


    An ugly deck screms you don’t take your startup seriously and you don’t take the investor seriously, so make the effort to present the best possible design you can.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°9 |

    Use Word

    Use PowerPoint or Keynote and convert into PDF at the end.



    Never use Word.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°10 |

    Write the investor name or date on the deck

    You are going to pitch 20 to 200 investors. That takes a lot of time. And you forget stuff.



    Date: If you don’t change the date when you started raising, investors know how long you are raising


    Investor name: You are going to forget to change the logo at some point. Then you look really dumb. Adding their logo scores you no points

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
  • Step n°11 |

    No consistent structure / alignment,

    Your deck looks nicer if your headers are in the same place, the same size and the same font. All your images and text are aligned well. It feels consistent.



    If you aren’t sure, then just make one structure of a slide and replicate it. You can’t totally mess up then.


    You can also buy templates which will take out the guess work for you. There are a lot of templates around which look SUPER pretty but they are not designed for fundraising. The use of space is terrible. They’re probably better than you can do though. If you want a pro deck with less stress, then that’s what Perfect Pitch Deck does.

    How to Write a Pitch Deck Avoiding These 35 Things image
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