Three Common Mistakes that Hinder your Startup Pitch to Investors

To an investor, you are one of many entrepreneurs they see in any number of events, week to week, and day to day; since this repetition often times becomes a blurry mass of faces, ideas, and pitches, the savvy investor tends to watch out for tell-tale pointers that signal they are onto something worth looking into further- or not.

This then means that your slide deck plays a very important role in getting you the personal attention you want. That said, there are red flags that can quickly hinder your pitch:

Unrealistic Projections: When your slide deck consistently displays huge numbers talking about potential market opportunity and not your real business performance numbers, what this says of your business is likely that you have not been in business enough to have your own figures or that you are hiding something related to your business performance.

Large Ask: Another factor they are considering is the actual amount you are requesting. This amount is always balanced out or looked at in the light of your own declared revenue. Moreover, your growth projections for any number of months or months in the near or distant future could also be an indication of fairly unrealistic expectations. If you are getting by with a six-figure revenue right now, and then you are projecting an upward curve in top-line revenue into seven figures within only a matter of months, then that is going to be a hard sell. The rationale would be: “How can you make that revenue leap in such a short time?”

Poor Presentation Flow and Design: One other crucial area entrepreneurs get wrong from time to time is the overall content flow structure as well as the design of your pitch deck. So, you worked hard to get the meeting with the investors and have their attention for a brief amount of time, and then the flow of the content is not clear and the design turns the presentation into a straining eye exam. Some common mistakes include:

Lack of clarity on the problem you are trying to solve, where are you now in your business life cycle, what your unit economics look like (the cost to make, how much to sell it for, cost of customer acquisition,…)

Graph information is unclear, either due to an unclear legend, unusual scale size, color, size, or positioning.

Wrong use of fonts. Small fonts making the presentation not readable from a distance and multiple font styles in the same deck signals a lack of attention to detail.

My key message to entrepreneurs is to be open to getting feedback as you pitch to others. Some of the feedback you will get is friendly (like from a mentor or advisor) or harsh (from an investor who doesn’t like your business model). The more changes you make to the pitch deck based on the feedback, the better the deck will be.
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