Are you thinking of joining us at Pitch for $1 Million? A good slide deck can take weeks, or even months, to prepare and you might not know where to begin.

Venture capitalist, Steve Schlafman, provides extensive advice on what he looks for in a startup pitch deck and we’ve summarised of his key points below.

Plan Ahead

Try to ensure you start preparations 4-6 weeks prior to the pitch and plan your presentation structure before fleshing it out with visuals and a story. For example, competitors at Pitch for $1 Million will have 2 minutes to pitch and must submit their pitch deck at least 1 week before the event, so take this into account when planning your timeline.

Keep it Simple

You may know your product inside out, but that doesn’t mean the people you are pitching to will. Keep the jargon to a minimum and do not use terms you do not fully understand yourself!

One Clear Point Per Slide

Steve suggests a good rule of thumb is one clear point per slide. Spend time getting to know your team’s speed so you can work out how many slides you need for a 2 minute pitch. Don’t try to cram too much into one slide.

Structure Your Deck

Having a cohesive message that runs throughout your pitch deck is extremely important. You can start by introducing your team and expertise, but often the most compelling slides (and the ones to make sure you get right!) are the ‘Problem’ & ‘Solution’ slides. The next step is to discuss why your product is important now and what gives it a competitive edge. Then look to the future, covering how funding will enhance your growth. Think of your deck as a story that has a clear start, middle and end.

Don’t Shy Away from Data and Metrics

Got some numbers that will really get your point across? Pull together some solid data and make sure you know your numbers. Use data to demonstrate how well you know your target audience & industry, or demonstrate results from market research or beta testing.

Practice your deck

Know any investors, or fellow founders who have sought funding? Take them through your pitch deck and ask for feedback. Use the opportunity to edit your deck based on their feedback. It’s important to realise that the first draft of your deck should not be the last. Take suggestions and feedback and iterate as you would with your product.

Detail is Key

Did you add slide numbers and then change the order of your slides? Have you checked for typos? Ensuring the small things are covered shows care and attention to detail. Don’t let your pitch flop with a sloppy deck that has errors.

The Finishing Touches

Once you’ve confirmed the content and double checked your deck, ask yourself: Do I need a designer? Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a designer to give your slides a professional edge. If design isn’t your forte then hire a freelancer on who can help you, but make sure that the pitch represents you and your brand.

Remember, once you’ve registered for Pitch for $1 Million, you must send your deck to the StartCon team one week prior to pitching on stage.

You can see Steve’s presentation in full here:

Ready for the challenge? Sign up to Pitch for $1 Million.