21 Things To Avoid In An Investor Pitch Deck

This guest column is by Ayush Jain, Founder & Presentation Consultant, INK PPT

If you’re a startup, any professional or corporation who’s looking for capital aid from the external sources, you would already be aware of Investor Pitch Decks. You would have loads of ways to brim up the ideas in this deck, but what about the investors’ vision? They meet hundreds of such people with the same ideas and methods. How would they know that you have something different? That’s when your Investor Pitch Deck can help you stand out from the monotonous crowd. INK PPT has successfully created hundreds of interesting Investor Pitches as a presentation design consulting company. We plucked up a few things for you, to assist you in making your Investor Pitch presentable and interesting:

1. Repetitive Information

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Investors know that your product can take the market by a storm. This does not mean you repeat those pretty lines about your products every two minutes. Repeating any product or solution ten times turns it into an irksome junk from marvelous solution. Hence, it’s better if you serve product only once to maintain the upper hand.

How to know you’re being repetitive? Take a thorough look at the Investor Pitch. Are you mentioning your product in every third or fifth line? You know what to do now.

2. Irrelevant Information

Slide3How many of us have slept in between meetings when someone goes off track? Why? Because nobody’s interested in knowing which is your favorite show or what is the next upcoming movie at this point!

Take time to pick out the unnecessary information from the deck and discard them immediately.
Don’t know which info is irrelevant? Have you mentioned totally formidable things like your FB status, investor’s favorite color or his dog name? That’s the information we’re talking about.

3. Excessive Financial Data

Slide4Yes, we’re talking about money here, that’s what Investor Pitch is meant for. But too much of numbers can be toxic. Don’t stuff all slides with Financial Data. It’s similar to adding Malware on your computer. Yes, we know how much it’s important to mention Financial Data, but overdoing it kills the interest.

Keep Key Financial Indicators in the main slides and pack the rest of the data into the Appendix. Try to add visual appeal in the form of charts to avoid the bored look.

4. Bloated Facts and Figures

Slide5Long numbers or pretty words can enhance your deck. But don’t fool your investors. Everybody loves to see and talk about big numbers, but this does not give your right to add fake numbers or facts in the deck. Investors are smart enough to catch your bloated blurb.

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They have their own experts to study the facts and figures provided by you, so play it safe!
Investors don’t like Deja-Vu with numbers and statements; hence keep it real and simple.

5. Too Many Slides

Slide6Bear in mind that time is money. Investors have little time to hear all the things. So utilize your time in a qualitative way instead of turning it into a quantitative boring meeting. Lengthy talks can kill the spontaneity of the idea, so keep it short.
Limit your deck to 15 slides and stick to the standard time limit of 15-20 limits. You probably wouldn’t enjoy watching someone yawning while you’re talking (just like you used to do in those long never-ending lectures in high school)!

6. Every Single Development

Slide7No need to add every single development and detail of your product at this point. This does not create the bigger picture of your product or idea. It will not add any perspective nor make it remarkable, except making it longer.
The important point is to show the big picture, with few details. Adding a confident approach will enhance your picture, even without the details.

7. Long Paragraphs Of Text

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Long words or statements look impressive only in books and newspapers, not in Investor Pitch Deck. Don’t waste time in writing words that are not readable due to their length!

Think of them as headlines. They catch attention first and do not need a long explanation.
Use short yet effective points. Bullets are the best ingredients to make a crisp deck.

8. Only Images and No Plan

Slide9We know that visuals make a bigger impact than words. But that does not mean you use superfluous images. Don’t insert images that are ridiculously irrelevant. Imagine comics without dialogues! That’s what your images would look without any relevant info.

Use them as an accessory and only when you have no other accessory to run your show further.

9. Lack of Idea Clarity

Slide10Clarity is what you need to think at first, before making your deck. The crux of your idea is meant to be represented in a crystal clear way, without any flaws. It’s like teaching your parents Whatsapp, without making them learn about emojis!

If your central idea is mentioned clearly, you don’t have to explain more.

10. Pro-Marketing Slides

Slide11Marketing is important to sell your product or idea. Don’t trade yourself to investors. Instead, present your product as a valuable asset for the investors.

You have to understand that your urgency to sell the idea or product is definitely not investors’ urgency to buy!

11. Unveiling All Your Cards

Slide12Pouring your Golden Formula in the investor deck can make you happy in the first instance, but it can prove fatal for you in the long run. Has KFC ever revealed their secret ingredients? Why? They don’t want to deck up their deck with every ace!

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Every successful tradesman keeps his “winning formula” to himself. Of course, you can share it with investors, if necessary, but only when the time is right. Keep it reserved for the one-to-one meeting.

12. Local Slangs and Industry Jargon

Slide13Everyone loves frank and honest words. But we’re talking about Investor Pitch and not any talk show. So keep your candid words for The Oprah Winfrey Show interview.

You’re not going to a pool party, it’s meeting with investors! Industrial jargons can look clumsy. Every day new jargons are invented. It might happen that investor uses a ‘new’ industrial jargon in reply to your ‘old’ jargon! That can make your pitch drop, isn’t it?

13. Standard Boring Look

Slide14A million dollar idea is not enough to make you stand out from the crowd. You have to make your deck distinctive to pass. Investors scan thousands of pitches every month, how would you make yours unforgettable?
Opt out from the simple and standard look. Add freshness and zeal of your idea to the deck.

14. Your Philosophical Thoughts

Slide15You might have researched about investor’s idol and incorporated the quotes by that personality. Think about it, do they reflect the core of your idea in any way? Not at all! We know that investors are humans and they might love philosophical thoughts. But this is not what they’re looking for in this scenario.

Keep your philosophical thoughts restricted to yourself as you don’t want to pose as a daydreamer!

15. Negative or Pessimistic Statements

Slide16We all know that nobody likes to trust a person who speaks negative statements. Investor Pitch Deck does not represent your idea solely. It also represents your team’s morale. Investors surely don’t want to work with those who reflect pessimistic silhouette in any way.

It gives an unstable effect on your deck. Hence, avoid negative statements like “I don’t like this”, “If this does not work”, “If we fail”, and so on.

16. Confusing the Investor

Slide17You may be a Harvard Scholar or Cambridge Grad, but this is not the time to show-off your overly smart skills. Confusing someone with your brainy attitude is great, but not with investors.

Don’t play with their minds. They already have limited time and certainly have no time for your riddles. Keep things simple, plain and straight. Confusing investors will do nothing good except diminishing your success chance.

17. Contradicting Information

Slide18Contradicting information in your deck shows that how little attention you paid. This directly means that maybe this meeting is not important for you! Double, in fact, triple-check your deck to find any such pitfalls, before the finale.
Include every word, number, images, video or any other accessory. And it’s better if you get it checked from another member.

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18. Unrealistic Plan & Approach

Slide19Your idea is great and can change the whole world, it just needs funding. This may sound appealing to you, but it’s too unrealistic to be true. “I want to be superman” this statement is an example of your unrealistic thought that you had in childhood.

You need planning, methods, and correct approach. So, don’t make your deck sound unrealistic.
Investors are humans; even they might have made mistakes. But don’t forget that those mistakes help them to spot out the impractical plans. So keep your Investor Pitch Deck close (as close as heat to fire) to practical plans and approach.

19. Industry Abbreviations

Slide20“You need to CAP”, “And DIMWIT in the meeting”, do you recognize these abbreviations? You may recognize them, but your investor might not. They surely seem fancy, but not in the long run.

Avoid industrial abbreviations as there are millions of them, and there are lots of nerds who create one every day! If you have to use it, don’t forget to add its full form in the note.

20. Complex Business Graphics

Slide21Graphics can help understand complex figures and facts in the simpler way. So don’t reverse the purpose of using graphics. A complex graphic does not guarantee praise or investment. Incorporate simple yet effective images and graphics.

The key to adding graphics to your Investor Pitch Deck is to simply the complex things in a way that is understandable to everyone. Investors want to see you simplify intricate things, instead of complicating them more!

21. Using A Language Other Than English

Slide22Sometimes communicating in the local language at a meeting is awesome, but not every time. What if your investor does not understand your lingo? This can make your deck idiosyncratic. The investor would feel difficulty in understanding and this can make him annoyed.

It’s always better to have a grammatically correct English version of your investor deck. English is a global language for communication and major investing firms have their approval offices in countries like Canada, US, UK, Australia.

About the Author:

Initially a Business Analyst, later a Brand Consultant and now the Founder and Presentation Consultant of INK PPT, Ayush Jain have a mind that can turn any boring stuff into engaging piece.

Disclaimer: This is a Guest column.The statements, opinions and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of iamwire and the editor(s).

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  • J.S

    Point 22:
    Choose un-readable fonts
    Use font size too small to be read…