Reasons Why Your Pitch Deck Doesn't Work

6 Reasons Why Your Pitch Deck Doesn’t Work

We love pitch decks. Love them.

We believe that knowing how to create a compelling pitch deck is one of the most important skills an entrepreneur can have. And when you’re pitching, it’s something you need to know how to do well.

It turns out, building a great pitch deck doesn’t come easily to most people. We know some founders who are struggling with their presentation and could use some guidance but aren’t sure where to turn for help.

So for those of you looking for a little extra assistance, here’s why your pitch deck might not be working:

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1. Your Deck Is Incoherent

One of the biggest mistakes I often see is incoherence in the deck. Sales decks should flow from one slide to the next in a single, smooth narrative that tells investors about your business and your opportunity.

Some founders just whip up their decks really quickly without thinking through the story they’re trying to tell or what will happen when an investor looks at each slide.

They also sometimes use filler slides that aren’t necessary for understanding the company’s story.

So you have to make sure everything is relevant and fits together well so there are no distractions.

2. Your Deck Doesn’t Answer The Key Questions

Beyond coherence, there are some key questions an investor will ask which you need to answer directly on your pitch deck. Among them are:

  • How much capital do you need?
  • What’s the size of your opportunity?
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Get these two questions down first. Answer them clearly and succinctly so investors know why they should spend more time learning about your company.

If you can’t answer those, then it might be a good indication that your deck isn’t ready for pitching just yet.

You’ll have to go back and put that into practice before you’re effective at pitching with it.

3. Your Deck Is Just A List Of Features & Benefits

Another big mistake is having a pitch deck design with nothing but features and benefits on it. I’m not saying there isn’t room to communicate some of your offerings in a simple way.

But this isn’t the place for it, and you’ll lose your audience fast if that’s all you go over.

A business deck is really just the start of your conversation with investors. It needs to entice an investor enough so they want to continue talking to learn more about how your company makes money.

Once you have them interested, then you can show how exactly it works, but don’t assume that they’re immediately going to understand what value you provide.

4. Your Deck Is Way Too Long

I frequently see these types of presentation decks, particularly from founders who are first-timers pitching VCs.

Unfortunately, there’s no hard-and-fast rule on how long a deck should be. But I generally see too many decks that are way too long, at least 15 slides or more.

Some founders try to include absolutely everything on their deck, often because they’re worried about missing something out. It’s very hard for an investor to pay attention to 30+ slides, though.

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They’re much more likely to walk away once you hit the halfway point if it’s taking them too long to understand what your company does and how you make money.

Keep it short and give them the critical information first so they can make a decision quickly after looking through your deck.

To give you an idea, here are some pitch deck examples from Venngage.

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Sales Services Deck – Venngage
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Pitch Deck Example 2 – Venngage

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Digital Services Pitch Deck – Venngage

5. Your Deck Includes Speculation & Projections

It’s not enough just knowing how things work today or even projecting into the future. Investors want to know how you get from Point A to Point B.

When founders make financial projections, they often include a series of slides going out several years with rows and columns of numbers. And they hope an investor will read every single one of those numbers and understand how it all fits together.

Unfortunately, most investors won’t do that because it’s a lengthy process and your story is probably hard enough to understand as it is without delving into the numbers immediately right from the start.

So instead of having lots of detailed slides about your revenues, think about ways to show this information more concisely or in another format that makes sense for what you’re trying to tell your audience.

6. Your Story Doesn’t Clearly Show What You Do Or How You Make Money

What’s your unique offering? Why would anyone buy from you? What are the value propositions that get investors to say, “This makes sense for my firm?” I often see pitches where founders expect me to understand this right away because it’s written up on their website.

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But if someone is seeing your company for the first time via a pitch deck, then they’re not going to know how it all fits together.

So make sure you paint a clear picture of what you do and how people will benefit from using your products or services. Aim for simplicity in this section, even if you’re trying to educate people about emerging industry or complex technology.

We hope this post has helped understand how to make a pitch deck for your startup.

Our goal was not to give you a template or advice against any one particular software, but rather to help you understand the components that go into good pitch decks and how to put them together.

When crafting your pitch presentation, keep in mind that it is just the first part of your conversation with an investor and should entice them enough so they want to continue talking and learn more about how your company makes money. 

If you’re having a hard time creating your pitch deck, check out Venngage — an online editing platform that offers hundreds of various pitch deck templates you can use!

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