Why certain startups succeed in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and others fail straight into shut down? It's a matter of a few determining factors. However, having a solid pitch deck is a differentiator between raising a significant round or going home without enough capital. This is why we are taking a look at, probably the most common mistake being made to pitch decks. Hoping it will spare the misery of going home empty-handed and improving the chances of your business thriving. Throughout this article, we will present practical ways to fix the insertion of storytelling for a pitch deck. If that is not what is happening in your business presentations already.
What Great Startups Are Doing
What an excelling startup is doing to be profitable is a matter of a few key ingredients being put to excellent use altogether; but there is certainly a lot to learn from them. To begin, from their pitching seasons for fundraising, succeeding startups are definitely focusing on being able to tell a story as they deliver their pitches to investors, potential buyers or VCs. Or just the perfect intimate setting on a private funding round.
Failing at Storytelling for Pitch deck
While we are highly confident that the correct slides to an effective pitch must include relevant data pertaining to your business and specific areas. Those shouldn't be treated as a follow-through checklist. Where you simply present what each slide or specific presentation demands regarding the topic and context.
In other words, make sure you actually include your finance projections, information on your revenue, product and competition. Focus on a way that is not simply presenting one slide, then moving on to presenting the next slide and so on. Pitching effectively is not about showing the revenue slide, then showing the traction slide, showing my team slide. And doing all of that until I finally get to present my precious product followed by its solution. Mastering the art of storytelling for business pitches goes well beyond that.
How To Fix Telling A Story
Take a look at your whole pitch and break it into diverse story arcs. Think of it more like a row of 2-5 slides that tell a story throughout them. For instance, in order to present your background, followed by your market, your business solution and product, you can think of these slides as a narrative. Tell us your real story; the reason why you have developed that in which you are laying all of your eggs to bring out into the world.
“When I worked as a pro developer for TheWellKnown Food Truck company in the high tech industry, I realized there were millions of people being underserved in logistics. Dealing with food truck orders that had gotten stuck, cancelled or removed due to diverse tech setbacks. This made me realize that we needed to solve the app deficiencies with top of the line fiber optic networking that could be reached from public spaces. This is how FoodTruckMagic came to life. FoodTruckMagic is an app that connects…” etcetera etcetera.
While the example is just out of the top of our heads to get us talking, you should be able to see from it how there is a story that is weaving throughout this potential pitch deck presentation. Rather than a person presenting slide after another with a pause and click in between. Listening to the person telling their individual story, and being able to recognize and engage not only with the difficulties, context, business proposition and potential wins of the proposal. We are moreover being able to follow through with the sentiment that is described behind this business idea rather than looking at seemingly relevant, but dispersed data.
Keep your presentation smooth by narrating the story behind your slides; not the opposite. A coherently smooth telling of your details is not only much more engaging and attractive. It is also a much better presenting experience altogether. Make the best of it!
Move on from One Story to Another
Does the sense of storytelling throughout 2-5 slides sound scary? The good news is you can always subsequently place them in a way that will make sense. Take the above example, for instance. Once the perfect new app is presented, we can move on to a different weaving of a story whereby you amplify exactly everything you have managed to achieve with the app to date. As such, we start a new story, this one about your current status, your current finances, market size, value proposition, etc. According to 500 Startups recommended slides, for example, which function in the following order:
Traction / Milestones
and in regards to the previous FoodTruckMagic example, we would have already moved on from problem, solution and product to now present market size, business model and underlying magic.
Next, talk about your competition as a new event in your story, as challenges faced in a cohesive weaving of the story. And how that has nurtured your current marketing plan. For example. Something along the lines of:
“This is what we found amidst our competitors, yet also what we found we were doing better or different, which is why our strategy moving forward will be this precise one with the right set of people;” thus even introducing your team into the casual mix of what you are telling.
Presenting your pitch as a story that you tell will not only make it easier on yourself; it will make it a lot more pleasant and easy to follow for the people in which you are interested.
Summarizing Strong Areas for Pitch Deck Presentations
See a pitch as a sequence of stories told through points, whereby those tiny stopping marks become your slides. We are not saying your slides become any less relevant or tailored significantly differently from all of the well-known startup pitch deck theories that have been drawn to date. On the contrary, what we are saying is: Look at them differently if you are also going through the challenge of not being able to find a story to tell throughout your pitches.
Treat your slides as those markers whereby you will be transiting in your story. Make sure to be telling something that goes beyond a single slide presentation every time you press that clicker to move on to the next one. There is nothing juicier than surprising an audience by such a smooth flow of what you have said that they never even realized how the end of your pitch came about. The product, business idea or service simply makes sense as of then to them. The brilliance behind storytelling for pitches come with the value of knowing people won't comprehend how they have managed to live without that which you are offering.
And for you, the task is much more easily achieved if seen as a sequence of stories that are woven in front of an audience rather than sets of data to justify, back up and defend publicly speaking. Have fun with it, overall, as well!
CEO at Slidebean/FounderHub. TEDx Speaker. 500 Startups Alum. 40-under-40.