Five slides for an investor presentation

I have sat through or reviewed, hundreds of presentations, most of them were pitching for a sale or funding. I’ve done a few myself.

Investors are waiting to say “no”. That’s the easy answer.

The most common fallacy is that an investor wants to hear everything about your investment. In fact, there are a number of gates through which your message must pass before an investor is ready to hear the detail.

The purpose of your presentation is to hurdle those gates and start a dialogue. No investor opens their chequebook after a presentation, the presentation opens the door to a conversation - usually quite a forensic one - but unless you get that door open it’s always the same answer: no.

Only five slides are needed to make any investor presentation.

Let’s invent a fictitious example and I’ll talk you through it.

Slide One: Proposition

This does not explain everything. It’s a tease.

This slide sits on the screen before you start to speak.

When you start to speak, address Slide Two: Target Customers

Most investor pitches overstate the potential customers for a product or service.

Even a product which is used by “everybody” is not targeted that way.

Toilet Paper is a pretty universal product, but it’s not bought by everybody.

However, the difference with this fictitious product is that it is delivered on subscription, costs less, supports the local church, and a tree is planted in Africa for every pack sold.

Slide Three: What problem does your target market have which you aim to solve?

As freeholders (ie detached houses) have more storage and are more likely to have someone at home for deliveries these would be the most profitable first customers to serve.

(The ecological aspects and support for the local church are just feel good factors which don’t affect the initial pain)

Slide Four: Team.

If your mythical company includes senior members who are experts in paper production (notoriously damaging ecologically), home delivery and charitable rigour, investors will believe you are capable of carrying out your plan.

Slide Five: What we will do with the money

Demonstrate that if investors do invest you know what you need to do next in the evolution of the business.

Quite a lot of businesses get through the earlier gates and then fail this test.

Finally, sort of slide six (of five), put the first slide back up whilst you take questions.

By the end of your presentation, the audience will come back to this slide with a greater understanding of all its meaning. It will sit there through following discussions providing backdrop which focusses the conversation.

Do not put up a slide which says “Thank you” or “Questions”.

Follow this template and the investors will come to the subsequent conversation with a more open mind, believing you have a clear business which you understand and can deliver.

The slides are deliberately headlines. The point of a presentation is for them to hear you speak, not watch you read slide after slide.

If you want to have a leave-behind deck then - please - create that separately.

This is a format which bears an enormous amount of adapting.


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