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Short form slide deck hints and tips

The short form slide deck will probably be the first visual experience that the investor has of your proposal. It has to create interest and fit within the providence of that investor’s remit.

We often get asked to supply a template slide deck that will contain the information that an investor will need. Certainly, we have a template available, but it is just a deck with suggested areas to be covered; there are no magic templates that will guarantee success. And remember, all businesses are different. Investors are different too, so what interests one may not interest another.

The slide deck should be a medium for you to sell your idea to the investor. It should provide basic information, but most of all should excite the investor and encourage them to want to know more about your business.

Here are the basics that should be covered. It could be the case that not all are relevant to your business, and some could be combined – again depending on the business. We did say earlier that there is no standard template that will suit every business!

Try not to put too much written information on the slides as in a competition between reading the slides and listening to the presenter, the slides usually win!

  • Remember that this should set the tone for the presentation – what’s the point of the pitch? To gain investment. It should contain the company name, the presenter’s name and role or title (or names and titles if there are more than one presenter). The amount of investment being sought is often omitted. A basic few words on what the company does or which field it operates in. This might be represented pictorially where possible. At no point should the audience be in doubt as to what the company does after viewing the initial slide.

  • This slide should set out what the company does in very basic terms. Try not to baffle the audience with high-level jargon - remember, this is an introductory piece to encourage the interest of the investor – it doesn’t have to be to due diligence standards. If the audience instantly understands what the company does, they will be able to absorb the detail later on.

    Set out what unique benefit your company provides to their target set of customers to solve a problem that they are experiencing. This can be reinforced by a few additional bullet points. If you have pilots in place, or if you have customers already, consider mentioning that here as it will perk up interest if this is more than just an idea at present.

  • This slide should be used to address how big the market is or will be and where it is located. Can it be exploited successfully? Why has this issue not been addressed before by others and why are you the ones to address is now? Don’t use this slide to preach to the audience or state the obvious, rather to excite them and make them want to find out more. Often this slide contains a graphic setting out the target addressable market, the serviceable available market and serviceable obtainable market to give the audience an idea of the size of the issue you are addressing. Will this be enough to interest the investment community?

  • This slide should be used to outline your solution to the customer’s problems. It will depend upon your business as to what is portrayed, whether it be a physical product, a service, software or a combination of a few of these. How far is it from the market? Avoid jargon and acronyms unless they are well known. How can your offering be protected? Is there Intellectual Property and is it owned entirely by the company? Why is your product or service different from what exists in the market already, and is this sufficiently different to encourage customers to jump ship?

  • Who buys the product and who will do the selling? Does your offering fit into the current supply chain or replace it? How much disruption will your offering cause to your customer’s current methods of working? Will the benefits of your solution outweigh the potential disruption? Has your pilot outlined any issues? Have you a case study that you can use to walk the audience through the offering?

  • How much better is your offering than what currently exists for customers? Will it improve their efficiency or save them money? Can you quantify the benefit that a customer will gain by using your solution? Are the efficiency gains or cost savings sufficient that the customer will not be able to live without your product / service?

  • Who are your competitors and why is your offering so much better than what they currently provide? Outline the three or four reasons why you will win the market. Some founders introduce a competitors’ matrix in this slide highlighting the benefits of your offering over the competition. But be reasonable if you choose to do this; your box will have all the green ticks – just make sure that the red x in each competitor’s line is reasonable and accurate. Your offering needs not only to be different, but meaningfully different.

  • This is often the most under-researched section of any plan, but it is also one of the most crucial. The entrepreneur who has tested the various approaches to sales and knows what works and what doesn’t work will have no problem explaining their route to market. What works best – direct or indirect sales? Are there existing customers? Have they made repeat orders? Personalise the information – often we see a standard list of sales and marketing techniques that will be carried out. Better to exhibit a pipeline of potential sales already generated. Who will do the initial sales?

  • How will you make money? What are the unit economics for your business? How many customers will be needed to achieve the projections that you will demonstrate in the next slide? Have you considered the ‘what-if’ scenarios? What happens if your competitors react by dropping prices or if sales take much longer to achieve that projected? Will this affect profitability or the long-term viability of the business?

  • This slide should outline the headline financial projections for the next (usually three) years. What is the turnover, gross profit and net profit (or losses) projected to be? Present this in tabular form, not graphical – easier to read! How much funding do you require to keep the company afloat until profits are available to meet the expenses of the business as they arise or until the next investment round? What milestones will be achieved with this funding? Are the projections realistic? Can the team deliver the increases in sales?

  • They key takeaway here is that investors invest in people. The team are the number one factor for an investor when deciding whether to invest. Outline who the key people are and what their relevant experience is. Why are these the right people to achieve in this business? Are they fully committed to this business – are they full-time or part-time? Is there a board of non-executive directors? Is there an advisory board? What are the skills gaps and what are the plans to fill them? What will the management team look like in future?

    The location of this slide in the pitch can vary. Some like it at the end to reinforce the argument at the end, some like it further up, perhaps after the opportunity slide. Again, there is no right or wrong answer.

  • This slide should be used to again state the key points introduced throughout the presentation. If the investor were to explain to their absent colleagues what your business is all about, this is the information that they should see on here. Think of it like this - if you had only one slide to use in a presentation, what information would you include? This is that slide.

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Seedcorn Enquiries

If you have any questions about Seedcorn eligibility or rules, or InterTradeIreland funding services in general, please get in touch.

Connor Sweeney will handle your enquiry. You can get in touch directly by email, by phone 028 3083 4113, or by using the form below.

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