You have a great idea for a new business.  You invented a product that you believe people will buy.  Now what? One of the many next steps, is to raise money to fund your company. You are going to need a good pitch deck.

Every potential investor needs specific information before they start a conversation.

If you want to be organized (and you do!) about what information you are providing to your friends, family, and potential investors, you will want to create a good pitch deck.

What is a pitch deck?

A good pitch deck is a “deck” of 10-15 slides that provides a brief summary of your business. It’s called a “pitch deck” because it contains the specific details you need to “pitch” your business idea to anyone who might be able to help you build it. It proves to them that you have done your research. It helps them understand your vision.

What does a good pitch deck include?

First, you need a brief description of what your business does or will do. Think action words. Think elevator pitch. Be concise and direct.

Next, describe your target customers. What do they look like? How to they buy? How does your business meet their specific need?

You will also want to include some information about the size of your target market. How many people need your offering? Who are your potential customers?

Another critical question to answer is “Who are your competitors?” How are you different from them? What is unique about your product?

Get down to the numbers and be clear. How much money are you asking for? List or explain exactly what it will be used for.

Don’t ignore the road map. How will you – and your investors – achieve success? Lay out milestones, or key points of achievement, that you expect as the company grows. Which ones are “go/no go” decisions that have to be met to move forward?

Last, describe your team. Show that you have people on board who are qualified and capable to help you achieve success. Remember, these are the faces of your company. You are asking investors to trust these folks, too.

How many slides should be devoted to each topic?

There is no single answer to this question. The key is to provide enough for viewers to understand your goal when you may not be there to explain it.

If you are sending your deck to a potential investor, your main focus should be how and when the company will make money. Investors need to understand the milestones and the time frame so they can see how and when their investment will be paid back. The most important thing in a good pitch deck is the money.

Consider spending more time in the slides discussing your business model.  How you plan to scale and make money carry more weight. These things may need more slides than the other questions. Consider condensing the information on the size of the market, competitors, and your team into charts, tables, and links to online bios.

Finally, review your content.

Take the time to ask yourself the following questions and make sure you have answered them in the deck:

What is the goal or outcome that I am trying to achieve with this pitch deck?

Do I have action steps identified that I am asking the reader to take?

Do I have a clear message and timeline laid out?

Can my reader repeat back to me what my product is, who am I selling it to, how am I different from others in the market, and how I will make money in my business?

If you are able to answer these questions, you are on a great path to succeeding in your new venture. A good pitch deck is an important early step.