The Pitch Deck is a Pivotal Document
Raising venture capital is the lifeblood of growth for many organizations. Further, attracting key partners may be crucial for a firm’s success. Companies who wish to do either find themselves in the position of needing to express their core propositions in a compelling and overarching manner- in the form of a pitch deck. Quite a different challenge than actually running the company, pitching requires both an authoritative document, along with a winning delivery.
Many CEOs have found ways to successfully manage the crafting or reconstruction of the pitch deck by delegating respective portions to business unit heads, and engaging in active feedback sessions to advance each portion. This approach requires alignment between all departments in messaging strategy. Another way to achieve success in the pitch deck is to delegate one person to lead the effort internally, but this may lead to hierarchical paralysis. Other CEOs have found success by wholly doing the work themselves, which is time consuming and will require multiple parties to edit and refine. Lastly, leadership may choose to hire a Pitch Deck Development Consultant to develop or improve the pitch deck.
The use of an external consultant may ameliorate several of the primary challenges in developing the pitch deck. It must be recognized that the development of the pitch deck requires an all-encompassing view of the firm, and therefore must include the CEO and/or senior executives. All too often, these team members are flat out and cannot dedicate the time and mental space necessary to critically engage with such a pivotal document. Furthermore, leadership faces an intrinsic problem of hierarchical processes generally: all aspect of the pitch require interpretation, iteration, and at times push-back in order to advance messaging, as well as to point out any spaces in which the business model itself may be weak or interpreted as such. It may be difficult for internal employees to offer this range of candid and critical feedback within the time-critical space of pitching. Broadly, the process for Pitch Deck Development Consulting includes:
What to do if the Pitch Deck Development Reveals Business Model Weaknesses
In the iterative process of developing the pitch deck, it will be laid bare the strengths and weaknesses of the firm. Every firm has domains which can be bolstered, and potential investors and partners will be hunting for these spaces- and inevitably ask about them. Furthermore, it is not enough to have a thriving business. Investors and partners need to see an air-tight business model innovating in multiple domains in order to compete in today’s market. Rather than be blindsided by these questions or have unprepared responses, it is advisable to get ahead of this issue by developing forward looking statements for future potential actions. Having a clear plan for future directions is the best way to respond to any perceived soft spots in the business model.
Disruption Creation Ideation Session (DCIS) Consulting is an iterative process based on the latest research and methodologies in launching innovative products and services. Executives and team members are brought together to ideate in a systematic method, yielding a viable direction for actionable development. The session will ensure that the most compelling concepts are brought to the fore in the pitch deck. DCIS is also an effective tool during the earliest stages of new product and service development, yielding greater stakeholder buy-in which pays dividends down the road when there are unforeseen hurdles. Team members will hearken back to that initial session in which everybody’s voices were heard and use it as a source of inspiration and perseverance.
DCIS has been experimented on in several academic and professional settings, and is based in part on innovation research recently conducted at Harvard. When looking to patch the holes in a current business model for the purpose of pitching to potential investors or partners, DCIS is an effective tool to develop realistic plans for future innovation. Furthermore, DCIS can yield breakthrough new products and services while generating team cohesion to see the project through. Broadly, the DCIS process is:
A Winning Pitch Deck Delivery is Make or Break
As a Series B and up investor recently elocuted: ‘I need to see the CEO pitch. It’s not sufficient to have any other member of the team do it.’ CEOs must feel confident presenting the pitch deck to investors under a variety of constraints, such as in private offices, via web conferencing, or at public pitching events. Complicating the matter, an investor may have differing amounts of time to dedicate in order to hear and give feedback on the pitch deck, ranging widely from a 10 minute squeeze-in, to a rigorous two hour deep dive.
Ultimately, what CEOs find difficult about the verbal pitching process varies based on their own expertise level in persuasive communications. Usually already at a high level, some CEOs feel less comfortable with the concept of pitching their company to potential investors and partners, regardless of presentation skills. Furthermore, CEOs may find a challenge in appearing natural and relaxed when it may be required to skip slides, or spend an unexpected amount drilling into a given slide.
To be successful in the pitch delivery, working with a Pitch Delivery Consultant is advised. Pitching is not like other speaking engagements, as your audience may interrupt, question, challenge, or request further information. CEOs also will need to be intimately clear with the pitch deck strategy, and further be able to deal with a variety of interjections. Broadly, your options for preparing to deliver the pitch are:
The Takeaway: Your Options For Pitch Deck Development, Disruption Creation, and Pitch Delivery
In today’s highly competitive and evolving environment, strong company performance is not enough- potential investors and partners demand break-out growth potential, innovative future directions, and a winning pitch delivery.
There are several recommend options in order to create a new pitch deck or advance an existing one. First, the CEO must treat the pitch deck development as a significant and pivotal point in the development of the firm. This is because the pitch deck is a living document which does not only look backward at what the firm has done, but looks forward to what the firm could be in light of current market trends. Once the weight of the pitch deck is recognized, an appropriate external Pitch Deck Consultant should be selected to guide, track, and execute the optimal pitch deck.
Business leaders will need to deal with probing questions, objections, and even random ideas from potential investors and partners. Having bold and innovative directions for future business decisions will amplify confidence in your audience. The best way to discover and develop these directions is through Disruption Creation Ideation Session Consulting, in which an impartial facilitator applies latest research to guide ideation and leverage mindshare to yield optimal idea directionality. Potential investors and partners are not just interested in who you are, but who you will become. DCIS will ready you to present and pitch advancements to your business model that demonstrate real innovation.
CEOs who deliver pitch decks have a few options to raise the potential for success. The CEO may opt to present the pitch deck with minimal preparation, as in forced last minute preparation prior to a potential investor or partner meeting. Another option is to hire a public speaking coach in order to improve in verbal communications. This option requires ample amount of time as public speaking strength is a skill that requires great amounts of study and practice. Lastly, the CEO should consider a Pitch Delivery Consultant, a specialist coach who focuses on the pitch presentation in particular, which is an atypical type of presentation. Such a specialist would coach and refine the delivery with the CEO by pointing out which content should be emphasized, deemphasized, included, or omitted relative to the various types of pitching scenarios.