The good news is that you don’t need to be a world-class psychic or crystal ball reader to understand what’s going on in an investor’s mind. This article, together with a re-read of our previous blog, ‘Inside the mind of an investor’, will do it all for you.
Getting the content right
You’re probably familiar with that old saying, “They can’t see the wood for the trees”, and that can be a common problem when you’re putting a pitch together. That’s because, when you know your own business as intimately and in such fine-detail as you do, it can be very difficult to pin-point the most important elements that will induce an investor to make an assured and informed decision.
Here’s the solution.
Take a step back and re-read your business plan from an investor’s perspective, i.e. somebody who is looking at your business from the outside, and only needs to know the parts that are most relevant and compelling.
Highlight those important parts, arrange them into a shortlist for each slide, and then step back once more to consider the story the slides are telling.
Do they clearly, concisely, and persuasively explain what your business idea is and how you will achieve success?
Will the investor understand why your business exists and feel inspired to join you on your journey?
When you examine the arrangement of slides and insights from a narrative point of view, are you expressing your story as winningly as possible?
From Robot Mascot’s wide and varied experience of working with and talking to investors, the most frustrating issue with most pitch decks is that they don’t answer the basic questions of ‘What is the business?’, ‘Why was it created?’ and ‘Why should anyone care about it?’ Because the founders of the business are so involved with what they do that they “can’t see the wood for the trees”, they overlook important details, muddy their narrative, and fail to engage the investor in a way that’s strategic, logical, and influential.
They don’t know about communication hierarchy.
The importance of communication hierarchy
It isn’t enough just to shortlist each slide’s content, so that you know what information every individual slide will contain.
You also have to ensure that the order each slide’s information appears in is as logical and attention-seizing as possible.
Getting that order right is known as content hierarchy.
Content hierarchy is making sure that the most important content the investor needs to know is always at the top of the page. Or, if what you’ve placed at the top of the page isn’t the most important content, that it provides context which will enable the investor to understand and engage with your pitch on a deeper level.
Think of each slide as having its own individual narrative. Keeping that narrative structured and on-point will keep the investor absorbed in what you’re saying.
For example, great headings should offer insightful information and tell the audience what they should be thinking. So rather than “Our Solution” you would be better to describe the end benefit.
The easiest way to think about this is to consider what a one sentence conclusion would be after the investor has digested and understood the full slide content. This is probably your headline.
What you’re doing here is leading with the conclusion upfront, framing the investors understanding of what you want them to think and feel about your business before they’ve even thought it.
Write the content so that it engages your investor’s heart and mind
Each of your slides serves a dual purpose.
- It must explain the what, why, or how of what you’re doing.
- It must connect with the investor on a logical or emotional level.
To accomplish that, give the content of each slide a different focus.
For example, if one slide focuses on what the problem is you’re solving, make the content logical and fact-based and concentrate on the most compelling facts and figures.
If the next slide focuses on the reason you’ve chosen to solve the problem, the content will probably be more emotional so that the investor will understand it in a more intuitive, heart-based way.
Never combine logic and emotion on the same slide, because you’ll risk confusing your message. Instead, think carefully about what you want the content to achieve and then decide which angle – logical or emotional – is the best one to use. If you think both angles are important, divide the content into two separate slides.
Craft clear, articulate and compelling content
Keep the slides short; less than 50 words is preferable, definitely no more than 75.
Keep the language simple; don’t use jargon (unless you are specifically targeting investors who are experts in your sector) because the 80% of investors who describe themselves as ‘sector-agnostic’ will find it confusing and alienating.
Keep the tone light; pitching to an investor is very different to an advertiser hard selling a product. You’re presenting them with a story and an opportunity that’s so air tight and persuasive to them they can’t resist it, not beating them into submission in the supermarket aisle.
Keep the content clear; clarity is vitally important, every word used should have a purpose; no word should be wasted, and nothing in your pitch should be open to misinterpretation. Clarity of message is essential to securing investment.
If you’re an Investable Entrepreneur who can’t wait until then, you can pick up a free copy of Robot Mascot COO James Church’s book here and get a head start on learning the fifth principle of the Six Principles of the Perfect Pitch.