Need funding for your business? Well, you’ll have to impress investors!
Learn how to customize a business pitch deck with Venngage [VIDEO TUTORIAL]
That’s right, coming up with a business idea that makes money is only the first part. Now it’s time to convince the right people to get behind your idea. You want to highlight promising margins, profit scale, the growth potential of your firm … But how do you communicate these effectively and where do you start?
It’s easy! If your business model is solid, creating a pitch deck is just a matter of presenting your business concisely through with a convincing design.
What is a business pitch deck?
A business pitch deck is a presentation that provides an overview of your business plan to your audience. Typically, you would present a pitch deck to potential investors, business partners, board members, and clients.
So what information should you include in a pitch deck?
At its core, every business pitch deck should:
- Cleary define the problem your business will solve (this could also be your “mission”).
- Clearly define the solution your business will present.
- Present metrics that validate your business (your business model and previous successes).
- Identify who your key team members are and their credentials.
How you tell your business’s unique story is up to you. In fact, while it’s good to look at other pitch decks to get a sense of the format and types of information to include (we’ve got a collection of some of the best pitch deck examples out there), you shouldn’t copy them slide for slide. Your pitch deck design should cater to your niche and target audience.
Identify your business’s unique value proposition and emphasize that in your pitch deck.
Start with a business pitch deck template
Think of your pitch deck design as the packaging for your awesome business idea. Our decision making for what products to buy has a lot to do with how the product is packaged–the same can be said for your business pitch.
Your pitch deck should present your information concisely and attractively.
If you’re unsure where to start, a business pitch deck template can be very helpful. The slide layouts, font sizes and image suggestions are all there–all you have to do is insert your own text and customize the design elements like logos, fonts, colors, images, and icons.
Here are some business pitch deck templates to inspire you and guide your design. (Don’t skip the pitch deck design best practices at the end of this guide!)
1. Use a design motif throughout your business pitch deck
Do you want to highlight how creative and original your business is? A subtle way to do that is to pick a creative design motif to use throughout your presentation.
Your motif could be something like a recurring shape (like circles, lines or arrows), or a recurring object (like a leaf for growth).
For example, this business pitch deck template uses circles as the main design motif throughout the presentation. The same circle icon is used in three different colors to add a bubbly touch to the design. The team photos are also incorporated using circle frames:
2. Dedicate each slide to only one topic
This is a general presentation design tip that is worth repeating: don’t try to cram too much information into one slide.
Think about it from an audience member’s perspective: if you were presented with a slide showing a wall of text, would you actually try to read the whole thing? Even if you did, you might not get a chance to finish before the presenter moves on.
Pick one focused topic for each slide and keep it there. For example, dedicate one slide to summarizing the problem your business is aiming to solve. Then, focus one slide to summarizing the solution your business offers.
Remember: you should only include your main, most compelling information in your pitch deck. You can go into more detail in your actual meeting.
In this business pitch deck template, we re-designed Airbnb’s famous deck to show how you can compensate for a lack of text with engaging visuals:
Learn how to customize this template:
3. Hook your audience in the first two slides by showing the problem and solution upfront
You’re telling the story of your business with your pitch deck. Just like you would try to hook your readers with the opening paragraph of a book, your first one or two slides should pull your audience in and get them excited about your business.
Set the scene by identifying the problem your business wants to solve, and the solution your business offers upfront. Keep it short–tell your story in just one, maybe two slides max.
Pick your words carefully–they should be precise and compelling. Use visuals like photos, charts and icons to illustrate the problem and solution, and to appeal to your audience’s emotions.
For example, this business pitch deck template uses a call to action right off the bat to engage the audience:
Here’s a close up of the first slide, after the cover slide:
4. Use icons to direct your audience’s gaze and reinforce points
Icons can be used as visual cues to guide your audience’s eyes towards specific points on your slides. That’s why it’s often effective to put an icon beside a header or beside a key metric.
When picking icons for your slides, make sure that the icons have a consistent style throughout the presentation. That means sticking to flat icons, or sticking to line art icons.
Take a look at the icons in this business pitch deck. They all have the same line art style, which pairs well with the thin decorative header font:
5. Use photos of your business as slide headers and backgrounds
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that at the heart of every successful business is a winning team. Photos of your team at work will help investors understand your business better. Images appeal to your audience’s emotions and put faces to the numbers.
But pictures can take up a lot of real estate on a slide. That’s where this design hack can come in handy: use photos as slide headers and slide backgrounds.
The main thing to keep in mind when using a photo as a background is to make sure that your text, charts and icons stand out. Another design hack is to overlay a transparent color layer on your photo.
To do this in Venngage, drag a square icon over your background photo and adjust the icon’s opacity so you can see the photo:
By making the background photo a bit darker, your text will still be legible. Take a look at how this business pitch deck incorporate photos of the team at work:
6. Vary your slide layouts to keep your audience engaged
If you show your audience too much of the same thing, they’re likely to lose focus. Designing your entire slide deck with the same slide layout probably won’t excite your audience…and at worst, it will make you seem lazy.
But if you challenge your audience’s expectations, they are more likely to keep paying attention to see what’s next. Keeping your audience engaged is important if you want to convince them to fund your business.
For example, we redesigned Uber’s pitch deck and used at least five different slide layouts:
7. Visualize information using charts, pictograms, icons, and infographics
Because you don’t want to stuff too much text onto your slides, you can use visuals to present information.
Visualize data using charts, infographics and pictograms. When creating charts for presentations, it’s best to keep the charts relatively simple. A complex chart will be hard for your audience to read and understand while you’re presenting.
Use charts to present key metrics like traction your business has gained, or your profit growth. You can use an infographic to visualize a process or to break down concepts. For a guide to picking the right charts for your information, click here.
Here’s a business pitch example that uses charts and diagrams to present metrics in an engaging way:
To create engaging diagrams for presentation, try out our diagram maker.
8. Start with a template slide layout and vary the design
I already mentioned that ideally, you should vary your slide layouts to keep your audience engaged. But I get it–that can seem a bit daunting if you’re not a designers.
If you don’t feel confident in your ability to create a bunch of different slide layout, start with making 2-3 different layout and finding ways to vary the design.
For example, you could swap out the background image, or invert the colors. You could also make sure to use a variety of different types of charts (as long as the charts you choose effectively communicate your information).
Take a look at how this business pitch deck template uses variations of the same 3 basic slide layouts:
9. Organize your slide layout into columns
Not sure how to lay out your information in an organized way? Forget about your text and images for a moment and look at your slide as a grid. Divide that grid into two or three columns:
Now you have a framework to arrange your content within.
Look at how this business pitch deck template uses two-column and three-column layouts for organized, readable slides:
10. Make bold design choices that convey confidence in your pitch
To convince people to invest in your business, they need to feel confident that your business will deliver.
You can convey confidence in your pitch deck design. For example, using punchy, concise phrasing bold fonts will help make an impact on your audience. An intense color scheme will grab your audience’s attention and show you’re not shy about your pitch.
Take this business pitch deck template. It doesn’t mince words, and the bold fonts and color scheme convey confidence:
11. Show your business’s personality in your design
An important part of telling your business’s story is showing what makes your business original and likeable. What is your brand’s voice? Are you reliable and traditional? Are you innovative and forward-thinking? Are you trustworthy and comforting?
Incorporate your business’s personality into your pitch deck design. Pick fonts, colors and images that suit your brand’s voice. Think about your target audience: what is most likely to appeal to them?
For example, this pitch deck for a nonprofit that helps children incorporates comforting, childlike design elements like playful fonts and pastel colors:
12. Visually map out your core processes
Your pitch deck isn’t the place to go into the nitty-gritty of your business. That being said, if there’s a core process that you think will help sell your business, then you may want to summarize it in your pitch deck.
Showing how your business works can help inspire confidence in your investors. Use a mini-infographic to visualize your process and remember to keep text brief. Take a look at the second and third slide in the business pitch deck template below:
Some additional business pitch deck design best practices to remember:
Keep you pitch deck relatively short
Different people will argue that it should be as short as 10 slides, while others will recommend somewhere in the 15-20 slide range. It’s generally considered best practice not to go over 20, though, since most people (investors included) probably won’t have the attention span for more.
Use consistent design elements like headers, fonts, colors and icon styles
While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s surprising how often people overlook consistency in their design.
Your business pitch deck should look polished and professional. An important part of that is making sure your header fonts sizes and styles are consistent, the icons and images you use are the same style throughout, and the colors you use are cohesive.
Download your pitch deck as a PDF
It’s considered good practice to send your pitch deck to investors before your actual meeting. Rather than sending your pitch deck to them them via Google Docs or a file sharing service, reduce the risk of them not opening your pitch deck by sending it to them as a PDF.
With Venngage, you can download your pitch deck in high quality PDF format, as well as in interactive PDF format.
Don’t overburden your slides with text
This is a general slide design best practice that you should always keep in mind: don’t make your slides too text-heavy. A slide deck is not the place to paste a whole report.
Instead, look for ways to combine concise, punchy text with visuals. To help you keep a handle on how much text you include in an individual slide, make sure your text is no smaller than 30 point font. If you find your slide getting too crowded, break the information up into several slides or look for a way to condense what you’re writing.
Business pitch examples from successful companies
With all of the tips I’ve given you so far, you probably already have ideas for your own pitch deck design. But in case you still need some inspiration, here’s some business pitch examples from some big-name companies.
Moz pitch deck
Once called SEOMoz, the company has since grown to become one if the leading SEO tools. But back when they were still in the stages of needing funding, they used this deck to raise more than $18 million.
This pitch deck is a good example of how you can use fun visual slides to break up the monotony of text slides.
Check out the full business pitch here:
Foursquare pitch deck
This is the first business pitch deck that Foursquare showed to investors. They use a phone motif throughout their slides, which emphasizes the mobility of their product. This is a great example of how visual motifs can help drive home key ideas about your business.
BuzzFeed pitch deck
BuzzFeed are a highly visual platform and their original pitch deck reflects that. Their presentation uses minimal text, relying instead on visuals to demonstrate their value. Remember the classic saying: show, don’t tell!
Do you think there are any other great business pitch examples worth mentioning? Comment below with your suggestions!
Now you have the tools to create a business pitch deck that will make an impression on investors. It’s time to get started: