While business plans and pitch decks get lumped in together, they are two very distinct methods of communication that serve entirely different purposes. The thing they have in common is that both of a plan and a pitch are based on the same information on a company.
A Business Plan
Let’s start by looking at the business plan. There’s a good chance your business plan features these common components:
Keep in mind that each business is unique, meaning that every business plan should be formatted to match the unique needs of the business. Ensure that your business plan accurately reflects your company, no matter the format it is presented in.
Outside of the differences, each business plan will outline the fine details of the business – such as the technical specifications of the software you design or the supply chain for getting your product on the market. You should remember why so much detail is put on a business plan; it’s the plan that outlines how the business is run. You have to know everything the business plan outlines in order to effectively run the business.
A Pitch Deck
The pitch deck is different from the business plan. It’s when you pitch an idea as a presentation to others. You want to show the people what is unique about your business and what makes it worth their investment or mentorship.
The following are the main points of the pitch deck:
How to Prepare a Pitch Deck
Given that a pitch deck and business plan use some of the same resources you might feel you can browse through your business plan and just copy the information across to your presentation.
This wouldn’t make for the best possible presentation though. Unlike when writing a business plan and finding out plenty of new information, the pitch should not have any new information in it. Any information you might need is found in the business plan. The challenge of putting together a pitch deck is organizing this information and creating a presentation that is both exciting and easy-to-understand.
Before deciding the information that will be included in the presentation, work out how long you’ll have to make the presentation. Are you having an hour-long meeting with venture capitalists? Or will it be half an hour?
If you’ll be spending an hour in the meeting then consider putting together a twenty minute presentation and having the other forty minutes free to answer questions from the audience. This means that the majority of your time is spent directly addressing the main points and concerns the people with you have.
Making a Pitch Deck
After working out how long you’re going to have with the audience and understanding that the pitch deck is not going to be a copy of the business plan, it’s time to start putting together the presentation properly.
To put together a meaningful and coherent presentation you should understand how you are going to connect with the audience. It’s fine to start work on just putting the important information down on slides without thinking about the order of the slides and how the information flows. Here are some points to cover:
If you’re having trouble finding the right order for the pitch deck slides then keep in mind the fact that you are enterprising enough to launch a venture. That means you don’t need to stick to some rigid template of what you need to cover and how if you want to succeed. Make your own presentation that follows along with your own ideas and story.
What to Do in the Meeting
Now you’re going through the meeting and have a pitch deck ready to go. You’ve covered all the important points, so what’s next? While it might sound counter intuitive, don’t feel stuck to the presentation. If you get interrupted by an investor who wants to discuss a particular point then capitalize on the chance to answer the question by, quite literally, answering the question. Answer the question even if you were going to bring up the point later in the presentation (even jump ahead to that slide if you want). It’s great if the question becomes a conversation. Just go with the flow.