I connected with a serial entrepreneur this week. He has built successful bootstrapped businesses. Now, he’s planning to raise capital for a new venture. He’s working to get a service in the hands of customers. We talked about next steps and he said he wants to complete an MVP in the next few months and will do a pitch deck when he has time.
Putting together a deck is never fun. In fact, it’s annoying. Even so, it must be taken seriously. A thoughtful, attractive deck is the final product, but the value lies in the process of getting there. Good pitch decks communicate a founder’s vision clearly. They detail the problem, how the founder proposes to solve it, why the founder is qualified to solve it, and a host of other things. It takes time and energy to think through all the pieces and succinctly get them on slides.
If you’re doing a pitch deck, when you think you’ve got it, share it with other people and ask them to poke holes in it. Then act on their feedback to make the deck better. More time and energy—but immensely valuable. You’ll come out of this process with a clearer vision, more conviction, and more confidence. You’ll have something that you, your team members, investors, and customers can rally around.
I didn’t raise capital for CCAW, so I thought I didn’t need to create a pitch deck. After many years I did one, and I regret waiting so long. The exercise led to realizations that completely changed the strategy for CCAW and reenergized me. Even if you’re not raising capital, creating a pitch deck and updating it annually is a powerful exercise. It forces you to put fresh eyes on your business and update your vision based on current market conditions. It’s an exercise in strategy that crystalizes what the company is doing and prepares the founder to move it forward.
If you’re a founder or aspire to be, consider creating a pitch deck and getting feedback on it. Doing so could be a game changer, even if you never raise a dime.