There’s a huge difference between the question of “How long did it take you build your pitch deck?” and the question of “How long did it take you to build a successful pitch deck?”
Our original pitch deck took, I don’t know, maybe 16 hours to complete. I just took a look at it for the first time in years, and man does it suck.
Our first slide is on the left.
Who starts their pitch to wow investors with an Agenda? We did, and it sucked.
We didn’t get to what we did and our key differentiators until slide seven. Oh, and do you notice that ugly blue background? Highly not recommended. Please use a white background.
There were other problems too:
We had 25, count ‘em, 25 slides!
What were we thinking! With each slide taking two minutes, it was going to take 50 minutes to get through our presentation.
That’s way too long.
We got way too technical!
One of the cardinal sins you can commit when raising money is getting into the technology weeds. Why on earth did we put this slide in our pitch:
I don’t even know what point we were trying to drive across showing this. But I guess at the time, we thought it was important.
The result was we got our butts kicked.
I look at this presentation now, and I am just embarrassed. Thank goodness we were presenting that first time to a friendly audience.
We learned quickly that we were going to up our game a lot if we were going to get funded. That led to a lot of work, and a lot of rewriting of the pitch.
We did 32 rewrites of the pitch before we closed our initial funding.
I honestly don’t know how much time I spent redoing the pitch 32 times, but I can guess it was in the hundreds of hours. I do know this was time well spent. Here’s the interesting thing:
Each time you complete an iteration of your pitch, you will think you’ve nailed it.
Then you go out and start pitching, and the direct and indirect feedback you’re getting shows that you’ve got to go back and redo your pitch. The flow would be:
- Pitch to investors, then…
- Get feedback, then…
- Realize you needed to make adjustments, then…
- Make the adjustments, then…
- Think you’ve nailed it, then…
- Go through the whole crazy cycle again.
It will take you whatever the time is necessary to get your pitch right.
Whether it’s 32 hours, 320 hours, or somewhere in between , I can tell you this:
Whatever time you need to spend developing and iterating your pitch will be time well spent. After all, this is your key piece of marketing literature to get your company funded.
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