I was working with a founder on her pitch deck recently. Let’s call her “Violet.”
Violet and I had been introduced through a mutual friend. We had spoken a few times previously about her very promising start-up, and we had finally set up time to review a pitch deck that she and her partner had put together.
At the appointed time, Violet took me painstakingly through the twentysomething slides of her pitch deck, explaining them one by one. She carefully detailed the nuances of every line and chart in the deck, and explained the reasoning that she and her partner had gone through in developing the deck.
I listened patiently as she ran through the pitch, until she finally concluded.
“Violet,” I then asked. “Don’t you have customers?”
“Well, yes,” she said hesitantly. “We do.”
“And don’t they pay you real money?” I pressed. “I remember you telling me that you had real revenues, a significant growth rate and positive cash flow.”
“Well, yes,” she admitted. “That’s all true.”
“Well then, Violet,” I wanted to know. “Why isn’t any of that in your pitch deck?”
She didn’t know, but made notes to make additions to their deck to that effect.
We continued our slide by slide review of their deck, discussing various aspects of the slides and what they could improve to make greater impact. And then we came to their founder slide.
It’s safe to say that their founder slide was on the dry side, dutifully listing their previous positions and academic accomplishments.
“Well Violet, the founder slide isn’t just about your bios,” I explained. “It’s really the slide about “Why you? Why now?” The slide is really trying to highlight what in your background would indicate that you’re the best candidate to tackle this problem. Like… if you’d launched a $500 million product for [Fortune 100 Company].
“Well, umm…. I actually have launched a $500 million product for [Fortune 100 Company],” she mumbled.
At this point, I sat Violet down for a little chat which I’m going to share with you, Dear Reader. If you’re doing a pitch, yes, it is time for all-hands-on-deck pertinent bragging.
I know you may have been taught to be modest and retiring, especially if you’re a woman. And no, it’s not the time to be dragging out your old Girl Scout badges (unless your business has something to do with the Girls Scouts in which case…).
But it is time to bring out the big guns and do some bragging. About your company. About your employees. About yourselves!
Are you smoking the incumbent, better-financed competition? Have you developed a cool new, protectable technology? Had a successful venture in your past?
Now is the time to unleash your inner superhero and brag about it!
What Has Your Inner Superhero Been Doing Lately?