210. The Real Reason Long Pitch Decks Are A Red Flag

VC Minute
I didn't have time to make a short deck, so I made a long one instead.

VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better

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Allyson Plosko:

Over the past several months, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing the type of content that investors look for in a pitch deck, including timing and specificity. In doing this, though, we’ve glossed over a key unstated function of the pitch deck—communicating the most important parts of the business to investors.

Of course, when you stop and think about it, this purpose is quite obvious and intuitive. All of the ink that has been spilled on how to craft a winning pitch deck is in service of exactly this. The suggestions offered in countless blogs are designed to help founders understand what investors, the target audience for any pitch deck, care about the most.

The pitch deck doesn’t just convey information about a company, it is a reflection of how a founder prioritizes and thinks about the business. If a founder can’t condense the story to a reasonable amount of time or slides, it sends a red flag about a founder’s ability to broadly focus on what matters.

In other words, investors extrapolate about a founder’s potential to identify and pull the levers that matter most to the business from the presentation. Just like there isn’t an infinite amount of time to explain all of the different parts of your business to investors or any other stakeholder for that matter.

There isn’t an unlimited amount of time to do everything you might want to do in a day. One of the big risks investors take with an early-stage team is their ability to execute and move the business forward. It’s easy to get distracted by activities that don’t drive outcomes, and the pitch deck is a good litmus test to see if a founder can stay focused on what’s critical to achieving success.

As episode 54 highlights, the best CEOs are relentlessly prioritizing. If it isn’t materially impacting long-term goals, it doesn’t happen. Similarly, if a slide or piece of information is significantly adding value to the story about why your business is a great investment, it needs to go.

As Mark Twain said, ‘I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.’ The same applies to pitch decks. Don’t get bogged down in details for an intro deck or pitch. Spend the time to hone the message and communicate the most important pieces of your business.

About AVL Growth Partners
AVL Growth Partners, founded in 2009, is the leading fractional Finance and Accounting firm supporting organizations in pivoting from growth to scale. AVL brings an experienced team of CFOs, Controllers, and Accountants to your organization, delivering transparent, strategic actions for short and long-term success. Transform your financial approach affordably with AVL, supporting companies coast to coast – get to know AVL Growth Partners at avlgrowth.com. (Sponsored)

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