10 Slides to Funding Success
The Solution Slide
Part 4 of 10
Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success – The Solution Slide
One of my responsibilities as an Executive Coach is helping company founders with the creation of their Investor Pitch Deck. Throughout my career, I have created and helped create many Investor Pitch Decks. Some of our team’s Investor Pitch decks, especially early in my startup career, upon reflection, were “horrible”. Sometimes our teams were successful in raising monies from investors. Many times they were not. I never thought that the content and presentation style of the investor pitch deck might be hurting us. Boy, was I ever wrong! By working with many investors, I’ve learned what they want in an Investor Pitch Deck. In my last company, we raised $87M over rounds A, B and C. Today I will discuss “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success – The Solution Slide – Part 4 of 10”.
When an Entrepreneur is putting together their Investor Pitch Deck, they usually assemble a hoard of information. Sadly, often what they assemble is a “book” that is 20, 30, even as much as 80 pages in length! Most of us humans have a very short attention span. Even ad networks know that most ads longer than 30 seconds in length don’t work with consumers. For Investors, the successful length of an Investor Pitch Deck is about ten pages and 7-15 minutes in presentation length.
This 10-part series covers the ideal content, order, and verbiage of the ten Investor Pitch Deck pages. You’ll have learned how to craft your story into a successful ten-page Investor Pitch Deck that can get you funded!
The Solution Slide – Why Important?
Last week in Part 3 of “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success“, I spoke about the Market slide and its importance. This week I’m speaking to the Solution Slide, the fourth page of every presentation and its importance. After having discussed the Market slide, you should immediately launch into describing your “Awesome Killer Solution”.
Why? First, you’ve wetted your audience’s appetite with the size of the Market for the Problem you are going after. Their brain is now poised to hear your Solution. It’s time to spring it upon them!
If you’ve followed this series, and your investor’s in your Market space, they’ll be on the edge of their seats!
The Solution Slide – Content
What you present here will depend on whether what you have is a “Soft” or “Hard” good! By “soft” good, I’m generally referring to a “service” that you are providing. By “hard” good I’m generally referring to a physical “product” that you will be selling. If you’re selling a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution, this is a “Soft” good. If you’re selling a machine that converts $2 wine into $20 tasting wine, that is a “Hard” good product. A “Hard” good ideally has a “SaaS “soft” good service associated with it, but more on that later.
Your Solution Slide should convey to your audience a clear image or your “soft” goods service or “hard” goods product. For “soft” goods, like SaaS, a key screenshot of your app or web page will work. For “hard” products, like the $2 wine to $20 wine example, a high-resolution, full-color image must be used. If you used a Kick Starter program to build it, used an image from that package that you created.
The text you should add to this killer image is simple. It should be bullets, stating the Big Solution’s advantages (NO SENTENCES!). That’s it! See the image associated with this article to see a great example.
The Solution Slide – What’s Your Story?
So, what do you say while your Solution Slide is visible? Think back to the Problem slide. Your “Solution” slide verbal points should address each and every Problem point. If your investor audience asked you a question back on your Problem slide, you must address this question also.
You should target to spend about twice the amount of time on this slide as compared to previous slides. If a “hard” good, the “Look” will be key to the “sell”. Do you have an Apple-like look? Does it have an Apple-like price? If you have a “hard” good, now is when you “unveil” it. If small enough to sit on the table, have a high-quality cloth material covering it. I like royal blue, but if an “eco-theme” product, you might want a forest green. “Do Not” pass the product around at this time. If you do, you’ve lost your audience. Once you’ve unveiled, a pregnant pause, followed by pointing out the key problems that your “Solution” has solved.
If your Solution is a “Soft” good, such as a SaaS, your words will have to tell the story. Point out how elegantly you SaaS solution solves the Problem that your Competitor does not. Ideally, the background or embedded image on the page helps you tell this part of your story. “Do Not” fire up a web browser in an attempt to give a “short demo”. This is a sure recipe for failure. Networks fail. Doing this will blow your time budget. A delay of even a few seconds for a page load will allow your investor’s mind to wander. You’ve lost all your momentum! After slide 10, you can always give a demo if the investor is interested and conditions allow.
Presentation: We Can Read or Listen – Not Both!
Most of us humans can either “Read” or “Listen”, but cannot do both at the same time. Your Pitch Deck slide presentation exists to support “the story” you are going to be telling your audience. Does your Investor Pitch Deck has a lot of words, charts with numbers, or distracting images? Then your audience is going to switch their brain into “reading mode” and out of “listening mode”. As soon as that happens, you’ve lost your audience and will struggle to get them back to listening to YOU! To avoid this, use mostly images and as few words as possible, usually in bullet form. So absolutely, positively NO SENTENCES!
So, I suspect many of you were surprised with respect to the importance of the Solution Slide. If you’re starting you create your first investor presentation, congratulations! You’re going to be starting off on the right foot if you follow my recommendations above. Go back and look at your Solution slide and apply what you’ve learned above. If possible, you should wait to read the remainder of the series before you present again. I can almost promise you a better reaction from your audience.
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If you subscribe to my FREE Business Coaching Newsletter, I’ll also offer you a discount coupon to my book “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success”. In the book, I do a more detailed dive into each of the ten slides. You’ll see both good and poor examples of each of the ten topic slides. I’ll also discuss good and poor examples of presentation techniques. You’ll learn how to identify “Lookie-Lou” investors from “serious investors” who will really write you a check. I’ll teach techniques for how to overcome nervousness, stuttering and “brain-freeze” during your presentation. You’ll learn appropriate attire and why showing up even a minute late can doom a presentation.
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Next time …
In the next blog post, I will write about “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success! The Traction Slide – Part 5 of 10”.
Read a Previous Post: “Startup Capital: 10 Slides to Funding Success! The Market Slide – Part 3 of 10“
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