VW Blog

Pitch Decks Are The New Business Plan

February 6, 2018   |   By Kevin Vela

Back in the day, like, the early aughts, it was widely believed that you needed a 20 to 40-page business plan and 40-80 hours to create it. The business plan was a written record and forecast of your idea, replete with charts, graphs, and citations to external resources.

This has been replaced by the modern-day pitch deck: a 10-20 slide PowerPoint, PDF, Pages, or online presentation that curates your idea. For a detailed explanation of what a pitch deck should include and to view examples of effective decks…

Please understand that the process, not the outcome, of your initial pitch deck is where the true value lies. This is critical for a startup or a small business.

A good pitch deck is succinct, clear, and synthesizes your thoughts. It will likely take you months of writing and re-writing, formatting and scrapping, and garnering feedback from people around you to prepare your first pitch deck. And six months later, you’ll probably hate that first version. But that’s okay. Remember, it’s about the process.

Note that investors do not initially invest a lot of time into pitch decks. A pitch deck is really just a teaser, an invitation for more. But your deck needs to look great. The investor wants to feel comfortable that the founder has spent the necessary time putting it together, because investors understand the value of the process.

The goal of your initial pitch deck is to be able to explain your idea to:

  1. your loved ones when you tell them that you’re quitting your comfortable job to work for yourself,
  2. service providers, such as bankers, lawyers, and accountants when you interview them to hire your professional team (or apply for a loan with the bank), and
  3. your feedback group as you refine your idea.

As I mentioned before, you’ll rewrite the pitch deck over and over again, and you should. As you refine your idea and comprehend it more fully, you’ll want to update your deck. It’s a living document that will transform based on the stage of your business. But the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be ready to start pitching.


Posted in If I Were Starting A Business
Kevin Vela
Kevin Vela is the managing partner at Vela Wood. He focuses his practice in the areas of M&A, venture financing, and fund formation. You can see Kevin's attorney profile here.