By Shingirayi Kondongwe CONTRIBUTOR (Opinions expressed by YOH contributors are their own.)

When you hear the words “pitch deck” what comes to your mind? It is true that most people still do not understand what a pitch deck is, a term, which was borrowed from standard deck playing card games famous in casinos, nightclubs, and bars for gambling.

The information is demonstrated digitally like a deck of cards and that is why people today call it to pitch “deck”.

A pitch deck is a brief presentation designed using various presentation software options such as Prezi, Ludus, PowerPoint, Keynote, Emaze just to name a few. The simple purpose of a pitch deck is to give your audience an overview of your business initiative.

It is also used to help you raise funding for your start-up. A pitch deck is utilized in either a virtual or a physical presence to investors, customers, or any other important stakeholders.

These days it has become common to see student entrepreneurs using a pitch deck in various grants and entrepreneurship competitions. It should not be longer than 19 slides.

A perfect pitch should be composed of the following topics:

1. Team Profile

2. Summary

3. Problem or Challenge

4. Solution

5. Product or Service

6. Market

7. Traction

8. Competition

9. Business Model

10. Financial Ask or Financials

11. Contact Information Team Profile – Every investor, competition judge, or any stakeholder needs to know who is behind the initiative or idea.

They want to make sure that they are giving money to the right people who can deliver.

Summary – It is very crucial to just give a summary of your business initiative in not more than three sentences.

Problem – What is the problem that you are addressing? Why is it a problem? What will happen if the problem is not solved?

Solution – Show how you are going to deal with the problem. Is your solution feasible and scalable?

Product – Describe how your product function or work. Show by giving clear demonstrations and examples.

Market – This is probably one of the most important slides in a pitch deck. What is the size of the market? Predicting the size of your market will give the audience an insight concerning the potential of your business idea.

Traction – Traction is simply the history of your achievements or activities. How you present those activities is what matters. Present it in a way that proves that you have a ready market that values your product. It is still possible to present traction without making any single sale. In this case, you need to show that you have a massive market opportunity and the right team to deliver.

Competition – Do you have a competition? Who are your competitors? What is your competitive advantage?

Business Model – How are you going to make revenues? When do you expect to make those revenues?

Financial Ask – What is your total budget? How much do you need to kick-start your business?

Contact Information – Most entrepreneurs forget to include their contact details at the end of their pitch decks. It is necessary to include your contact details including your website and social media links.

I guess many of you might want to understand the difference between a pitch deck and an investor pitch deck. They are simply two-definitions that serve for the same purpose. I hope that this information will guide you to formulate a great pitch deck. I also encourage you to ask around for more information from various experts.

SHINGIRAYI KONDONGWE is an African Union Scholar, United Nations Graduate Programme Fellow, and A Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneur. He writes in his capacity and does not represent the views of any organization. He can be contacted at the following email:  

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