How long it takes to create a pitch deck that will get your startup funded?
You’ve only got one shot to pitch investors and wow them with your deck. Is your up to the job? If not, how long is it going to take to craft an effective one so that you can start pitching?
Timing Is Critical
Timing is critical for startups. That’s even truer when it comes to product launches and fundraising campaigns.
You need to have a great handle on the time it will take to create your pitch deck and other fundraising campaign materials in order to survive and get funded.
You need to know your timeline so that you can begin leading up to your pitch and pre-marketing any campaigns, and dripping the hype and PR to prime investors for them.
Some may have to buckle up to prepare for a challenging year of fundraising campaigning, even after they have a great deck in hand. Others may be under the gun to get money in ASAP and hit the ground running before they run out of time and money to work on this startup.
So, how long should you plan for it to take to create a pitch deck? What are some of the hacks to get it done faster? What are some of the gotchas that could take a lot longer than you expect?
How Long It Takes To Make A Pitch Deck
How long can it possibly take to throw together a handful or a dozen slides?
The quick answer is that it can take as little as a few hours to well over a month.
A pitch deck pro armed with all the relevant data can probably whip up a powerful deck in less than a day of work. Though in most cases, from scratch to polish, startup entrepreneurs should plan weeks to complete a fundable deck they are willing to bet their business idea on.
Keep in mind that in fundraising storytelling is everything. In this regard for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
2 Hacks For Creating A Pitch Deck Faster
Use A Proven Template
Save reinventing the wheel and disruption for your product. Being too creative with your deck is just going to confuse investors and be a roadblock to successful funding. Don’t take the scenic route to creating a slide presentation from scratch either. There is too much else you need to do, and time is of the essence. Use a proven existing pitch deck template, and customize it with your data and style.
Hire A Pitch Deck Pro
You could spend months just learning about what to put in your deck, the slides to include, current trends on what is getting funded and what investors want to see, as well as formats. You can’t afford that. Bring in someone specifically to work on your deck. Someone who does this type of work for a living and can create a perfect sales plan template. They can do it in the 100th of the time it will take you. No matter what they charge by the hour, it will be less than you will spend of your own time trying to figure it all out.
Steps To Creating A Winning Pitch Deck
Recruiting & Hiring Help
Use freelance experts to help complete a winning deck fast. You’ll need:
- Image/video editors
- Strategists and fundraising experts
This process can take anywhere from 1 day to 3 weeks depending on how you do it. Hopefully, you already have some good fundraising advisors you can reach out to. Then use platforms like UpWork to reach out to top talent in this space and hire fast.
Build Your Target List Of Investors
Look up and create a shortlist of potential investors that you will tailor this pitch deck towards. Knowing the type of investor and the theme of what they are investing in will make a lot of difference in pitching well.
If you are behind the game on this, you may need 1-2 weeks to really identify, filter, and create a tight list.
Like most of the other tasks on this list, it’s not that you’ll be spending 80-100 hours a week on this one step, but you have so much else to do. If you get in a few hours today and then finish next week, you are already 2 weeks in. Especially if you are working with assistants who may be in different time zones, and you are lagging a day between messages each way.
Allow up to another 2 weeks for some serious research and compiling all the data you need to fill in your pitch deck.
- Market size
- Market trends and direction
- Verifying the problem
- Marketing strategies
- Costs and profit margins
Images & Editing
Between creating a logo, product screenshots, modeling prototypes, or images of use cases for your product and editing team headshots allow another 2-4 weeks.
Developing The Copy
The words you use in your pitch deck will make all the difference. Each word can add or lose another million dollars in your raise.
A great copywriter who knows how to tell the right story, and can boil it down to one-liners and bullet points can be an invaluable asset.
They might be able to craft all the text you need in just one day, but the best writers will already be booked up for 2-4 weeks in advance.
Reviewing & Tweaking Your Pitch Deck
Once you have it altogether test the feedback from advisors and others you trust. Allow another 1-2 weeks to compile this feedback and make adjustments before it is polished and ready to use live.
You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.
In the video below I cover in detail how long it takes to create a pitch deck.
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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE VIDEO:
Hi, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how long it takes to create a pitch deck. Before we get started, make sure that you hit that subscribe button, and this way, you will never miss out on any of the videos that we roll out every week. In today’s video, we’re really going to go into it, provide you with some insights, breakdowns, and all of that good stuff that is pertaining to the time, the length, and effort that are going to go into putting together your pitch deck. So with that being said, let’s get into it.
Timing is everything. This is one of the things that you really want to keep in mind because the thing is that you want to time the creation of the pitch deck with the market, with your situation, with perhaps the amount of money that you have on hand in order to get to the next level and get that money in. What you want to do is understand how much time do you need in advance to sit down and start putting together all the slides so that you’re not pressured? As Napoleon said, “Dress me slowly as I’m in a hurry.” Essentially, that’s the same thing. You want to know what timeframe are you dealing with? By when do you need this money? Are there going to be any market conditions? Is there perhaps going to be another coronavirus, or is there going to be a presidential election, or what that is that could impact your potential opportunity of getting access to money? This is why you really want to get clear as to what’s going on with timing. Then, you just get in motion.
When it comes to the amount of time, it can literally be from as little as a couple of hours all the way up to hundreds of hours. The truth of the matter is, is that creating a pitch deck is never going to be a complete process. It’s never going to be final. The reason for this is because it’s a work in progress. You’re always iterating. You’re always optimizing the story because every day, you’re listening to customers; you’re listening to investors, and every single conversation is going to open up perhaps a hole that was there that you didn’t even know was there. As they say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Typically, on average, I’ve heard that it could be closer to the 100 hours if you put all the research, all the thought, all the conversations, that network of discussions that have happened around the problem, around the solution that you’re bringing to market before you actually put it on paper. Obviously, you’re going to account for all of that research as well.
Two hacks to really kick it into high gear. One is using a template. You can use the template below that founders are using all over the world to raise millions. It’s completely for free. You can literally grab it and make it your own, even throw in there your own design, and that way, you don’t have to start from scratch. The thing is that when you’re putting together a pitch deck, it needs to have a certain flow, it needs to have a certain structure that the investor actually knows and that recognizes from other decks that they’ve seen. You don’t want to make them extra hard. For that reason, you want to give them something that they’re used to, that they’ve seen in the past. For that reason, don’t start from scratch. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Just replicate it.
You can also hire a pitch deck pro. This could be a site like Upwork, or perhaps you’re hiring a company like what we’re doing at Panthera Advisors to help you with putting all of the materials together. Essentially, you’ve got to understand that you have enough going on with understanding the execution of your business, and that’s a massive, steep learning curve. Perhaps you can relieve yourself by getting someone to capture the essence of the story that you share with them and to put it with pen and paper so that it comes in the most powerful way possible.
Then you want to build the target list of investors. The target list of investors also is going to help you understand how you’re going to be crafting the deck, what kind of investment thesis they’re excited about, maybe you’re going to see that pattern recognition there of these guys or gals that are investing in the same way with the type of business in a certain shape or form, and that is going to help you understand the amount of length, time, and effort that is going to go into putting together your deck. The investment thesis of these people typically is going to evolve around the financing cycle, your segment, and the geographic location. Those are things that you want to make sure that you’re including as part of the deck.
Then you need to allow for research and time. Putting all that time into research is going to be essential because you want to make sure that whatever you’re putting on paper – anything you put on paper is going to stay forever. Once you send it, you’ve lost control over that. Whatever you’re putting out there, make sure that you can back it up, any claim, any statement, any numbers that you’re putting out there around the market, you want to be able to back it up. Some of those things that you want to research for are the following.
- Market size
- Market trends and direction
- Verifying the problem
- Marketing strategies
- Costs and profit margins
Now in terms of images and editing, please stay away from creating a deck that is full of text that requires someone to read from top to bottom because you’re going to lose people. Remember, the attention span of investors is very small. Literally, they only invest two minutes and 41 seconds per presentation. So, with that being said, you want to have a very nice balance between visuals and text. Less text and more visuals are actually better. You want to allow at least two to four weeks for this because it’s not just the images. It could be your logo. You can use great websites like 99 Designs to help you with the logo. You can use perhaps Upwork or other websites where you can hire a freelancer to help you with the design or with the visuals that you’re going to be adding to the deck to represent your product and your service in the best light possible.
Developing the copy is another big one. Here, it’s not about just throwing whatever text on the deck. You want to be thoughtful about the words that you’re using. You want to use linguistics that is going to land for whoever is in the deck in a very simple and concise manner so that they understand and they are excited about what you’re putting out there for them to review, and that they get enrolled in that future, in that possibility that you’re coming up with. Here, you may need a copywriter. Again, you can get a freelancer. Typically, these people get booked very quickly, so allow there for two to four weeks, again, to really get it and nail it to the T when it comes to the right language that you’re using on those 15 to 25 slides, which is essentially the length of a pitch deck.
Then, you’re going to allocate another one to two weeks for tweaking, for sharing with people in your first and second-degree networks because here’s the thing: before you go out there, you want to really grab this and put it with people that you can trust, that they know you, that they are familiar with what you’re building and perhaps they can help you with identifying certain things that you didn’t know were there. It could be your family member. It could be your former colleague. It could be another fellow entrepreneur that you can share the deck so that they can give you some feedback. Feedback is critical. Don’t just keep the idea to yourself. Don’t just say, “I want to get everyone to sign an NDA.” Really get this to be crowdsourced because the more eyes, the more help is going to be the better way to nail it with the right sophisticated investors that you’re going to be putting this in front of.
With that being said, hit a Like on this video. Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re up to. Then also, subscribe to the channel so that you don’t miss out on all the videos that we’re rolling out every week. Then, if you’re raising money and you need help, shoot me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love to help out. Thank you so much for watching.