March 2022 - Concrete Ventures

Month: March 2022

Month: March 2022

Pitch deck

A pitch deck is akin to a resume, but for your business. Your ultimate goal is not to get hired on the spot but rather to get an interview. Your goal with fundraising is similar – you won’t get funded based on your pitch deck alone, but it does get you that first meeting. 

As investors, we have seen all sorts of pitch decks, ranging from basic PowerPoints to professionally designed presentations. We’ve seen embedded videos, interactive presentations, and more. In this post and accompanying resource set, we want to break down what makes an effective pitch deck and help you get started on yours. 

“If you can’t tell the story of the company in five minutes then you’re either overthinking it or you haven’t simplified it down enough.” – Mike Vernal, Sequoia Capital

Pitch Deck Format for Early Stage Startups

Generally speaking, your early-stage pitch deck might have the following slides:

  • Logo & slogan
  • Problem + examples:
    • Using a story is a good way to explain the problem. See this example by Tinder.
    • You want to paint the picture that shows why you started the business in the first place. 
  • Solution + examples:
    • Walk through your product and the key features. 
    • Don’t be afraid to actually show readers your product. In fact, including screenshots or a link to a demo is one of the best ways to help readers to understand your solution. 
    • Unless your presenting to a technical audience – don’t spend too much time on the technical details. Those conversations are best reserved for meetings and product demos. 
  • Customer: 
    • Who exactly are you selling to? 
  • Market size
    • It’s important to be thoughtful here. Realistically, how much revenue is out there for you to capture?
    • Headline numbers from the big market research firms won’t cut it.
    • Jared Sleeper has a great article on how you can explain your TAM to investors.
  • Competition:
    • There is always competition. Be open and honest about competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 
    • Then, showcase your competitive advantage and why you win. 
  • Traction:
    • Who have you already sold to?
    • What are the metrics around product usage? 
    • Are there any financial metrics worth mentioning?
    • Depending on what stage you are at, even major developmental milestones are good to include here. 
  • Business model:
  • Product Roadmap:
    • What are you looking to achieve in the next 12-18 months? 
  • Team:
    • Highlight the management team or key employees.
    • Answer the question: If there was an identical business somewhere in the world, why is this team the one that will make it work?
  • Funding ask & milestones:
    • If you don’t include this, it will probably be one of the first things an investor asks. 
    • Having your ask laid out openly helps investors understand if they are the right fit for your business. For example, you could be trying to raise too much money, or not enough money for them to be interested. It’s better to find out over email vs at the end of a meeting. 
    • Lastly, highlight the main milestones your looking to achieve with the funding round.
  • Thank you

DocSend has done the job of analyzing pitch decks and highlighting what investors tend to zero in on:

Pitch deck slide order and focus areas for successful pitches

Source: DocSend

Tips for Creating Your Pitch Deck

Some additional tips when creating your pitch deck:

  • Follow Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 PowerPoint rule. In other words, use no more than 10 slides, 20 minutes of talking, and no font smaller than 30 pts. Template based on Guy Kawasaki
  • If your pitch deck is a bit longer, make sure to switch up the design elements. After all, no one wants to see the same slide with different metrics 20 times in a row. See example by Uber. Template based on Uber.
  • Design is important! Above all, use colors and fonts that align with your brand. In addition, make sure fonts are legible, and don’t use clashing colors. Use the psychology behind colors to evoke certain emotions.
  • Choose background images carefully. Make sure they have a similar color palette, for instance. See example by Crema
  • If you want to keep your background simple but representative of your brand, you can use textures to accomplish that. See example template for an eco-friendly startup.
  • Show how your product will benefit all the stakeholders involved, instead of just one type of user. In other words, focus on the end user, investors, community as a whole, etc. See example by Foursquare
  • Create FOMO for your fundraise. 
  • Use data to support your claims. For example, use infographics and charts to give an easy overview of things like the market size, any product claims your making, or how much the problem is costing users.
  • If your product is technical in nature, explain what it is and how it works first, before talking about traction.
  • Last but not least, be realistic. If there are known challenges, name them and show that you’ve thought about how to tackle them.

Pitch Deck Examples

Below we included some different examples of pitch decks from companies you’ll likely recognize:

  • AirBnB
    • Cover or title slide
    • Problem
    • Solution
    • Market Validation
    • Market Size
    • Product
    • Business Model <<< KILLER SLIDE!
    • Market Adoption
    • Competition
    • Competitive Advantages
    • Team Slide
    • Press
    • Users Testimonials
  • Uber
    • Cover or title slide
    • Problem
    • Solution
    • How it Works
    • Key Differentiators
    • Operating Principles
    • Product
    • Use-cases
    • User Benefits
    • Initial Service Area
    • Technology
    • Demand Forecasting
    • Overall Market
    • Composition of Market
    • Target Cities
    • Looking Forward
    • Smartphone Sales Info
    • Future Optimizations
    • Go-To Market: Marketing Ideas
    • Traction: Progress to Date
  • Tesla
    • Introduction
    • Team
    • Growth
    • Collaborations
    • Specificity on a model
    • Model S Slide
    • Strategic assets
    • Final Slide
  • Canva
    • Publishing Era’s
    • Gap in the market
    • Why Canva?
    • Market Segments
    • User-Cases
    • Syndication
    • Funding
    • Experience
    • Milestones

Slide Deck Resources

How to Maximize Revenue Through Prospecting Leads

When we spoke with Jose Martins from HubSpot about prospecting, he emphasized that maximizing revenue through prospecting leads is all about having an effective process and doing your research upfront. 

So in this post, we will look at the key takeaways from that webinar by focusing on the four stages of a B2B sales process.

Utilizing the Four Stages of B2B Sales Processes in Prospecting Leads

Inbound Sales methodology - prospecting leads

Step 1: Identify your target audience.

In order to generate quality leads, you need to know precisely who your target audience is. Having this clarity will help you spend time and money wisely in connecting with the people that care about your product and your business.

Start by crafting your ideal buyer profile. Who is your ideal buyer? The more specific your picture is, the better. In order to create the most accurate picture possible of that ideal customer, utilize any data that you have collected via social media, questionnaires, or cold calls. What are their goals and what are the challenges that stand in the way of those goals?

After that, you want to create a positioning statement that incorporates all this data. In a few short sentences, you should be able to answer the questions. 

Try framing it something like this: “We help (who) that are (usual goals) but are frustrated because (usual challenges)… Does this happen to you?” Remember, your positioning statement is not about you, it’s about your leads. In other words, now is not the time to dive into your product, company, or current promotions. 

Step 2: Connect with your target audience.

Once you have your ideal buyer profile and your positioning statement, you can start connecting with your target audience to transform leads into qualified leads. Connect in authentic ways by matching your values with their values. In addition, create avenues for communication that allow you to get to know more about your leads.

Some great places to look for leads include:

  • Existing relationships
  • Company verticals
  • Social media
  • Target accounts
  • Current/past clients
  • Your community network and alumni

When you connect with leads, make sure you keep your goal in mind and make a call or send an email to establish an initial relationship. Schedule an exploratory call and understand the high-level challenges that they face.

When making those prospecting connections, there are a few common errors to avoid. Most important, drop the elevator pitch completely. Keep the conversation about the potential customer and don’t deep dive into how you can help them just yet. Remember, your goal is to qualify the lead and set a meeting; not close the deal.

The hardest part of the connect call is reaching out to strangers.

Therefore, you need to be prepared to be uncomfortable, or there will be no growth. As time goes on reaching out gets easier and better. Remember that the fear of connecting with prospects is all in your head and be prepared to override that fear. The most important thing to do is to put time on your calendar for prospecting. Make it part of your daily routine. Once it is routine, your fears will be gone and your communication will be more natural and authentic. However, this doesn’t happen overnight – only through practice. 

Be prepared to reach out more than once, you can be persistent without being annoying. For example, use a two-day follow-up technique and set a maximum of six to 10 calls or emails. Your CRM can help you keep an efficient prospecting cadence. Make use of task queues, filters, templates, and sequences to keep you organized and on schedule with prospecting. 

Step 3: Explore the needs of potential customers by asking “how can I help?”

This is a critical step where data and information about the real-life problems that your potential customers are facing come into serious play. By reaching out and asking “how can I help?” you position yourself as a business that might provide the solutions they are looking for.

Step 4: Be prepared to offer advice in the form of your product or service.

A lead becomes a customer when they see a clear match between their problem or their need and the solution that your business provides.

Research Is Vital for Successfully Prospecting Leads

Do your research, not only on your leads but on your industry and market. Look for signals a business is looking to solve the problem you solve. Likewise, find ways to differentiate your approach from cold callers. Transcend the solution, focus on the problem, and start with urgency from the get-go.

Prospecting checklist:

  • Define ideal buyer profile
  • Define sources of leads
  • Develop your connect call positioning statement
  • Establish a prospecting sequence
  • BLOCK TIME IN YOUR CALENDAR – EVERY SINGLE DAY
  • Define your research and start reaching out

Key takeaways

  1. It’s NEVER about you
  2. Focus on the problem
  3. Do your homework (research)
  4. Define a process
  5. Put it in your calendar!

For more details, watch the webinar here:

Double Your Productivity Without Breaking the Bank: The Buyback Principle for Founders by Dan Martell - Delegation

How would you, as an entrepreneur, feel if there were two of you? In as little as an afternoon, you can have a “mini-me” by training an employee in the Buyback Principle. Learn the steps to proper delegation and free up time to focus on the power tasks that will grow your business!

The basic concept of the Buyback Principle is money to buy back time. Instead of time for money, as in, you get a job, work a task, and you get paid. The Buyback Principle is the reverse. You pay others for repetitive tasks so that you can free up your time to work on tasks that will grow your business.

Task Delegation

A day only has so many hours in it. If everyday tasks overwhelm you, you will never get ahead. Instead, learn the art of delegation and delegate repetitive tasks to free up your more valuable time for business growth projects.

80% done by somebody else is 100% freaking awesome.

– Dan Martell

Value Creation Score; the Key to Proper Delegation

One of the biggest challenges business owners have is delegation. In other words, trusting someone else to do the same job quality you would do yourself and understanding your value. Understanding your value is key to delegating effectively. So try this exercise:

Effective hourly rate = Revenue generated / number of hours worked (for most people, this is 2000 hours per year).

The effective hourly rate is what your costs are for you to run your business yourself. The trick is to delegate the mundane and repetitive tasks to someone else at a quarter of the rate it costs you to do it yourself. In order to do that, you must take an inventory of the tasks you do each day and ask yourself, is it more expensive for you to do it or pay for delegation to a carefully picked employee?

Founders Scorecard - the key to proper delegation

Spend less of your precious time and energy on low-value tasks like errands, bookkeeping, and invoicing. For example, you can hire someone for $10 an hour for administrative tasks and spend more time on high-value tasks like content creation and publication ($100/hr), playbook (standard operating procedures) design ($500/hr), leadership development, innovative campaigns, and strategic sequence planning ($5,000/hr). The order in which you do things matters. If you don’t even have the time to think about planning, aka sequencing, your business will not grow as rapidly as it could.

Sequencing equals Success!

– Dan Martell

Simplified Delegation

When entrepreneurs add to their team, they often make the mistake of thinking they are only adding capacity rather than buying back their time. 

Delegate (leverage)
  •  What you can delegate: 
    • Repetitive/high-frequency tasks. Billing, emails, physical mail, and easily completed tasks done frequently.
    • Effective hourly rate. Any task that can be performed at a quarter of your “effective hourly salary.” As you go on, you will identify many tasks that fall into this category.
    • 80/20 tasks. Tasks you do not enjoy. An entrepreneur’s superpower is their passion. But that passion can wither and die if you force yourself to do tasks you don’t like.
  • Who do you assign these tasks to?
    • Team. Your team can be a powerful force for you if you give them responsibility for an outcome rather than a task. Make your team responsible for the bottom line. How they achieve that goal is up to them as long as they reach the sales numbers.
    • Assistant. They will take care of all those mundane tasks we mentioned before, like emails, calendars, and phone calls. An executive assistant is probably the first person you should hire to buy back your time.
    • Out-task. Hire a talented person in places like UpWork or Fiverr for task-based activities. As a start, you can outsource tasks such as social media posts and content creation. 
  • How?
    • Playbook. This is a top-to-bottom checklist of what needs to be done. You could include links to YouTube videos, articles, any downloads you have that would assist in their learning curve.
    • Record and explain what you’re doing aloud while doing your task. Some specific software you can use is to record your Zoom meetings/training or use Slack to record video and audio as you perform a distinct task online. Or you can use your phone camera to record the activity taking place.
    • Be thorough in your explanations. Define what “done” means to you so that they meet your expectations. You want X, Y, Z just like “example A” and completed by “date.” Be very specific, you will get much better results.

Inbox Flow Scheduler™

One thing your assistant can do is make your life simpler by managing your emails. Give them access to your email, and to make their life easier, you need to help the process along by planning your day first. Also, engage auto-filters to remove distractions you don’t need. You can always have a folder of newsletters to read later. You could set up your inbox with some basic folders to get started.

  • All mail
  • ! – Your Name
  • ! – Newsletters
  • ! – Responded
  • ! – To Respond
  • ! – Receipts
  • ! – Review

Making a recording of you processing your inbox for your new assistant is a critical tool. Show them how you’d like your mail sorted and handled; what kind of language you’d like your assistant to use when answering an email for you, such as:

“This is Lauren, Dan’s assistant. I got this email before he did and thought you’d appreciate the speediest reply…”

Power Moves

If you want to take back your time, these tips can make that possible.

  • Turn off ALL application notifications on your phone or laptop.
  • Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
  • When hiring someone using the buyback principle, you can hire someone to do multiple things.

1-3-1 Rule

The 1-3-1 Rule is all about teaching the employee to think through the issue and come up with a solution themselves. Have your employee identify,

  • one problem we are trying to solve
  • three different workable solutions
  • one recommendation

If they haven’t done this, ask them if they need time to prepare and then come back when they’re ready. The beauty of this is that you are teaching your employees to think for themselves and giving them the ability to problem-solve when you are not available. This is the Buyback Principle at its finest.

Conclusion:

At the heart of the Buyback Principle is proper delegation. Teaching and empowering your employees to run your business frees you to do those power tasks that will grow your business. Dan Martell’s SaaS Academy Worksheet will help you focus on the steps to make that happen.

Watch the webinar below for more explanation and Q&A.