1. It is simply not enough to have a fantastic idea. If you do not put in the blood, sweat and tears necessary to bring an idea to fruition, it will never become more than an idea. Fantastic ideas are wonderful and truly exciting, but gradually over time they either become tired small talks or become reality. The choice is yours.
2. While fundraising is a tricky and sophisticated business decision and several different types of funding are available, the true purpose of a pitch deck is to give structure and guidance to the aspiring entrepreneur. Let me elaborate:
• Clarity on the business model – If you can’t explain exactly who the customer is, what are the problems you are solving and how you intend to address them, maybe there is need for more testing and iteration until you find something that works.
• If you can’t explain it in a short slide, it doesn’t exist in reality – If you are the only one on the “team” slide your next step should be recruiting a team. If you do not have impressive “traction” or market validation of your idea, dig deeper. Use your slide deck as a washing board to identify gaps in your project and focus your efforts.
• Experiment with design and branding – I always say go all out, fall in love with the branding and design of the product! Now is your chance to impact the feel of the brand as much as possible before you hand it over to designers and engineers and it begins to morph rapidly.
• A simple test of your rigor – As an aspiring founder there are numerous and endless tasks ahead of you. If you cannot complete a 15-slide deck, maybe entrepreneurship isn’t for you.
That is why I believe that the ultimate beneficiary of a crystal clear and well-polished pitch deck is the founder and initial team.
This is the deck you will use to get your first stakeholders on board, make it fun, engaging, and easy on the eyes. Especially as you will need to generate as much quality feedback on the presentation as possible.
3. New and innovative ideas are amazing and especially exciting to work on. However, IP (Intellectual Property) risk is commonly exaggerated by aspiring entrepreneurs. If the idea is based on complex and innovate technology, I doubt most people could understand it anyway. So when necessary, find a way to “black box” the technology and describe it in terms of inputs and outputs.
If you believe it is a truly fantastic commercial idea, I pose the question, then why doesn’t it exist already? Regardless of your response, once the idea hits the market it will become common knowledge. In this case you should be sharing your idea as much as possible, test the feedback, maybe someone will convince you why it’s not that great idea and you can adapt and improve.
More importantly, it is the only way to collect valuable input and connect with as many relevant partners and allies as possible. This is crucial for success.
4. Entrepreneurship, like many other skills, can be taught and learned by deploying an academic approach. By immersing oneself into a few good books and programs it becomes clear what skills are lacking from the aspiring entrepreneurs tool kit. This can range from practical finance and accounting to more soft skills like selling and inspiring teams. There are literally thousands of relevant books, ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, YouTube videos etc, way more than anyone could possibly consume. Dig in! Find the format that suits you the best.