The journey from an idea to a successful business is a long and windy one. There are many steps along the way that, if skipped, will down the whole ship. These include competitive analysis, building a minimum viable product, figuring out product market fit, and many others. But before you get ahead of yourself, sit down, and answer the questions an investor might have, when deciding whether to take a meeting with you or not.
Creating a deck for investors, as we refer to it, is important for the fund raising process, but even if you are not raising capital right now, even if you think your investor is close enough that she won't require a traditional deck, you should still have one. Here's why.
When preparing a deck, you have to filter out all the buzz words, and address the fundamentals. This will give you and your team clarity and the ability to view your startup with much more substance and less emotion.
Preparing the investor deck will also allow you to take a bird's eye view on the venture and make sure you are not missing the forest because of all the trees.
Get into the right mindset
When preparing an investor's deck, you have to get into the mind of the investor. Here is the thing with every investor on planet earth. They are all after one simple thing, a return on their investment. By creating a deck that will increase investor confidence in your venture, you are also increasing your own confidence in the feasibility of your idea. You are getting into the mindset of an investor by answering all the basic questions they might have, which in turn helps you evaluate your chances of success as well.
Answer the relevant questions
A deck is not intended to have the investor take out a check book and seal the deal. That is what the meeting is for, or in most case, meetings. But the deck is necessary to get that initial meeting.
So what would an investor be asking when determining whether you are worth an hour of their time? Here are some of the questions you need to answer in your deck:
Who are you? What is the actual product? Why now? How big is the opportunity? What is your go-to-market? What is the business model? Who is your competition?
Those questions, among others, while they might be what an investor is looking for, are first and foremost, crucial questions for you to be asking yourself. By creating a deck to answer those questions, you are actually enabling yourself to be more prepared for the roller coaster than is about to come.
Put your team to the test
If all that wasn't convincing enough for you to start working on your deck, here is one more for you. You have a team. That team includes product people, designers, copywriters, content people, and business analysts. By joining forces to create your initial investor's deck, you are basically initiating your very first field test. How well do all the people work together? How well can everyone execute? How good is the final product? Is it clear and concise?
These are all things you are going to need in your actual product and the process of creating a killer investor's deck will be a good indication of what the future holds.