By: Janine Kick
Remember reading that book as a kid? Me too. Ironically, it’s mantra, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” has morphed into a more grown up version I’ve kept with me years later, “you can do hard things, you can do hard things”. The children’s book, The Little Engine that Could, is short, sweet, colorfully illustrated, somewhat repetitive yet to the point — “you can.”
I’ve helped dozens of entrepreneurs raise capital in excess of $80M ranging from $3-20M a round (hard things!). Yet regardless of what round an entrepreneur finds themself at, I find myself facing a similar dilemma when it comes to helping to develop their pitch decks. The first pitch deck I’m often presented with is long, full of text, very intricate and way more detailed than necessary, attempting to make many, many key points.
According to a study by Microsoft, the average adult attention span has shown to be 8 seconds due to an ever increasingly digital lifestyle… 8 seconds. That’s less than the infamous goldfish memory at 9 seconds! So, as far as your deck goes, it needs to be pointed, tight, and do nothing but illiterate the single most important message to your audience, the VC. You have a big idea, in a big market, that is going to change the world.
Like in our favorite childhood books, the illustrations illuminate the story. Your pitch deck needs to illuminate your pitch not distract from it. The last thing you want is for your audience to get lost reading your slide and not listening to you. While it’s certainly difficult to cut back your pitch deck while understanding the intricacies of your product and market, scaling back your pitch deck is the single best thing you can do for your audience to ensure they are capturing your single most important message. You have a big idea, in a big market, that is going to change the world.
And remember, as difficult as it may be, like The Little Engine that Could, you can. You can cut your pitch deck back, you can convey your message effectively, and you can raise the next round of funding to take your business to the next level.