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What is a pitch deck?

Business Plan Pitch Decks are a powerful investor presentation mechanism. They support your critical one-time-only presentations in a limited allotted time.

  • I have the skills to crystallize dozens of pages of detailed business plan narrative into 10-20 slides that support all the key story points you must make to your investor audience...powerfully!

  • Development of your pitch deck can be done statically, with added videos. The design and presentation applications can be PowerPoint, Prezi, Google Slides, or any other slide presentation deck application that suits your needs.

  • Professional graphic design treatment is also available and highly recommended.

  • You can also consider a targeted promotion of your business plans to investors via email with a brief video link, to solicit investor presentation opportunities

Do I Need a Powerful Pitch Deck Designer?

Getting investor or lender funding for your business is a multiple-step process. Once you have completed the monumental task of assembling your formal business plan you need to perform a couple more steps. The business plan is the foundational evidence and rationale organized in great detail. Too much detail to go through in a 30 to a 60-minute investor meeting, 


The final preparation steps are the designing of a ‘pitch deck’ and an ‘investor brief’. The investor brief is relatively straightforward. It’s typically a 2-4 page summary of your business plan which you give to investors as a takeaway document or as a pre-presentation brief (very similar to the Executive Summary in your business plan). The investor brief allows readers to digest the essence of your business proposal in just a few minutes without the benefit of your business plan details or the additional support of your verbal presentation.


Your investor ‘pitch deck’ is your critical support tool for making your critical formal presentation to capital funding principals. It is more than the few words on the typical 10-20 page PowerPoint. It is literally a work of visual, editorial, and typographical art that adds an impactful visual foundation to your verbal presentation. It can literally help make or break your ability to get funding. Only once you have finished your pitch will investors indicate their interest in seeing a copy of your business plan. It’s understandable, they likely have a high volume of requests for funding every week.

What Are Your Investor Pitch Deck Design Alternatives?

Since your investor pitch deck is critical you obviously want the best. What is a pitch deck actually? What options are there and how do they vary in quality and cost? Can I possibly do it myself or should I have a professional pitch deck designer of some sort produce it?


Here is a complete rundown of your alternatives, so you can make an informed decision.

Pitch Deck Alternatives

  • DIY

  • Use a Pitch Deck Template

  • Contract a Graphic Designer

  • Fee Per Slide Agent

  • Marketing Agency

  • Pitch Adviser

  • Business Plan/Pitch Deck Designer


‘Benchmarking’ the Alternatives


I have four qualitative factors that I rated each alternative against. Cost, Duration, Impact, and Design Excellence. Let me describe them to you.




If you are facing business startup costs and using your own money to get prepared to meet with investors, you are naturally concerned about the expense of getting your pitch deck created. I separated the cost alternatives into Low-End (below CAD$750) Mid-Range (CAD$750-$2,500, High-End (above CAD$2,500).




Possibly even more limited than your pitching preparation funds are your available hours. What with all the various tasks needed to plan a new business venture, every hour of your day is truly precious. I evaluate each of the alternatives based on the approximate hours of your involvement to get your pitch deck fully completed from start to finish. The estimates range from 4 hours all the way to a couple of weeks and beyond. So the range is classified into Light, Medium, and Long.




Your pitch is your only supporting tool while you are in the heat of a live investor presentation. Your personal charisma creates the other half of the impression your investor audience is left with. I call this ‘impact’...the ability to tell your business story in a convincing way that makes the most positive and lasting impression possible. Just how much impact will each pitch production alternative create? I classify them into 3 categories...Uncertain, Adequate, and Ideal


Design Excellence


Design excellence is the final factor for comparison between the alternatives. Solid, crisp design that comes across as professional conveys that ‘image’ into genuine audience support. When things are going well it's like birds flying in unison. You are in tune with your presentation deck. If there is a unified or confusing design on the screen versus what you want to portray, you will project the wrong message and hence, the wrong business story. Your charisma may not be strong enough to keep things on course. I used the same rating system here...Uncertain, Adequate, and Ideal.

Your Pitch Deck Design and Production Alternatives


Now let’s describe each design alternative and rate them against my ranking system.


1. DIY

Honestly, this is likely the most used alternative and predictably has the least probability of success. It is often done as an almost forgotten activity. There is usually a big rush and corresponding negative impact on quality. You can’t blame new business founders for choosing this cheap to free approach. However, once you’ve started down this road, it’s not immediately apparent what a time sink it becomes until you are well invested in the project. 


You need to find more than one source to learn how to use the applications, likely opt for cheap stock images, and go through multiple edits. And still not be thrilled with the results. So much depends on your skill set and willingness to put in the time. You can expect to spend a ton of real-time hours, 40 to 80 hours is common, probably measured in 1 or 2 weeks on your calendar.


If you just happen to have artistic graphic design experience, then great, go ahead and take a stab at producing your own presentation deck. Although, being a skilled graphic artist doesn’t mean you will capture the conceptual business perspective to tell your story the way an investor wants to experience it. Realistically, if this is your first time at the pitch presentation rodeo, using a pitch deck professional is a safer option.


  • Cost: Low-End (not including your opportunity cost)

  • Duration: Long

  • Impact: Uncertain

  • Design Excellence: Uncertain



2. Use a Pitch Deck Template


There seem to be hundreds or thousands of pre-designed ‘best’ pitch decks for the I’ll-do-it-myself business founder. Most of them are well-designed. Many clothes are well-designed too, but they may not fit or even be appropriate for a specific occasion. The same is true of pitch deck templates. They may impress you, but they must have the perfect content and be suitably designed for your investor audience.


While you will save money on graphic design, you are still doing all the additional content and creative work yourself. The cost of your valuable time needs to be factored in. In the end, you may have a good-looking pitch deck that took you 40 hours to complete, which is dependent on your personal design and tailoring skills, which may not be adequate.


  • Cost: Low End (not including your opportunity cost)

  • Duration: Long

  • Impact: Adequate

  • Design Excellence: Adequate



3. Contract a Graphic Designer


When an entrepreneur determines they don’t have the skills or time to either create a deck from square one or use a pitch deck template, they look for a skilled contract graphic designer. This is a step up from the DIY mindset, but these artists are not necessarily skilled at producing the best pitch decks. They may do beautiful design work and it may not cost very much. Typically they will charge CAD$500 to CAD$2000 and the quality usually correlates well with the price. It is possible to get them to work by the hour or some may offer a fixed fee. Their main benefit is elevating the appearance of your pitch deck.


Be prepared for graphic designers to be totally dependent on you for all the verbal content, colour choices, and basic business sense, the mindset of your investor audience, etc. So, don’t hope for any of that type of support. You will save on time to some degree, but be prepared to closely oversee their work from start to finish. It’s hard to predict what the final product will look like. Between your skills and theirs, the outcome and ultimate impact can range significantly.


  • Cost: Mid-Range

  • Duration: Medium

  • Impact: Adequate

  • Design Excellence: Adequate



4. Fee Per Slide Agent


Although not common, there are agencies willing to work for a set fee per slide, which you agree on ahead of time. The cost to you will be mid-range for a completed pitch deck, but again the output quality is not assured. You are still expected to create all of the verbal content and give company design details yourself. This still means you are giving up a good amount of time to provide input and oversee their work.


In reality the agency most likely uses preformatted templates and reworks only the most basic elements like colours and layout formatting, with your content inserted where needed. The actual graphic design work may not be done by the agency themselves since there are loads of cheap freelancers with just enough skills to follow the agency's instructions.


  • Cost: Mid-Range

  • Duration: Medium

  • Impact: Adequate

  • Design Excellence: Adequate



5. Marketing Agency


The marketing agencies I’m discussing here may operate under different descriptions, ad agencies, branding companies, marketing design houses, etc. The point is they are generally very good at what they do and their fees are commensurately quite high, in the CAD$3,000 to CAD$6,000 territory. They tend to work with large established clients under ongoing agency agreements on predetermined marketing strategies and tactics. 


They can definitely produce a high-priced pitch deck with impressive quality design attributes, but this is not an area of work they regularly perform. Consequently, they are not accustomed to preparing materials for fresh clients in the early stages of venture capital seeking. They won’t have the insight into how investors and lenders think and what to incorporate to meet those needs. Hence, you will be called on to provide those insights and likely much of the written content for your high-priced pitch deck and hours of your time overseeing the project.


  • Cost: High-End 

  • Duration: Medium

  • Impact: Ideal

  • Design Excellence: Ideal



6. Pitch Adviser


Although not a common service there is a growing number of what I call ‘pitch advisers’. These are people who have either taken their own start-up projects to market or in some fashion, formally or informally, assisted others in their efforts to get business startup or growth capital.


They can certainly do a decent job of helping you tell your enterprise narrative in a few words suitable for a pitch deck, but they almost certainly don’t have the graphic design skills needed to support those words with an impactful presentation deck. Their fees may be reasonable considering their business acumen, but you will need to spend time bringing them up to speed and collaborating to be sure they capture all the key points needed.


What you have after they have finished their work is good content for a pitch deck, but zero graphic design work. You will need to find a good designer on your own and again you will be faced with spending hours of your time overseeing their work to completion.


Don’t be surprised if the overall actual costs of the two service providers are fairly expensive, not to mention the opportunity cost of all the time you will spend collaborating and overseeing their output.

  • Cost: High-End 

  • Duration: Medium

  • Impact: Uncertain

  • Design Excellence: Uncertain



7. Business Plan/Pitch Deck Designer


In my professional opinion, this is by far your best option if you need the highest quality pitch deck with the least opportunity cost on your time.


What I mean by a BusinessPlan/Pitch Deck Designer is literally the professional who prepares your full business plan narrative, including your detailed marketing and operations plans and all of your financial projections, and has already had the experience of taking your business story and condensing it into a one or two-page business plan summary. 


This expert needs no additional support from you to create the best pitch deck narrative possible. You have likely already collaborated with them for multiple days or weeks recently and they know you and your business intentions intimately, so there are no additional demands on your time for the pitch deck production.


Granted, they likely don’t have high-caliber graphic design skills. They do have highly capable resources to produce the final high-quality, high-impact pitch deck you require. Again, this phase of pitch deck production requires no added time on your behalf except for possible final tweek requests. The expert is responsible for delivering the final pitch deck product in ‘investor ready’ form.


This option will have commensurate fees in the CAD$1,500 to $4,500 range (depending on page count and complexity), but there are no opportunity costs to you for time, and you receive the ultimate pitch deck for your capital sourcing needs.


NOTE: If you have already prepared your business plan, using this type of expert is still very beneficial. A professional business plan and pitch deck expert can, with very limited time on your part, digest and interpret your business plan narrative and expertly compress your story into 10 to 20 pages of a quality pitch deck with little or no added charge for the upfront effort needed to digest your story. They will oversee the same graphic design resource to yield a perfect pitch deck.


  • Cost: Mid-Range

  • Duration: Light

  • Impact: Ideal

  • Design Excellence: Ideal

So, Which is the Your Best Pitch Deck Design Alternative?


Choosing from this list of alternatives is easier when you consider your pitch deck quality and impact requirements and your available time and budget resources. Let’s review each alternative from that perspective and help you make a final choice.


  • Cost

What is the purpose of your pitch deck meaning? What value will it bring to your investor or lender presentation? Consider the probability that a higher cost/value pitch deck will increase your probability of finding confirmation, sooner, with fewer investor presentations.


  • Duration


Calculate the opportunity cost of an hour or a day of your time...not only a dollar equivalent but the monetary value of all the other important things that you can’t attend to while you spend time on pitch deck building.


  • Impact


The whole point of preparing a quality pitch deck is to have as much impact as possible with your investor audience. There is no reasonable argument to settle for a deck that you know will have a lower impact than you actually require. After all, you are going to use the impact of your presentation deck to ask for 100’s of thousands of dollars or maybe millions of dollars. 


  • Design Excellence 


Our world is rich with marketing imagery. Our eyes are flooded with high-quality ads on billboards, websites, email newsletters, social media, and many other places. You and your investors can quickly judge a professional graphic design presentation as well-done or lackluster. You and your business are represented in the visuals you use to tell your business story and make your case for receiving new capital. Be extremely cautious about the artistic design and organization of your pitch deck. Be sure it’s excellent. 


Imagine how many business founders treat their pitch decks as an afterthought, something to pull together just prior to a big investor meeting. How well will they do? Choose your design options carefully and always opt for quality...the highest quality you can afford.


I obviously recommend you work with me as your Business Plan/Pitch Deck Expert. I will be pleased to give you a FREE assessment and an immediate price quote.

What Elements To Cover In My Pitch Deck?


Asking for capital funding is a highly competitive undertaking. Investors and lenders see pitch presentations from hundreds or thousands of hopeful business founders. Your pitch deck is a critical asset that you need to get right.


Excellent graphic design and selecting the right style for your business presentation are not optional. But what important business story components do you need to include?


Here are the generally accepted critical items to craft into your pitch slides.

  • Your Company

Hopefully, you have chosen a new company name and had a suitable logo designed. Make sure it is boldly included along with all your contact details. 


  • The Big Idea

Create a brief single sentence description of your enterprise and what customers are getting from it in terms of value to them. Keep it simple, like you are explaining it to a relative at a family barbeque.


  • What’s the Big Problem?

Explain the real-life ‘problem’ in the world that your company is setting out to solve on behalf of customers. Think in terms of who has the problem, how is it currently being solved (including a bit about your competition). Make it relatable to your investor audience.


  • Market Opportunity

Expand on who your target customers are and the addressable market size in terms of the scope and scale of the problem that needs to be solved. Try to present the sales opportunity in dollars and don’t overstate it. How do you plan to position your business to capture the opening window of opportunity? If possible break down the market you are addressing into sub-segments


  • What’s Your Solution?

Here you need to clearly describe how your company is a big part of the solution. Explain how customers will use the product or service to solve the problem. Be careful not to spend too much space talking about features, when it's actually benefits of your product that are important here.


  • Your Business Model?

How does your product turn value into revenue for the company? Discuss your pricing strategies and who is actually paying your company (it’s not always the user directly). 


  • Your Competitors

Don’t be fooled into thinking you have no competition because you’re convinced your product is unique. There are always competitors, so direct some indirect. Do the research, get really clear about this.


  • Your Market Advantage

Good SWOT analysis and a review of competitor’s SWOT will make it clear what ‘sustainably’ unique advantages you have. Discuss how you can defend and strengthen your position.


  • Your Product

Dive a bit deeper into the functionality of your product. Tie features to customer benefits. Use photos and diagrams to make it easy for the audience to grasp the features of your product.

  • Traction and Validation

Even though you are basically just getting started and have done some live testing and experimentation with early adopters, this is valuable to creating trust and validity with investors. Discuss real-world testing and customer feedback. How will the product grow in the market? Include a roadmap to show the major product or company milestones.


  • Go to Market Plans

Describe the selling process, sales channels, and marketing strategies and activities to bring new customers on board in the immediate future. Include a schedule and budget for these activities if possible.


  • Your Team

Introduce the team members who are involved in the critical company activities. Explain why each of them is suitable for their role.


  • Financials

Investors are all about risk management and getting a solid ROI. Include your expected burn rate, break-even point and make it clear how many customers are needed to become a profitable enterprise. Know the assumptions you are relying on to make your financial predictions. 


  • Use of Funds

Explain how much money you are asking for and how it is going to be used. What are the primary cost drivers? Describe any other investors that are involved and why they invested.

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