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Home Asset Guide Your pitch deck on a single page – How to tease an investor with a one pager

Your pitch deck on a single page – How to tease an investor with a one pager

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The best way to approach an investor you don’t personally know is by sending an introduction mail from a trusted reference. A good way to improve your pitch is by attaching a so-called one pager to your reference mail. The one pager is a one-page summary of your pitch deck on a single A4 sheet.

The main goal of a one pager is to convince the investor that your case is worth looking into. After reading your one pager, the investor should be able to answer all of the following questions with a “Yes”:

  • Is there a real problem?
  • Is there a need for their solution and a sufficient market size?
  • Do they have a competitive advantage?
  • Are they going to make money and is it scalable?
  • Is the team capable of executing the plan?

In addition to approaching investors, the one pager is useful for other business development purposes as well. It is a smart and effective way to explain your business.

In order to create a one pager read the following 5 tips. It will help you to grasp the investor’s attention.

1) Include all relevant sections

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The one pager should include the following sections:

Must-Have sections:

  1. One line pitch
  2. Problem
  3. Solution
  4. Market
  5. Competitors
  6. Competitive Advantage
  7. Business model
  8. Founder team and advisors

Nice-to-Have sections:

  1. Marketing Strategy
  2. Milestones past and future
  3. Funding and use of money

The layout could look like this:

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One-line pitch – Describe your company in one sentence

The very first thing you want to explain is what your startup is doing.

You should use a one-line pitch – A very effective scheme for that is: Company name – the xxx of/for xxx.

Examples:

Montredo – the trusted online shop for luxury watches.

Plate Culture – the Airbnb of Food

LinkedIn – the social network for business

Another common way is to use a more comprehensive style:

“(insert company name) is developing (a defined offering) to help (a defined audience) (solve a problem) with/by (secret sauce)”.

Montredo is developing an online shop to help watch-enthusiasts to buy watches safely online by sourcing the watches from authorized dealers only.

You can also use your very own technique for a good one-line pitch. Make sure your sentence is easy to understand though and describes what you are doing in a nutshell.

You cannot explain your business in a single sentence? Think again. No matter how complex your business is, there is always a way to describe it in one sentence.

The problem – State the pain

Describe the problem that you are addressing. Be precise, empiric and use actual data if it supports your cause of proving the existence and importance of the problem.

The solution – Your product or service

Explain your product or service in an easy to understand way. Focus on how you are going to solve the problem. Strictly avoid self praises here.

The market – Size and target

Give a short overview of the market, describing:

  • Your target customer – Be as precise as possible by using demographics and motivators and try to draw a detailed profile of your typical users.
  • Market size of your target market- A measurement of the total volume of a given market in €.
  • Market growth of your target market – Has the market been growing in the past years? Can further growth be expected? If yes, include this information as well.

Competitors – Be honest

No matter what business you are in, you certainly have a few competitors. Don’t try to cheat yourself or investors by denying your competition. Be transparent; list 3 – 5 main competitors including their strengths and weaknesses. A matrix is a decent way to display your competition by comparing your startup with your main competitors over relevant variables.

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Competitive advantage – Your USP

What is your unique selling proposition? What makes your startup unique and defensible? What is your secret sauce that makes you better than anyone else? Think hard, discuss in the team and try to come up with a solid competitive advantage.

Examples of competitive advantages:

  • Patents
  • One of a kind technology
  • Market leader status
  • Strong brand recognition
  • Huge community

Business Model – How are you going to make money?

State how you are going to earn money: Subscription fees, commission on sales, etc. What are your channels of distribution, how big is your gross margin? If you are pre-revenue and unsure about monetization, state likely sources, price ranges and data from market surveys or customer interviews.

Depending on the business model, include important KPIs to better understand your business model and enable the investor to benchmark your case with other comparable startups. Examples for KPIs to include in this section can be: Gross margins, account sizes, sales cycles, repurchase rate and customer lifetime value.

Founder team and advisors – The people who will execute the plan

No matter how great your product or service is – you need a dedicated and kick-ass team to execute it. Show the people behind the idea and describe their role in one sentence only. If you or your team members have relevant past experiences also state them.

What if you don’t have a strong and diversified team yet? What if you are still identifying key team members? Be honest and explain which holes in the team you are going to fix: CTO – candidates identified, to be hired in June 2015

Marketing strategy – How you are planning to get users

In this part state how you are getting the first users to test your product, how you are growing your initial user base and how you are scaling the user acquisition up to get tons of customers. List all important channels; describe which channels you will focus on and depending on the phase of your startup, the expected cost for acquisitions, how much you are planning to spend on each channel in total and what outcome you are expecting.

Channels you should consider:

  • Viral marketing
  • PR and unconventional PR
  • SEM
  • Social and Display Ads
  • Offline Ads
  • SEO
  • Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Engineering as marketing
  • Targeting blogs
  • Business development
  • Sales
  • Affiliate programs
  • Existing platforms
  • Trade shows
  • Offline events
  • Speaking engagements
  • Community building

The above list is from the book “In Traction – A Startup guide on getting customers (tractionbook.com)”, from Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.

Milestones past and future – Proof that you can deliver 

Examples:

  • Launch website
  • Close seed round
  • Close deal with company X

Funding and use of money

How much money are you trying to raise and how are you planning to use it? A nice way to illustrate the use of money, is by a chart like this:

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Try to be as explicit as possible to show the investor that you have a well-elaborated plan on how you are actually going to use the money. It has proven to better use numbers rounded to the thousand (e.g. € 123.000) than numbers rounded to the hundred thousands (e.g. € 100.000).

Although a lot of startups do, we don’t recommend to mention the valuation in the one-pager as this number is likely going to change during the fundraising process and can also vary among different investors. You don’t want to change this section all the time and leave the investor curious to come back at you when he is interested and wants to know your “price”.

2) Be honest and go easy with buzzwords.

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Don’t trick your investor – if you have strong competitors – mention them, if there are holes in your team – state them, if you are not sure about your source of income – be transparent about it. Being honest will pay off in the end as the investor will sooner or later find out about your flaws anyways.

Try to avoid buzzwords and jargon as the repeated use has blinded the investors to certain words such as “game changer”, “disrupt” or “disruption”.

Furthermore, in your one-line pitch, avoid overused words such as profitable, new, national, global, regional, private, proprietary, limited, innovative.

3) Don’t overload with text – Rephrase, get to the point, use bullet points and sections.

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Given that you need to include all Must-Have sections and should try to include the Nice-to-Have sections as well, it’s going to be difficult to put the entire content into one single page (minimum font size should be 11pt). However, if you rephrase many times, get rid of words that are not 100% necessary, don’t beat around the bush and get to the point, it will be possible.

Make sure you don’t include any grammar mistakes and have a simple style that is easy to understand. Use bullet points and sections where you can as readers lose interest if they are not able to quickly discern unimportant from important information.

4) Invest a bit in the design

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A designer, who is good in layout design and has experience in working on pitch decks, presentations can make a huge difference in the first impression of your one-pager. If you don’t have a designer in your network, post the job in social media or on elance.net and find a suitable designer. Expect to invest about € 100 to find someone who will get the job done.

5) Show it to other people

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Finally, in order to check if your one-pager is convincing and entertaining show it to at least 3 (critical) people from your network. Ask them if they would answer all of the following questions with a Yes:

  • Is there a real problem?
  • Is there an actual need for their solution and a sufficient market size?
  • Do they have a competitive advantage?
  • Are they going to make money and is the business model scalable?
  • Is the team capable of executing the plan?

Only send the one pager out if it convinces your proof readers without any additional explanations.

 

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