Pitch Deck how-to guide with template

Rafat Abushaban

- Tips and How-to's #  O 12.6K views   اقرأ بالعربية

Pitch-decks can be the most daunting undertaking for entrepreneurs especially when the life of their startup depends on it. Will it get them funding? a new customer? perhaps it can help close a new partnership?

Or not.

 This piece will shed the light on the most important points needed in a successful pitch, what to avoid, some tricks to help you overcome obstacles. You can also download the pitch template at the end, so let's go.

Breaking things down


Pitching any idea, a business or otherwise, is first and mostly and art of communication. If your ideas get through then you've made it. Think about it: you see ads every day for companies trying to sell you products and services on Facebook, Youtube, your favorite news website, when watching your show on TV, and when walking down the street. Every one of these is a pitch of some sort trying to sell you something or getting you to do something that can (hopefully) give back benefits for you and the pitcher.

And this is the first thing that you need to think about. Your pitch is a form of marketing for your idea or business for someone. Is he a potential customer? or is she an investor? or maybe you are competing in a startup bootcamp and in need to convince judges with your idea to win an award. Defining your target audience can go a great length when choosing what you say and how to say it.

Start with the PROBLEM, otherwise your solution will become a PROBLEM

The Problem your business is addressing should ideally stem from a life-painful experience. Relate to your audience. More often than not, entrepreneurs delve into features and benefits of using their solution without the problem being clear, creating a gap and a question on why this product was actually made. This is a problem that you don't want to fall into.

In this stage you need to focus on two things: facts and emotions. Establish the facts with numbers and proof of how big the problem is, and tie your audience with an emotional connection by providing how this relates to someone in real life (could be you personally or someone you know). If you have the chance to research your audience beforehand and discover how this problem affects them or their businesses, then Boom- you nailed it.

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Here comes the solution

If things went well so far, then your audience is thinking about the problem now. Give them your solution that answers this problem. Presenting the solution is still tricky as it is easy to waste valuable time and get into details, but fight off that urge. Now is only the time to impress with the idea and the visual. Show off your MVP with only the top features it employs to solve the problem.

End of the first part of the pitch

This is it? where are the numbers, validation, market details?

Yes that is it. I am not saying the pitch is over, but a decision is already made on whether this is a gem or a losing case.

Now the audience has to make a choice:

  • This is a good pitch,I get it and relate to it.

This case means that you are well onto your way to a successful outcome. Whatever comes after just needs to reaffirm this idea.

  • This is not clear, or it is clear but not relevant.

It becomes much more difficult to overcome this. You need solid numbers and evidence of your success thus far to recoup from that initial negative judgement.

Followup part of the pitch. Show the numbers

Here comes the technical parts of the pitch. They should be fairly simple to put and communicate if you had a positive reaction so far.

The first detail you want to talk about is your focus. Who is your Avatar? What is your Market and how large is it? Speaking of the market, who are the competitors? a sleek technique to save time here is to link competitors to your unique advantage, as shown in the graph below.

How to display competition in your pitch

This method helps provide three pieces of information: (1) Who are the top competitors, (2) why is your product different, and (3) what are the unique characteristics that identify your product or service.

Validation and Marketing

It is important to show proof for what was claimed thus far, so product validation is key here. This will need a separate article to follow on this topic.

Marketing is another area you want to shed the spotlight unto. Should you use a mix of online and offline marketing strategies? what about Events and activities, partnerships, advertisements, and customer curation and retention? This may sound like a lot, but the pitch should only highlight the main strokes and leave unnecessary details out.


It is very easy to trip over financial projections and estimations for an early-stage idea that is yet to become a business. The best strategy is to list the top numbers needed to pique interest. (You still need to know how these numbers came to).

Here are the main top numbers to consider:

  • Income projection for a meaningful period of time (1 year, first 6 months)
  • Monthly costs needed to operate
  • Cost of service per customer (depending on the business model used)
  • Income per customer/channel (depending on the business model).

Lastly you can list your team and any additional validation you have (like some news coverage that was done on your product or service). It is good to finish off strong with evidence.

Take it with you

While these steps are generic guidance, they form a good starting point for your design of a remarkable pitch. I have noted down all of the above points into a single Microsoft Powerpoint template that takes our platform "Riable" an example to show you how it can look. You can download and use right now for your pitch for free by registering via this link below.

Click file to download

 Please note that the Riable Pitch Template does not contain real data. It can only be used for the purposes of demonstration on how to structure a pitch.

Rafat Abushaban

Founder of Riable and consultant to several international organizations in entrepreneurship education and researcher in innovation systems and seed funding methods with 10+ years of practical experience in the MENA region, Europe, US and S.Korea
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