A pitch deck is a brief presentation, often created using PowerPoint, to provide your audience–typically investors–with a quick overview of your business plan.
During a pitch you present your business and your main brand idea to secure capital. To do this you’ll need a lot of information and preparation to handle the actual presentation and investor pushback. Let’s start with the key information you need to get across. We gathered this info from a panel of investors and beauty industry experts at the BeautyX Summit in New York this past August.
The Brand Story
A story is essential in green beauty, just as it is for any brand. Take the time to get your story clear and concise so that you can quickly retell it at a moment’s notice. Keep in mind that 75% of millennials find natural beauty important when purchasing skincare and cosmetics, and 55-77% of the rest of the generations also rate natural ingredients and skincare as a priority. It is worth exploring what part of a natural approach or ingredient deck can qualify as ‘natural’ and use that to your advantage.
Main objective should be to sell yourself as a business person, and as the best person to run this company, before focusing on how your products are unique. It’s all been done before, so investors need to have complete faith in you, your preparation, and your abilities.
Your Target Market
It is critical to demonstrate a solid understanding of your target market. Define what it is, but do not try to solve all the world’s problems. You will come across as unfocused and waste time answering what should be a few sentences long.
Once you’ve made a good personal and brand impression, it’s time to highlight your “hero” products (up to four). Do not give a rundown of your entire catalog, instead focus on your best sellers that may end up carrying your brand. Be sure to bring samples!
Never say you do not have competition. Name your competition (if versed in the category, the investor will already know your competition), and highlight how you are going to disrupt your category or add to it with your drive and resources. Be ready to answer questions about competitors—this is a time to show off your preparation during your beauty pitch.
Where do you sell? What strategy do you have to get your brand in front of more consumers? Having a vague strategy is acceptable, but you should understand where your will sell your product, to whom, and have a rough answer ready for what your future goals are.
During the pitch you may need to get into the financial nitty gritty. How much have you invested? What’s your return? What are you forecasted to do with or without an investment? What can you offer your potential investors?
Use of Funds
Be specific on how much you are asking for, and what you are going to use the funds on. Have a clear plan for more or less every dollar you are asking for. If you have a marketing budget, for example, it’s wise to know what your marketing dollars will be used for. But don’t be inflexible. If someone gives you a strong piece of advice or requirement about spending it’s likely worth listening and even adopting their recommendations.
Concluding the Pitch
Be equally interested in what the investor has to offer you. Yes, you need the investors, but they also need you if they are going to find anything to invest in. This should be a partnership, so be prepared to vet your investors and make sure you actually want to work with them. If an offer is made to you but you’re not comfortable, you have the right to negotiate, and of course decline the offer if necessary.
Now that you know more what to include in your investor pitch, you should create two variations of pitch decks. Non-confidential (10+ slides) and confidential (30+ slides). Each pitch should be modified to suit the person(s) you are meeting with. Start with the non-confidential until a 2nd+ meeting. Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) are not typically provided, but investors don’t tend to be in the business of stealing ideas.
Plan for Objections
- Practice your pitch with friends or colleagues. Prepare a rebuttal for any argument opposing your vision.
- Learn from every pitch. Take notes of new questions, and be prepared for the next pitch.
- Don’t be combative.
- Build a logic trap—i.e. be so persuasive they have to invest. Explain a gap and how you’re going to fill it.
Lastly, most investors will not invest after the first meeting. Nurture your investor relationships. Tell them where your brand is going, then follow up post-pitch. Securing capital can be a necessary part of building a business, so don’t be afraid to tackle this daunting step and get feedback from the investors too.