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Home / Blog / Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan: What is the Difference?

Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan: What is the Difference?

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Deciding between a pitch deck and a business plan for your next fundraiser? In reality, both documents play an important part in your fight for the next round. 

  • Research shows that a clear, concise pitch deck can increase the chances of securing an initial meeting with investors by up to 72% .
  • A business plan reduces internal confusion by 25% by clearly outlining the goals, strategies, and financial projections, leading to a 30% increase in team collaboration .

Both documents require heavy research and are designed to convince investors to back your venture. However, they accomplish it in different ways.

Having raised over $505M in 2023 for startups with our pitch decks and business plans , we’ll walk you through a detailed Pitch deck vs. Business plan comparison and their role in the fundraising game.

What is the pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a 10-20-slide presentation showcasing the potential of your business idea and startup to investors. Briefly and compellingly, it introduces your company, product, market, business model and overall strategy. 

An effective must showcase your market research, traction to date, and a roadmap to where you want to get. No one-sized pitch deck exists, so you can even pitch someone in the elevator .

Think of it as an introductory sales document designed to pique investor interest and encourage further dialogue.

Components of a pitch deck:

  • Introduction: Brief overview of your company and its purpose.
  • Problem Statement: Clearly define the problem your product or service solves.
  • Solution: Describe your product or service and how it addresses the problem.
  • Market Opportunity: Showcase the potential market size and target audience.
  • Business Model: Explain how your company plans to generate revenue.
  • Traction: Highlight any milestones, achievements, or user statistics.
  • Market Strategies: Outline your marketing and sales approaches.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify and analyze your competitors.
  • Team: Introduce key team members and their roles.
  • Financial Projections: Present forecasts for revenue, expenses, and profitability.
  • Ask/Investment: Clearly state what you’re seeking from potential investors.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a 30-100-page document showcasing an in-depth analysis of your business idea to potential investors to convince them to invest. It elaborates on things like:

  • Your sales, marketing, and operational plans for growth
  • Where your company will be in the next 1,3 or 5 years
  • A step-by-step plan of how you’ll get there.

The business plan is the first part of the investor’s due diligence process before finalizing the deal. It lays out more detailed research on your industry and competitors, contains many charts, graphs, and pictures, and is very text-heavy. 

Think of it as a comprehensive blueprint of your venture designed to persuade interested investors to pull the trigger and invest.

Components of a business plan:

  • Executive Summary: A brief business overview, goals, and plans.
  • Company Description: Details about your business, mission, vision, and structure.
  • Market Analysis: Research your industry, market, and competitors.
  • Organization and Management: Information about your team, structure, and key personnel.
  • Product or Service Line: Description of your offer and its benefits.
  • Marketing and Sales: Your strategies for promoting and selling your product or service.
  • Funding Request: If you seek funding, outline your financial needs.
  • Financial Projections: Projected financial statements, like income statements and balance sheets.
  • Appendix: Additional supporting documents, charts, graphs, etc.

What are the differences between a pitch deck and a business plan?

While the business plan and pitch deck give a view of your venture, they serve different goals, reach different audiences, and build the story differently. These distinctions manifest in the length, format, target audiences, and funding stages. 

Length and Format

  • Pitch Deck:

Brief and eye-catching 10-20 slides with engaging visuals, like images, charts, and minimal text. Generally highlights critical points, like product or service, target market, business model, and future potential.

  • Business Plan:  

Detailed 30-100 page text-heavy document armed with visuals like charts and graphs. It typically emphasizes projected revenue, expenses, and profitability through financial statements and forecasts. The document details strategies for sales, marketing, operations, and human resources, along with a description of team members’ expertise, experience, contributions to the company’s success, etc.

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Targeted Audience

  • Pitch Deck: Investors (initial stages)
  • Business Plan: Investors (due diligence), internal team

Stages and Objectives

  • Pitch Deck: 1. Shines in early stages: Pre-seed, seed, Series A. 2. Captivates investors: Concisely delivers the problem, solution, market, and team.
  • Business Plan: 1. Dominates later stages: Series B and beyond. 2. Secures substantial funding: Demonstrates viability and potential return on investment (ROI).

Frequency of use

  • Pitch Deck: 1. High Frequency: Used frequently and repeatedly throughout the fundraising process. You might prepare several variations tailored to different investors or stages of funding. Examples: Initial investor meetings, pitch competitions, and conferences seeking investment opportunities.
  • Business Plan: 1. Lower Frequency: Typically used once during the later fundraising stages, specifically during due diligence. 2. Focus: Providing detailed information for investors to thoroughly assess your business’s viability.

Differences Between a Pitch Deck and a Business Plan

Pros and cons: Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan

Advantages:

  • Comprehensive: This thoroughness is crucial for investors, lenders, and internal stakeholders.
  • Strategically complete: Aids decision-making, resource allocation, and risk management.
  • Supportive fundraising: Studies suggest that companies with a well-crafted business plan are 18% more likely to secure funding than those without one.

Disadvantages:

  • Time-consuming: Requires potential expertise in areas like financial modelling and market research.
  • Outdated quickly: Market dynamics and business strategies can evolve rapidly, necessitating regular updates to the plan to maintain its accuracy and relevance.
  • It may not be read: Lack of time and poorly structured info can push away the potential investor.
  • Concise and engaging: Studies reveal that audiences lose focus after 10-20 minutes of presentations. Pitch delivers a clear and quick message.
  • Easy to adapt and share: Adapting the pitch deck for various audiences and situations is simpler due to its brevity.
  • This can lead to meetings: Engaging presentations foster positive connections with potential partners and lay the groundwork for long-lasting collaborations.
  • Sometimes limited information: By definition, it does not provide the in-depth financial analysis, operational details, and market research needed for comprehensive due diligence.
  • Less suitable for later stages: As funding requirements and investor expectations increase, a pitch deck alone may not be sufficient for securing more significant investments.

Which is more important, the pitch deck or the business plan?

There is no one-size answer; in most cases, you need both. The importance of each depends on your industry and fundraising stage. The pitch deck is crucial early on , but investors scrutinise the business plan for details as you progress . 

The pitch deck is vital for visibility. Without it, you may miss opportunities with investors and hinder connections with mentors and partners essential for your startup’s success.

On the other hand, the business plan is crucial to validate everything you’ve outlined in your pitch deck. Investors can quickly spot unprepared founders or unrealistic propositions. While a compelling pitch may secure a meeting, a thorough plan will convince investors to back your venture.

Important: A well-crafted pitch deck often stems from a strong business plan.

When to use a business plan and not a pitch deck

  • If you seek debt financing: Banks rely on business plans, emphasizing their importance for loan applications.
  • If you fundraise above $500k: Careful planning is crucial for substantial fundraising. Investors will scrutinize your venture, so be thoroughly prepared.
  • If you have cooperative ownership planning: A written plan is essential for co-owners to navigate challenges together, staying true to the initial vision while embracing necessary changes.

When to use a pitch deck and not a business plan

  • When attracting equity investment: A concise pitch deck is essential to secure funds from venture capitalists, angel investors, or knowledgeable friends and family.
  • When looking for networking with potential investors: Crafting a positive initial impression is paramount.
  • For pitching opportunities for founders: Explore pitch competitions in the startup community, seizing opportunities for exposure and honing your pitching abilities with a solid pitch deck.
  • When seeking co-founders: If you’re looking for cofounders, there is no better way to convey your concept and the value you can bring to the table than through a pitch deck.
  • When applying to accelerator programs: A well-crafted pitch deck is typically required. It is a critical asset in the assessment process for entry into the accelerator’s next cohort.

You need both 

Need to grab attention and lock connections? Use a pitch deck. Need to showcase in-depth details and long-term potential? Use a business plan. Both tools are paramount in navigating your fundraising journey effectively.

Want to know how to craft pitch decks that secure investor interest? Check our pitch deck hub to learn all about it straight from the trenches.

CONTENT WRITER

Hey there! I'm Anastasiia, a Content Writer at Waveup. With my marketing expertise and storytelling magic, I turn complex data and industry insights into your startup playbook, making the business world a breeze for you! At Waveup, I work with brilliant folks who make insights a never-ending flow. So, join, read, and enjoy!

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Pitch deck vs business plan: differences and which to use

Pitch deck vs business plan: differences and which to use

Table of Contents

Have you ever spent time deciding between creating a pitch deck vs business plan? For startups and new business owners, where every minute counts, it’s crucial to concentrate on activities that deliver the most significant impact.

This blog article demystifies the pitch deck vs business plan, whether you aim to attract investors, secure a loan, or win over partners and clients. We’ll start with pitch decks, followed by business plans, with the goal of helping you choose wisely – so you can spend less time on paperwork and more time building your business.

1. What is a pitch deck?

Pitch decks

A pitch deck is a slideshow that concisely conveys your business idea, market opportunity, and value proposition in a presentation format. Also known as a business or investor deck, they are used to quickly present business ideas, products, or services in 10 to 20 slides.

Purpose of a pitch deck

The purpose of a pitch deck is similar to that of an elevator pitch: tell a compelling story to grab the attention of potential investors, partners, or clients.

The goal isn’t to seal a deal on the spot but to spark sufficient interest to secure follow-up meetings and negotiate potential funding.

How long should a pitch deck be?

How long should a pitch deck be?

Your pitch deck should pack a punch, not bore your investors. Aim for 10-20 impactful slides . For complex ideas or specific industries, slightly more might be okay.

The 10/20/30 rule is your friend: make a 10-slide deck that grabs attention. Investors see hundreds of pitch decks a year. Choose quality over quantity – make each slide count!

💡 Related article: How many slides do you need for a 10-minute presentation?

What should be in a pitch deck

Most successful pitch decks follow a similar flow to keep investors hooked. The tried-and-tested 10-slide pitch deck format is a great starting point but be prepared to adjust or add slides for emphasis.

These are the 10 core slides for a pitch deck based on Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 rule:

  • Problem slide
  • Solution slide
  • Market size and opportunity
  • Product/service
  • Business model
  • Competition
  • Financials and key metrics
  • Ask (funding needs)

Here are additional slides you may include based on specific business and investor preferences:

  • Introduction
  • Go-to-market (GTM) slide
  • Sales and marketing strategy
  • Use of funds
  • Exit strategy

💡 Learn more about the 10/20/30 rule: How to create a pitch deck (and the 10 slides you need)

Pitch deck examples

Curious how some tech unicorns have pitched their ideas in the early stages? Here are two examples that have proven successful.

✅ Snapchat pitch deck (2013, Pre-seed)

Snapchat pitch deck

✅ Tinder pitch deck (2016, Seed)

Tinder pitch deck

Examples from Best Pitch Decks

2. What is a business plan?

Business plans

A business plan is a written document with detailed information that acts as a roadmap for your business. A traditional business plan is a formal document that outlines all aspects of your business, including its goals, strategies, market analysis, operational structure, and financial forecasts for the next 3 to 5 years. Most business plans are created in a Word document or report format, ranging from 10 to hundreds of pages long. 

There are other types of less formal business plans used by startups or for internal alignment:

  • Lean startup plan/Lean canvas: Summarizes the value proposition and business model into a single page, with a focus on the problem-solution fit.
  • One-page business plan: Fits the essential information of a business into one page. Great for quickly testing an idea’s viability or getting immediate feedback.
  • Internal business plan: Less formal, designed for use within an organization — for example, a feasibility business plan, operations plan, strategic, or expansion plan.

Purpose of a business plan

Business plans aren’t just for paperwork – they drive action and results. Think of your business plan as a multi-purpose tool that serves several vital functions:

  • Attract investors
  • Fundraising or securing loans
  • Map your strategy
  • Provide a strategic roadmap
  • Track business progress or provide a performance benchmark
  • Win over partners, talents, and potential hires

Components of a business plan

Business plans don’t have a right or wrong format; only different situations call for other formats. You can mix different plan types to prioritize components that directly support your objectives.

What to include in a traditional business plan:

  • Executive summary: A concise overview of your entire business plan, highlighting the most critical points.
  • Company description: What your business does, the problem it solves, your target market, and competitive advantages.
  • Market analysis: Research data like market size, trends, competitors, and customer demographics.
  • Organization and management: The business structure, roles, and experience of key team members.
  • Products or services: Details on your offer, including features, benefits, pricing, and any intellectual property considerations.
  • Sales and marketing strategy: How you plan to reach your target customers (market) and tactics to promote and drive sales.
  • Financial projections: Forecasts of your income, expenses, cash flow, and profitability for the next 1 to 5 years.
  • Funding request: If you are fundraising, state the amount, how it will be used, and the terms you offer investors.
  • Appendix: Include any supplemental information and documents.

💡 Pro tip: Customize your plan! Add, remove, or rearrange sections to achieve your goals.

How long should a business plan be?

How long should a business plan be?

Think about your reader and your goal.  Need a detailed plan for a bank loan? That might be 15-25 pages. Want a quick internal roadmap? A one-page Lean Canvas could work. Consider your industry, who’s reading it, and what you need the plan to do.

💡 Pro tip: Choose quality over quantity. Focus on clarity, regardless of length.

How long does it take to write a business plan?

It can take anything from 20 minutes to 20 weeks. The whole process of creating a business plan can be time-consuming (if opting for a long format), and it can also be quick (for example, the Lean Canvas).

The general advice is: Don’t overthink your first business plan. Start simple, move fast, and build as you grow. Business plans aren’t static, so be prepared to refine and expand your plan as the business evolves.

💡 Pro tip: It’s not uncommon to uncover some challenging sections while writing the plan – the key is to show awareness of these issues and ways to overcome them.

Business plan templates

Not sure where to start? Use these example plans and templates from these reputable sources to get you started: 

  • SBA.gov: Write your business plan –  Has the traditional business plan and lean startup business plan templates
  • SCORE.org – Has business plan templates for a startup , an established business , and the Business Model Canvas
  • Bplans has over 550 business plan examples across multiple industries, which you can use for inspiration.

3. Pitch deck vs business plan: the differences

Now that you understand pitch decks and business plans, let’s dive into their key differences.

  • Pitch decks are short and punchy, designed to grab investors’ attention and get you that crucial meeting.
  • Business plans are thorough and detailed documents, perfect for in-depth analysis or large funding requests.

💡 Think of it this way: Pitch decks are the attention-grabbing movie trailers that sell the whole project. Business plans are your complete blueprint.

Both documents can serve you, but understanding their differences helps you select the best tool for attracting investment or charting your company’s path.

4. Do you need a pitch deck or a business plan?

In the past, business plans were the standard document to present a business idea to investors. However, simple business plans and pitch decks are increasingly popular, especially in startups.

Here’s how to choose the right tool for the job:

🎯 Pitches and investor meetings

Pitch decks provide a snapshot of your business or idea’s potential to spark interest and secure future investor meetings.

🎯 Early stages or for idea validation

Use a simple business plan or Lean Canvas, as the format forces you to focus on the core problem you’re solving and the solution.

🎯 Internal roadmap and planning

Formal business plans will aid in longer-term strategic planning, or they can be shorter since they are for internal use.

🎯 Complex business model

Create a thorough business plan with intricate details; short plans and pitch decks wouldn’t cut it for specific industries or complicated business models.

🎯 Fundraising, loans, or traditional financing

Banks, investors, and government-funded grant applications often require a detailed business plan. Whether you seek debt or equity funding, angel investors, VCs, and banks need compelling reasons to support your venture.

💡 Pro tip: You’ll still need a traditional business plan for detailed strategy or significant funding!

5. Conclusion

Pitch decks and business plans aren’t simply documents – they’re essential tools for driving your business forward. Now that you know the difference, consider your current needs. Ready to capture investor attention? Start crafting a compelling pitch deck. Need a detailed roadmap? Begin writing a winning business plan. Use the resources in this guide to get started and put your business on the right track toward success!

When should you write a business plan?

According to research by Harvard Business Review , between six and 12 months after deciding to start a business. For various reasons, crafting a comprehensive business plan either earlier or later doesn’t necessarily impact business success:

  • Most startups pivot from their original ideas and plans.
  • The time needed to create a thorough plan is better spent on other business activities (at least initially).
  • Creating an elaborate plan may distract entrepreneurs from seeing opportunities in real time and responding to real customers’ needs.

Planning is valuable, and entrepreneurs who plan are more likely to start a successful business. However, you don’t need a complex business plan to begin working on your business. It’s okay to create a plan early on but remember; it’s more about being strategic with your time than trying to forecast the future from the start.

What’s the difference between a business plan and a canvas?

They differ in complexity and length. Business plans are longer and more detailed and are typically used to secure funding from investors or financial institutes.

A canvas, Lean Canvas , or business plan canvas, is a 1-page business plan. The Lean Canvas template helps you deconstruct your idea and focus on finding customer problems worth solving without a significant time investment. 

It is popular as a direct replacement for traditional business plans within startups. The canvas can be used for quick and efficient brainstorming of multiple business models in a few hours or less.

How do I turn a business plan into a pitch deck?

Once you’ve done the groundwork of creating a business plan, you can reuse some of the insights, data, and information for a pitch deck. 

  • First, extract the core details from the business plan, such as the problem you solve, the solution, the size of the market, team strengths, and financials.
  • Translate that information into your chosen pitch deck template (for example, the 10-slide pitch deck ) or use an AI presentation generator tool such as SlidesAI to structure your slides. 
  • Add and emphasize visuals. Replace some text with charts, diagrams, and graphs whenever applicable.
  • Edit and keep the pitch deck focused and clear. Quality over quantity!
  • Get feedback, practice your pitch, and then iterate on the deck until you are ready to show it to investors.

💡 Related article: 5 best free AI pitch deck generators 2024

Is a pitch deck only for investors?

No, while the primary purpose of a pitch deck is to attract funding, it can be adapted for various audiences and goals, such as partnerships, customers (especially enterprise customers), grant applications, startup or pitch competitions, or even for internal alignment within your team.

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The Entrepreneur's Arsenal: Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan

Learn the differences between a business plan and a pitch deck and when to use each one. Discover the pros and cons of both and how to create a winning pitch deck or compelling business plan.

November 20, 2023

Pitch deck vs. business plan: which one do you need for your business, and when? As a businessman or entrepreneur, do you sometimes wonder why your potential investors aren't responding after you've sent them a long and detailed business plan or a catchy pitch deck? This could be due to the minimal information provided in the pitch deck or the lengthy, boring, and irrelevant details in the business plan that repelled them from reaching back to you. However, you should also know how to send pitch decks to investors. Therefore, it's crucial for an entrepreneur to understand which approach is best for their venture. Before seeking out investors, one should be very well aware of the difference between a pitch deck and a business plan. Luckily, we have all the information you need. Check out our resource on how to send a pitch deck to investors.

Pitch Deck vs Business Plan

What are pitch decks and business plans, and how do you write them? Let’s find out.

A business plan identifies, describes, and analyzes a business opportunity and/or an existing business. It focuses on the technical, financial, and economic viability of the idea, and explains in detail the plans your company has for the next 1, 3, and 5 years. This document is used as a reference point by potential investors when deciding whether or not to invest in your company. Furthermore, it's frequently used in a due diligence step in the funding process. A pitch deck, on the other hand, is a much more summarized version of a business plan that aims to excite investors about a company, to set up a second meeting and the possibility of an investment discussion. It is a pitch presentation used by business owners or entrepreneurs to give potential investors, like venture capitalists or angel investors, a concise but informative overview of their startup or company. Investors can use it to see where your business stands and where it is going, and decide whether they want to support it in getting there. It is purposefully sent to potential investors in order to set up a face-to-face meeting or used as a visual aid during a live presentation to potential investors.

Included Information

A business plan contains the research you have conducted on your industry and competitors as well as your company's operational, marketing, and sales strategies. It also includes financial analysis, growth, success projections, and a road map of where your business will be in the future and how it will get there. These nine sections are combined in a traditional business plan design in one way or another:

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Market research
  • Operational plan and management
  • Service or line of goods
  • Sales and marketing
  • Money request
  • Financial estimates

If you want a professional business plan, it is highly recommended to use a business plan consultant. On the other hand, a pitch deck usually covers the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • Target market
  • Marketing and sales strategy
  • Pitch Deck Competition Slide
  • Funding request
  • Financial Strength

You can find all the details in our Pitch Deck Outline article. Another element of information that should be included in a pitch deck is how much money the company intends to raise, for what amount of equity, and how the money will be spent. Therefore, it must contain expected financials and a pre-money company valuation. You can also include a timeline of significant events in the company's history, which will help convince investors to approve the funding.

Infographic: Pitch Deck Vs Business Plan: What’s The Difference?

The business plan is a lengthy, in-depth document that typically has 10–100 pages and is created in Word. It is primarily text-based. On the other hand, the pitch deck's length ranges between 10 and 20 pages and is produced using PowerPoint with the intention of using visual aids such as pictures, graphs, tables to convey as much of the critical information as quickly as possible.

Situations Where a Business Plan Is Needed

  • Obtaining Debt Financing from Conventional Banks: If you want to obtain any type of loan from a bank, you will need to submit a business plan, as they still review them.
  • Company Having Multiple Co-Founders and Co-Owners: A business plan is quite helpful in managing a bigger board of seniors in the company. It ensures that everyone sticks to the company's core values and carries out the intended plans to achieve long-term goals. This should be a dynamic document that is continually updated as circumstances warrant.
  • Fundraising over $500K: If you are raising a large amount of cash, you better have a strategy in place for how you are going to use it. Be ready for due diligence from investors.

For an in-depth guide on startup business models , click here.

Infographic: Situations Where a Business Plan Is Needed

Situations Where a Pitch Deck is Needed

  • Meeting or Starting a Conversation with an Investor: A pitch deck is a conversation starter that encourages investors to get in touch with you. You can email a PDF file or send a printed copy to start building a relationship with investors.
  • Pitching in a Competition: The startup community organizes many pitch competitions and events that provide business founders the opportunity to practice pitching their business and gain exposure. In these competitions, a pitch deck is a must-have document that effectively communicates the startup plan.
  • Seeking Equity Funding: If you are seeking funding from venture capitalists, angel investors, or knowledgeable friends and family, you need a clear pitch deck.

What to Write First - Business Plan vs Pitch Deck?

At the initial phase of a business, a fundamental document called a business plan is written. This plan is updated as the business develops and as needs and goals change over time. The lengthy document can serve a variety of purposes, including internal use within the company or in banks that still require business plans for loan applications today. Additionally, the business plan document can be very useful in creating a compelling pitch deck. In the eyes of professionals, the pitch deck is considered a child of the business plan. Having a prepared business plan makes it much easier to get depth and length in your plans, which eventually results in more clarity and strong points that you could include in a pitch deck. Research is already completed when writing a business plan, which allows the pitch deck to focus on composing the already-existing information in such a manner that encourages the investor to approve the funding you need.

The Pros and Cons of a Business Plan vs. a Pitch Deck

Both business plans and pitch decks have their advantages and disadvantages. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of each.

Business Plan Pros

  • Comprehensive: A business plan is a comprehensive document that covers all aspects of your business, from your market research to your financial projections. It may be helpful to seek assistance from a financial modelling agency when creating your financial projections.. It provides potential investors with a detailed understanding of your business and its potential for success.
  • Strategic: A business plan helps you to think strategically about your business. By analyzing your industry, your competitors, and your own strengths and weaknesses, you can create a plan that maximizes your chances of success.
  • Useful for fundraising: A well-written business plan can be an effective tool for raising funds from investors. It provides potential investors with the information they need to make an informed decision about whether to invest in your business.

Business Plan Cons

  • Time-consuming: Writing a comprehensive business plan can be a time-consuming process. It requires a significant amount of research, analysis, and writing.
  • Outdated quickly: Business plans can quickly become outdated as your business evolves and circumstances change. This means that you may need to update your business plan regularly to ensure that it remains relevant.
  • May not be read: Some investors may not have the time or patience to read a lengthy business plan. This means that your hard work may go to waste if your plan is not read by the right people.

Infographic: The Pros and Cons of a Business Plan vs. a Pitch Deck - 1

Pitch Deck Pros

  • Concise: A pitch deck is a concise document that provides potential investors with a quick overview of your business. It is designed to be easy to read and understand, which makes it more likely that it will be read by potential investors.
  • Engaging: A well-designed pitch deck can be an engaging and memorable way to present your business to potential investors. It can help you to stand out from the competition and make a strong impression.
  • Can lead to meetings: A pitch deck is often used to secure meetings with potential investors. If your pitch deck is well-received, it can lead to a face-to-face meeting where you can provide more detailed information about your business.

Pitch Deck Cons

  • Limited information: A pitch deck provides only a limited amount of information about your business. This means that potential investors may not have a complete understanding of your business and its potential.
  • Not suitable for all businesses: A pitch deck is not suitable for all businesses. If your business is complex or requires a significant amount of explanation, a pitch deck may not be sufficient.
  • Not as useful for fundraising: While a pitch deck can be used to secure meetings with potential investors, it may not be as effective as a business plan for actually raising funds.

Infographic: The Pros and Cons of a Business Plan vs. a Pitch Deck - 2

Ultimately, the decision to use a business plan or a pitch deck will depend on the specific needs of your business and the goals you hope to achieve. It's important to understand the pros and cons of each and use them appropriately to effectively communicate your ideas to potential investors.

How to Create a Winning Pitch Deck

Creating a pitch deck that stands out can be a challenging task, but it's essential if you want to attract investors to your business. Here are some tips to help you create a winning pitch deck:

1. Start with a Strong Introduction

Your introduction slide should grab investors' attention and make them want to learn more about your company. Use a catchy tagline, a powerful image, or a compelling statistic to draw them in.

2. Focus on the Problem You're Solving

Your pitch deck should explain the problem you're solving and why it matters. Use real-world examples and statistics to illustrate the problem and show why it's important.

3. Explain Your Solution

After you've described the problem, explain how your product or service solves it. Be clear and concise, and focus on the benefits of your solution.

4. Show Traction

Investors want to see that your company is gaining traction and making progress. Include data on customer acquisition, revenue, and growth to show that your business is on the right track.

5. Describe Your Marketing and Sales Strategy

Your pitch deck should explain how you plan to market and sell your product or service, including specifics on your target market, your marketing channels, your sales process, and any startup market research services you may use to gain insights into your target audience and industry.

6. Highlight Your Competitive Advantage

Investors want to know what sets your business apart from the competition. Explain your competitive advantage and show how it gives you an edge in the market.

7. Be Realistic About Financial Projections

Your pitch deck should include financial projections, but they should be realistic. Don't exaggerate your projections or make unrealistic promises. Instead, focus on achievable goals and realistic timelines.

8. Keep It Simple and Visual

Your pitch deck should be simple and easy to follow. Use visuals, such as graphs, charts, and images, to convey your message and make your presentation more engaging.

9. Practice, Practice, Practice

Finally, practice your pitch deck until you're comfortable delivering it. Practice in front of friends, family, or colleagues, and ask for feedback. Refine your presentation until it's polished and persuasive.

By following these tips, you can create a winning pitch deck that will help you attract investors and grow your business. Remember to start with a strong introduction, focus on the problem you're solving, explain your solution, show traction, describe your marketing and sales strategy, highlight your competitive advantage, be realistic about financial projections, keep it simple and visual, and practice, practice, practice.

Infographic: How to Create a Winning Pitch Deck

Tips for Writing a Compelling Business Plan

Writing a business plan can be a daunting task, but it's an essential step in securing funding for your business. Here are some tips to help you write a compelling business plan:

1. Know Your Audience

Before you start writing your business plan, it's essential to know your audience. Who will be reading your plan? What are their goals and objectives? What information do they need to make a decision? By understanding your audience, you can tailor your plan to their needs and increase your chances of success.

2. Keep It Concise

While a business plan is a detailed document, it's essential to keep it concise. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that your audience may not understand. Instead, use short sentences and simple language to convey your message. Use bullet points and headings to break up the text and make it easier to read.

3. Focus on Your Unique Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition is what sets your business apart from the competition. It's essential to focus on this in your business plan. Explain why your product or service is better than what's already available in the market. Show how you plan to differentiate yourself and capture market share.

4. Be Realistic

When writing your business plan, it's essential to be realistic. Don't exaggerate your projections or make unrealistic promises. Instead, focus on achievable goals and realistic timelines. Provide evidence to back up your claims and show that you've done your research.

5. Include Financial Projections

Financial projections are a crucial part of any business plan. They show how you plan to make money and when you expect to become profitable. Include projected income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Be sure to explain your assumptions and include a sensitivity analysis to show how your projections could change under different scenarios.

6. Get Feedback

Before submitting your business plan, get feedback from others. Ask friends, family, or colleagues to review your plan and provide feedback. Consider working with a business coach or mentor who can provide guidance and support.

By following these tips, you can write a compelling business plan that will help you secure funding and grow your business. Remember to tailor your plan to your audience, keep it concise, focus on your unique value proposition, be realistic, include financial projections, and get feedback.

Infographic: Tips for Writing a Compelling Business Plan

Key Components of a Business Plan and a Pitch Deck

A business plan and pitch deck have different components that are essential to the success of your company. Here are the key components of each:

Business Plan

  • Executive Summary: This section provides an overview of your entire business plan. It should be concise and highlight key points about your company, such as the problem you're solving, your target market, and your competitive advantage.
  • Business Description: This section describes your company in more detail, including your mission, vision, and values. It also includes information about your team, your product or service, your target market, and your business model.
  • Market Analysis: This section analyzes your industry and your competitors. It includes information about your target market, your competition, your marketing strategy, and your sales strategy.
  • Operational Plan and Management: This section explains how your company will operate on a day-to-day basis. It includes information about your organizational structure, your management team, and your operational processes.
  • Service or Line of Goods: This section describes your product or service in detail. It includes information about the features and benefits of your product or service, as well as any intellectual property you've developed.
  • Sales and Marketing: This section explains how you plan to sell your product or service. It includes information about your sales strategy, your marketing strategy, and your pricing strategy.
  • Money Request: This section explains how much money you're raising and how you plan to use it. It includes information about your funding needs, your use of funds, and your financial projections.
  • Financial Estimates: This section includes your financial statements, such as your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. It also includes any other financial information that investors may need to make a decision.

Infographic: Key Components of a Business Plan and a Pitch Deck - 1

  • Introduction: This slide includes your company name, logo, and tagline. It's the first thing investors will see, so it should be attention-grabbing.
  • Problem: This slide explains the problem your company is solving. It should be concise and clearly explain why your product or service is needed in the market.
  • Target Market: This slide describes your target market. It should include information about your ideal customer, such as their demographics, psychographics, and buying behavior.
  • Solution: This slide explains how your product or service solves the problem you identified earlier. It should be concise and clearly explain the benefits of your product or service.
  • Traction: This slide describes any traction your company has gained so far. It should include information about your customer acquisition, revenue, and growth.
  • Marketing and Sales Strategy: This slide explains how you plan to market and sell your product or service. It should include information about your marketing channels, your sales process, and your pricing strategy.
  • Competition: This slide describes your competition. It should include information about your competitors' strengths and weaknesses, as well as how your product or service is different.
  • Funding Request: This slide explains how much money you're raising and how you plan to use it. It should be concise and clearly explain why you need the money.
  • Financial Strength: This slide includes your financial projections. It should include your revenue, expenses, and profit margins.
  • Team: This slide describes your team. It should include information about your management team, your advisors, and any other key team members.

Infographic: Key Components of a Business Plan and a Pitch Deck - 2

Keep in mind that these are just the basic components of a business plan and pitch deck. Depending on your industry and your company's unique needs, you may need to include additional information.

Both a pitch deck and a business plan are essential tools for entrepreneurs seeking funding for their ventures. While a business plan provides a comprehensive overview of a company's operations and financial projections, a pitch deck is a more concise and visually appealing document that seeks to excite potential investors about a company's potential. Understanding the differences and appropriate use cases for each document can greatly increase an entrepreneur's chances of securing funding and growing their business. By following the tips outlined in this article, entrepreneurs can create compelling pitch decks and business plans that effectively communicate their vision and attract potential investors.

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Key Takeaways

A business plan analyzes a business opportunity and/or an existing business, while a pitch deck aims to excite investors about a company and set up a meeting for an investment discussion.

A business plan is a lengthy, text-based document, while a pitch deck is a concise document that uses visuals to convey critical information as quickly as possible.

A business plan is helpful for obtaining debt financing from conventional banks, managing a bigger board of seniors in the company, and fundraising over $500k, while a pitch deck is useful for starting a conversation with an investor, pitching in a competition, and seeking equity funding.

A business plan is comprehensive and strategic, while a pitch deck is concise and engaging.

Both business plans and pitch decks have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to understand the pros and cons of each and use them appropriately to communicate your ideas effectively.

investor deck vs business plan

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Startup Business Plan vs. Pitch Deck: Which One Should You Prepare?

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  • February 17, 2022
  • Fundraising

startup business plan

When it comes to raising capital, investors expect to receive very specific documents from founders to present the investment opportunity. And this for a good reason: VCs are said to spend less than 4 minutes in average per pitch deck . Preparing the right document is vital for investors to even dare looking at it.

You might have heard of business plan and pitch decks when raising capital for your startup. So, what’s the difference between the two? Which one should you prepare, and for whom?

In this article we explain you which one you should prepare if you plan to raise capital from investors. Read on.

What is a Pitch Deck?

An example of a pitch deck

A pitch deck is a presentation that summarises a company’s business plan. Often prepared using PowerPoint or Keynote, a pitch deck usually has 15 to 20 slides. It can either be used as a visual support for in-person meetings or sent as a standalone document to potential investors.

A pitch deck is not only short, it also follows a clear structure investors are used to. Read Guy Kawasaki’ and YC’s guides below to know which slides you should include in your pitch deck:

  • The Only 10 Slides You Need in Your Pitch
  • How to Build Your Seed Round Pitch Deck

The goal of a pitch deck is to get investors’ attention and obtain funding. With a pitch deck, you summarise, in a few slides, where your business is today and where you are going.

Because pitch decks are trying to catch investors’ attention who often have never heard of the business itself, the presentation uses a lot of charts, pictures and limited text. Text should be limited to bullet points to make text as easy as possible to read.

It’s actually good practice to prepare 2 pitch decks: one for in-person meetings and another that can be sent as a standalone presentation. Indeed, when pitching investors (either via video or face-to-face) you should be the centre of attention. Whilst key information should be on the slide, most information should be voiced over instead. Else, investors would simply read your presentation.

If you are preparing a pitch deck for your startup, read our detailed guides and craft the best presentation.

investor deck vs business plan

Expert-built financial model templates for tech startups

What is a Business Plan?

An example of a business plan

A business plan is a long document that contains a detailed description of your business and business plan. Unlike a pitch deck, a business plan is prepared as a word document and often includes 30 up to 100 pages.

A business plan only is a standalone document: unlike a pitch deck, it should never be used as a visual support when presenting to investors.

Whilst a business plan includes charts, tables and images whenever relevant, most of the information is in plain text. Bullet points can be used, yet longer paragraphs are more common.

So, is a business plan a longer, more detailed version of a pitch deck?

Well, yes and no. Yes, because all the information included in a pitch deck should be in your business plan. No, because the business plan includes information that shouldn’t necessarily be included in your pitch deck. A few examples of pieces of information that aren’t required in your pitch deck yet a must in your business plan are:

  • Employees and team structure
  • Detailed tech stack
  • Detail of suppliers

Of course, if you have prepared the information, you could include it in your pitch deck as an appendix. But remember, nothing too wordy either: sometimes less is better.

Which one should you prepare?

Whether you should prepare a pitch deck or business depends on your objective, and the type of investor you are targeting.

Pitch deck vs. business plans for startups

As a general rule, you should prepare a pitch deck if you are raising equity from venture capital firms, angel investors and crowdfunding platforms . These investors prefer (even require) pitch decks as they expect you to be able to sum up your investment opportunity in a concise, yet attractive 15-20 slides presentation. Indeed, VCs, angels and crowdfunding investors all have hundreds, if not thousands of investment opportunities to look at. Clarity and conciseness are key.

Government-funded grant applications often require a business plan instead . If you aren’t sure, read carefully their requirements as not submitting the right document might simply result in the failure of your application, without really knowing why.

Banks and other standard debt investors will also very likely ask for a detailed business plan . The simple reason is that debt investors accept a lower level of risk, unlike equity investors. Debt investors do not benefit from any upside (the startup valuation) but instead make money on the repayment of the debt and the associated interests. For downside protection they are simply requiring more documentation.

What if there is no clear requirements?

Prepare a pitch deck if there are no clear specific requirements . For instance, if the crowdfunding platform or angel investors website doesn’t list clearly which document(s) you should upload. Or if you have an email address to send your documents to without any requirements.

Why should you choose a pitch deck over a business plan when in doubt? For 2 main reasons:The person receiving your document for the first time will likely not spend 4 hours of their time to read through a 50 pages business plan. Instead, a 15 slides presentation can be read very easily (and quickly). The message you are trying to pass on is clear end-to-end. From what your business is, to your future strategy and the funding ask, investors get it under a few minutes

Preparing a 15 slides pitch deck takes much less time than a 50-100 pages business plan. Running a startup is already quite hard, focus your time on what’s best for your business. If you don’t need a business plan but a pitch deck instead, save some time. Less in better in some cases

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investor deck vs business plan

Pitch Decks vs Investor Decks: Is There a Difference?

July 7, 2020 / Blog investor deck, pitch deck

investor deck vs business plan

Every successful startup begins with an idea. The only way to get that idea off the ground is to have a killer pitch behind it. Depending on who you’re pitching to, there are two types of decks that need to be considered: “Pitch Decks” and “Investor Decks.”  

Let’s  break down the key slides  they both have in common: 

  • Introductions  
  • Mission and Vision 
  • Market Opportunity  
  • Value Propositions 
  • Business Plans  

While they share many similarities, there’s more going on below the surface. Thinking that pitch decks and investor decks are the same is a common misconception, leading to failed presentations. There are  fine lines  between pitch decks and investor decks that need to be realized to fully maximize their impact.

investor deck vs business plan

Knowing Your  Audience  

The key difference between the two is that they are each created for specific audiences.  

Investor decks are for the business and financial decision-makers of companies. With that in mind, one can assume that the audience of an investor deck bears a significant amount of knowledge about starting and running a business.  

Pitch decks, on the other hand, are for general audiences. Because their backgrounds and knowledge are more varied, pitch decks need to be broader and more accessible with their messaging.  

Understanding your audience is the first step to delivering more effective messages. 

Ask yourself: What does your audience want to hear? How does your business/product add value to their lives? In what ways do you meet their demands?

The answers to these questions will greatly vary depending on who you are talking to.  

Express  Value  Differently    

The clearer the idea you have about your audience, the more you can tailor your content and messaging to better fit their expectations. The perceived value of your presentation fully depends on what your audience is looking for.  

Investors will want to a clear scope of your financial projections as well as business plans for the months after your launch.

Presenting that same kind of technical information may not be as effective within the context of a pitch deck. Whereas investors are concerned about a business’ profitability in a measurable sense, general audiences are more concerned about how a product or service can greatly benefit their daily life and the lives of others.  

These skews in proposing value vary greatly across the various aspects of your presentation. Even in how you differentiate yourself against competitors, it all should fall within the same criteria that most concerns your target audience.

investor deck vs business plan

Tell Your Story    

Every great pitch needs a narrative. Structuring your presentation with a narrative greatly increases the impact it makes on your audience.  

Consider the 3-act narrative structure. Act 1 is your setup. Your opening slides should create context for what you’re about to pitch. “What problems need to be solved?” “What things can be done better to improve lives?” Proposing questions like these create a natural segue into the next act of your story.   

Act 2 is “confrontation.” This refers to your business’ action in solving the problems proposed in Act 1. This is where you go into the finer details of what you have to offer. 

Act 3 is the resolution. This ties the information together summarizing the points that make your products or services so special. 

This simple structure guides the attention and interests of your audience regardless of their background or knowledge. It taps into every human’s innate interest in listening to stories reach their conclusions.  

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As a start-up design company since 2012, we know the value of a well-made PowerPoint presentation. Through our hard work in presentation design, we’ve helped  our clients  in growing their business in big ways.

From our artists, writers, web developers, animators, and project managers, we all come together with a shared passion for being an invaluable spark towards business growth. The thousands of slides and presentations we’ve created have all been part of our pursuit of being better designers and storytellers. 

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  • Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan: The Differences and Uses of Each

A pitch deck is a ppt presentation that summarizes a business. It is a presentation or a deck of slides that one brings to potential investors and clients. The pitch deck includes a summary of the key terms in the business plan and includes details about what one intends doing with the funds from the investors. The presentation is either sent to investors to get them interested in taking a meeting with the entrepreneur or used as a visual aid during a live presentation to investors. A pitch deck is meant to share information about a business, who it serves and why, the size of the market, the uniqueness of the idea, etc. It often gives out market strategies and gives some detail on future plans.

It relies on the research of the parent industry and understanding of the business’ plan for growth. It helps an investor to see where the business is, where the business is going and enables them to decide if they want to help the business get there. The goal of a pitch deck is to score an investment.

A business plan is a detailed description of a business. A business plan is a well researched 10-100-page document. It usually has two functions: It is used as a blueprint and it acts as a reference document for the future. A business plan is not sent too often.  It is needed for one’s clarity and incase if the investor asks. Simply, a business plan is the document that includes all of the data about a business, including the business model, financial details, and all other details about distribution channels, operations, technical details, etc. The document is used to store and convey in detail business’ plans for the coming years. The business plan lays out the research done in the parent industry and competitors. It examines sales, marketing, and operational plans. The document usually includes a significant number of charts, depictions, and pictures, but relies heavily on text to convey the information. The business plan is used as a document that is shared with potential investors for them to use as a reference point when deciding whether or not to invest in a company. It is often used in a ‘meticulous’ step in the funding process. The goal of a business plan is to lead a business to success over the next few years and to show an investor how one plans to be successful with their investment.

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How do business plans differ from pitch decks?

pitch deck financials slide being presented in a business meeting

If you are a new entrepreneur you might get confused with some of the business terminology and have trouble understanding what type of document an investor or other stakeholders may require from you.

Differentiating between business plans and pitch decks in particular is a well known struggle. Whilst they may feel like similar documents that can help you raise capital, a pitch deck varies significantly from a business plan in the way it is created, structured, and used. 

Luckily for you, this guide covers what each of the documents are, how they differ, how they are used and what tools businesses can use to create them.

In this guide:

What is a business plan?

What is a pitch deck, business plan vs. pitch deck: what do they have in common, business plan vs. pitch deck: what are the differences, what tools can you use to write a business plan, what tools can you use to create a pitch deck.

A business plan is a document providing detailed information about your business and its objectives for the years to come (usually 3-5 years).

To keep it short and simple, a business plan consists of two parts: 

  • A financial forecast which provides information about the expected growth and profitability of your business, your potential funding requirements, and cash flow projections.
  • A written part which provides the context and details needed to assess the relevance of the forecast: company overview, description of products and services, market analysis, strategy, operations, etc.

Formal business plans are usually written: to secure financing, to get buy-in from stakeholders (board members, investors, business partners) on the plan of action for the coming years, to convince suppliers to do business with the company, or to communicate the company's vision to staff members.

Financial savvy businesses regularly track their actual financial performance against the forecast included in their business plan and re-assess their progress against what was planned, and update their plans as needed.

Need a convincing business plan?

The Business Plan Shop makes it easy to create a financial forecast to assess the potential profitability of your projects, and write a business plan that’ll wow investors.

The Business Plan Shop's Business Plan Software

Strictly speaking, a pitch deck is just a generic term to design a document format: a pitch deck consists of slides and can refer to any type of presentation given to stakeholders.

For example, you can use pitch decks to:

  • Pitch an investment opportunity to an investor: example pitch deck from Buffer
  • Pitch a product to a prospective buyer: example sales pitch deck for Office 365
  • Pitch an agency's capabilities: example agency pitch deck from ANL Creative
  • Pitch new business ideas internally

Pitch decks are used everywhere, for the rest of this guide however, we will focus specifically on pitch decks designed to help secure new funding from investors.

Business plans and pitch deck share similarities between them, let's have a look at some of them.

Help secure funding for business

Both documents are used when trying to secure funding from investors for a business.

Typically, a pitch deck summarizes key information from the business plan and is used to pitch the highlights to investors before sending them your fully fledged business plan.

Visual elements

While a pitch deck may rely more on visuals, considering it is designed to be a presentation, both items use visual elements. 

A business plan, just like a pitch deck, may contain graphs, charts, and pictures to illustrate information, especially in the market analysis section.

Financial information

Since both are intended to provide information to stakeholders regarding the business, both a pitch deck and a business plan will likely contain projected financial information. 

Since a pitch deck is more of an introductory pitch, it is likely to not go into as much detail as a business plan does.  

Strategy and decision-making

Because both introduce potential investors to the business, a pitch deck and a business plan discuss business strategy. 

They typically reflect how a business plans to operate and generate income, showing investors why it makes for a worthwhile investment.

As a result, both are used as decision-making tools regarding investing in the business. 

While they boast some similarities, pitch decks and business plans vary significantly in many ways. Some of these differences include:

Means of delivery

The way a pitch deck is presented is very different from a business plan - Being a visual presentation, it contains a series of slides with information about the business. 

Pitch decks are not standalone items and are accompanied by a senior manager or partner providing commentary. The contents of the slides also typically do not go into much detail, simply highlighting key messages instead. 

While the aim of the pitch deck is to draw investors to the business idea, the business plan provides more in-depth information to help them make a final decision about whether to invest or not. 

Business plans carefully detail the business, its strategies, future goals and are written as formal documents that can be read and understood on their own. 

Given the different modes of delivery, the format of both documents also differ. As mentioned previously, pitch decks use slides to convey information to the reader, and each slide is likely to hold limited information written in large(r) font. 

Pitch decks are also likely to contain far more graphical elements such as charts, images, drawings and graphs. Business plans are often not as visually appealing but richer in substance and more formal.

The length of the two documents can vary but as a general rule, business plans tend to be longer than pitch decks. 

A pitch deck will typically consist of about 10 to 15 slides (one slide usually takes 1-2 minutes to be presented), though further appendices may be added to answer specific investor questions. 

A business plan usually spans between 20 and 30 pages and contains a lot more information, whilst also including appendices at the end of the document.

Amount of financial information

Both business plans and pitch decks contain financial information but the quantity and type usually differ.

Pitch decks usually have no more than one slide dedicated to financials and prefer to zoom in on key figures.

Business plans, however, include a detailed balance sheet, a profit and loss account, and a cash flow forecast. 

Order of creation

In terms of presentation, a pitch deck is offered to investors first as an introduction to the business. 

However, it can only be created once the business plan has already been produced, as the pitch deck summarizes the information presented in the plan.

Frequency of use

A pitch deck is typically created for one-off use. Once the financing round is complete and you’ve met with all the potential investors, you’re unlikely to need the same document again. 

However, you will need to refer to your business plan down the line to ensure that the business is on track to achieve its forecasted financials and goals (and adjust as needed). 

Need inspiration for your business plan?

The Business Plan Shop has dozens of business plan templates that you can use to get a clear idea of what a complete business plan looks like.

The Business Plan Shop's Business Plan Templates

In this section, we will review three solutions for writing a professional business plan:

  • Using Word and Excel
  • Hiring a consultant to write your business plan 
  • Utilizing an online business plan software

Create your business plan using Word or Excel

Writing a business plan using Word or Excel has both pros and cons. On the one hand, using either of these two programs is cheap and easy to learn. 

However, using Word means starting from scratch and formatting the document yourself once written - a process that can be quite tedious. There are also no templates or examples to guide you through each section.

Creating an accurate financial forecast with Excel is also impossible for a business owner without expertise in accounting and financial modeling. As a result, investors and lenders are unlikely to trust the accuracy of a forecast created on Excel.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which program is right for you and whether you have the expertise or resources needed to make Excel work. 

Hire a consultant to write your business plan

Outsourcing a business plan to a consultant or accountant is another potential solution.

Consultants are used to writing business plans, and accountants are good at creating financial forecasts without errors.

This means that they will be able to create an effective business plan with accurate financial estimates without much effort.

However, accountants often lack the industry expertise to accurately forecast sales. And hiring consultants or accountants will be an expensive endeavour: budget at least £1.5k ($2.0k) for a complete business plan, more if you need to make changes after the initial version (which happens frequently after the initial meetings with investors).

For these reasons, outsourcing your business plan to a consultant or accountant should be considered carefully, weighing both the advantages and disadvantages of hiring outside help.

Ultimately, it may be the right decision for some businesses, while others may find it beneficial to write their own business plan using an online software.

entrepreneur brainstorming a section of their business plan

Use an online business plan software for your business plan

Another alternative is to use online business plan software . There are several advantages to using specialized software:

  • You are guided through the writing process by detailed instructions and examples for each part of the plan
  • You can be inspired by already written business plan templates
  • You can easily make your financial forecast by letting the software take care of the financial calculations for you without errors
  • You get a professional document, formatted and ready to be sent to your bank
  • The software will enable you to easily track your actual financial performance against your forecast and update your forecast as time goes by

If you're interested in using this type of solution, you can try our software for free by signing up here .

A pitch deck is presented as a series of slides and so applications such as Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides and Prezi are ideal to create the presentation.

Pitch decks are notoriously time consuming and tedious to produce: designing and correctly alligning elements in order to make the slides "look good" is a real time sink - especially for entrepreneurs who aren't expert at PowerPoint.

Therefore, the polishing of pitch decks is often outsourced to graphic designers or freelancers that specialize in creating presentations in order to save time and get a document that looks professional.

We hope that this guide helped you get a better understanding of the differences between pitch decks vs. business plans. don't hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions left unanswered.

Also on The Business Plan Shop

  • Business plan steps: everything you need to know
  • Business plan vs business case: what's the difference?

Know someone in need of a little guidance in making a business plan? Share this article and help them out!

Guillaume Le Brouster

Founder & CEO at The Business Plan Shop Ltd

Guillaume Le Brouster is a seasoned entrepreneur and financier.

Guillaume has been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and has first-hand experience of starting, running, and growing a successful business.

Prior to being a business owner, Guillaume worked in investment banking and private equity, where he spent most of his time creating complex financial forecasts, writing business plans, and analysing financial statements to make financing and investment decisions.

Guillaume holds a Master's Degree in Finance from ESCP Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business & Management from Paris Dauphine University.

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pitch deck vs business plan

Pitch deck vs business plan – Which do you need for your business?

What is a pitch deck.

A pitch deck is a presentation that entrepreneurs use to sell their business idea to potential investors. The purpose of a pitch deck is to give an overview of the business, its products or services, its market opportunity, and its team in order to persuade the audience to invest in the company.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and financial projections of a business. It is used to persuade potential investors to invest in the company.

Pitch deck vs Business plan

Pitch decks and business plans are different in their purpose, content, and format.

Pitch decks are typically shorter and more visual than business plans. They are used to give an overview of the business and its opportunity, and to persuade the audience to invest in the company. Business plans are longer and more detailed. They are used to outline the goals, strategies, and financial projections of the business.

Whether you need a pitch deck vs a business plan will depend a lot on the type of business you are running or planning to set up.

Both these documents help entrepreneurs navigate their businesses over the next few years. And both these documents help investors in deciding whether to fund the business or not. However, where business plans are essential for traditional businesses that have a more concrete pathway to success, startups don’t require business plans. A pitch deck is more appropriate for a startup as a lot will change in the course of business.

In this post, we will discuss the differences between pitch deck and business plan and help you determine which one is necessary for your business.

The purpose of a pitch deck is to raise money from venture capitalists and angel investors. The purpose of a business plan is for traditional businesses or late-stage companies to raise money from investors and banks and also to forge partnerships with other organizations.

A pitch deck is a summary to help investors get a decent understanding of the business and helps create opportunities for entrepreneurs to get meetings with venture capital firms and angel investors. Business plans on the other hand serve as full-proof research to help investors understand whether they should invest.

As mentioned previously, pitch decks are more apt for tech startup companies whereas business plans are prominently used by established businesses, small or big.

If I am an angel investor or a venture capitalist investing at a seed stage (up to $1 million), I am more interested in the team and the idea and how the business could disrupt a whole industry or create a new one. When the company has grown from an idea to a company with employees and millions of dollars in revenue, I am more interested in seeing how they will reach stability and become the number 1 or 2 player in the market, and I am interested in detailed strategies. That is when I want to look at the business plan and understand how they will execute their plans.

Pitch decks can range between 10-50 pages and depend on the stage of the startup. For example, investors who invest in very early-stage startups require not more than a 10-page pitch deck. However, as the startup grows and raises more money, investors who come in at a later stage would want more information and might require a detailed pitch deck that can range up to 70 pages.

Business plans on the other hand are very detailed as cover every aspect of the business and can easily be 100 pages long. A business plan can even contain forecasts for the next 5 years.

A typical investor will spend 2-3 minutes going through a pitch deck but needs to spend more time going through a business plan as there are more details.

Audience Focus

A pitch deck focuses on the team, product, market, and traction metrics. These are 4 primary features investors look at to decide whether to invest or not. And these features can easily fit into a 10-page deck.

When the relevant audience looks at a business plan, they want to know if the business they are getting into is/can be profitable and also runs stable operations. In other words, since business plans look at a much longer-term, it includes a lot of details.

Presentation

Pitch decks are more visual compared to business plans and are presented vocally to an audience or a set of investors. Business plans are presented verbally as they are read by the relevant audience. Since business plans are longer, they are not presented to an audience.

Pitch decks are usually created with software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Google slides. There is also other software like Prezi and Slidebean which specifically help in preparing pitch decks.

Business plans are usually prepared in Word format as they are heavily text-based.

These are the key differences between startup pitch decks vs business plans.

Pitch deck vs business plan, w hat comes first?

The pitch deck is a teaser and comes first. If you are running a business and have decided to raise funds from investors, it’s obvious that you probably don’t know most of them. So, a pitch deck is a great way to get your foot on the door and make a good first impression.

With many new entrepreneurs starting up, you can imagine that every investor gets plenty of pitch decks and business proposals to invest in. Probably hundreds, every month. So, if they have to read lengthy business plans, they won’t have time to actually make investments. That’s why it’s essential to capture their attention with a crisp 10-15 page pitch deck that introduces them to the team, the idea, and how the business can make investors rich.

Do you have all the elements of a good pitch deck?

A good pitch deck gives you the opportunity to grab the attention of investors. A good pitch deck contains most of the necessary information required for investors to make a decision on whether they should talk to you. Take the free assessment to find out if you have all the elements that should be included in your pitch deck .

Also, check out our post on how to create a good elevator pitch to get investors interested in what you’re building.

Tips for creating a good pitch deck

Here are a few tips for creating a successful pitch deck:

– Keep it short and sweet: Remember that you only have a few minutes to make your case, so make sure your deck is concise and to the point.

– Focus on the key points: Investors will want to know about your team, your business model, your traction, and your financial projections. Make sure you hit on all of these points in your deck.

– Use visuals: A pitch deck is a great opportunity to show off your company with some visuals. Include slides with graphs and charts to illustrate your key points.

– Practice, practice, practice: Before you ever step in front of investors, make sure you’ve practiced your pitch a few times. This will help you deliver it confidently and ensure that you don’t leave anything out.

Decision making assessments for startups

Do you need a pitch deck and a business plan?

This is a common question for entrepreneurs. The simple answer is that it depends on your stage of business and what you’re using the documents for.

A pitch deck is a shorter, more visual version of a business plan that you use to introduce your company to potential investors, customers, or partners. A business plan, on the other hand, is a more formal document that you use to map out the details of your business, including your business model, marketing plan, financial projections, and other operational details.

So which one do you need? If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to focus on creating a solid business plan. Once you’ve got that in place, you can use it as the foundation for your pitch deck. If you’re further along in your business and are looking to raise money or secure partnerships, then you’ll need to create a pitch deck.

Creating a pitch deck is a good way to concisely communicate your business plan and get feedback from potential investors, customers, or partners. If you’re raising money, your pitch deck will be one of the first things investors look at, so it’s important to make a good impression.

Pitch deck vs business plan

Partha Chakraborty

Partha Chakraborty is a venture capitalist turned entrepreneur with 17 years of experience. He has worked across India, China & Singapore. He is the founder of Tactyqal.com, a startup that guides other startup founders to find success. He loves to brainstorm new business ideas, and talk about growth hacking, and venture capital. In his spare time, he mentors young entrepreneurs to build successful startups.

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Pitch Skills

Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan – 3 Differences You Should Know About

by admin | Jul 27, 2017 | Pitch

Business Plan Vs Pitch Deck

Pitch deck vs. business plan

Before we start the big pitch deck vs. business plan comparison, we need to understand the basic information.

What is a pitch deck?

A pitch deck is a number of slides which summarizes your company. A pitch deck is not something you present, but rather something you send to potential clients or investors. Because of this, you should make sure that the pitch deck includes all the information required, since you can’t add information during a presentation.

What is a business plan?

A business plan is a detailed description of your company. It explains what your company does, how things are going and what your future plans are. A business plan can be as long as anywhere between 10 and 100 pages.

A business plan usually has two functions:

  • You send it to investors, to give them information about your company
  • You can use it later as a reference guide for yourself, to see if you’re still on track

So now you know a little bit about the differences between a pitch deck and a business plan. Does this mean you should only create one of them?

No. For your company you should always have both of them. I’ll explain why.

Why should you create a pitch deck and a business plan?

It’s not always pitch deck vs. business plan. In fact, you should create them both.

Since a pitch deck and a business plan have a very different set up, you should also treat them differently. A pitch deck is used when a potential investor, partner, or client wants to know the basic information about your company. Since it takes a long time to read a business plan, this one is usually sent over only when an investor is seriously contemplating investing in your company.

Because of this a pitch deck is usually the way to go. The ratio ‘sending a pitch deck’ vs. ‘sending a business plan’ will probably be around 10:1. As a rule of thumb, you only should send a business plan when somebody explicitly asks for it.

What is the difference between a pitch deck and a business plan?

When do you send a pitch deck or a business plan.

Pitch deck: As descried, a pitch deck can be sent early in the process. This can be done through cold ‘acquisition’, but preferably from an introduction via a mutual connection.

business plan: As described, a business plan doesn’t get sent too often. You need to have a business plan for yourself as a reference guide, but also for cases when an investor asks for it.

What is more important: a pitch deck or a business plan?

Since you’ll be sending a pitch deck way more often than a business plan, you might say that a pitch deck is more important. However, a pitch deck is usually created after creating your business plan. The business plan is the foundation for your pitch deck, and therefore is equally important.

We can help you with your pitch deck

If you don’t have experience with creating a pitch deck it can be a tough ride to create one. You want it to have a slick design, but even more important, it should communicate the right things. We can help you with this. Drop your information at https://pitchskills.com/pitch-deck/ and we’ll create one for you!

SeedReady

Creating the perfect pitch deck and business plan: Examples and best practices [2022]

  • January 7, 2022

I know you’ve probably been told that a good pitch deck and business plan are essential in the world of startups. It’s true — they are — but there is a LOT of conflicting advice out there on how to create them. (Hint: There isn’t just one right way.) I want to share some ideas based on solid research and real-world experience so you can create something that works for you.

What is a pitch deck?

What is its purpose, do you need a pitch deck and a business plan, who should create the pitch deck, how do you create a pitch deck, what is a financial model, what is a financial forecast, how accurate does a startup financial model need to be, what to include in an early-stage pitch deck, what should i avoid putting into my pitch deck, slide #0 – title, slide #1 – executive summary, slide #2 – trends, slide #3 – problem, slide #4 – solution, slide #5 – business model, slide #6 – market, slide #7 – competition, slide #8 – go to market, slide #9 – traction, slide #10 – team, slide #11 – investment proposal (the ask), keep it simple, stick to a consistent layout, make it easy to read, use a pitch deck template, beautiful.ai, key takeaways.

In this article, I’ll discuss what a pitch deck is, explain its purpose and its importance in the outreach process, give you tips and practices to create your perfect pitch deck, and what to include in it. We’ll also look at an example of a pitch deck template, using slides from startups that have raised hundreds of millions from VCs. We’ll also explore why you must build a financial model alongside your pitch deck.

Before we get started, remember that pitching on stage and building your pitch deck are two very different things. Pitching is a form of art. Anyone can present a business plan or startup idea to another person, but only a few pitches are memorable and truly capture the interest of investors.

Practice makes perfect, and the better you get at pitching, the more likely you are to succeed. So sign up to pitch competitions, put yourself out there, and get feedback. The more you pitch, the better you will become at it. It’s better to make mistakes when it doesn’t matter than pitch unprepared to critical investors and risk disaster.

Now let’s dive into what it takes to build a great pitch deck!

Pitch decks are an essential document for every founder to master, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there, and no one-size-fits-all template.

To help you get started, we’ve pulled together pitch deck examples and best practices for new founders and early-stage startups.

Using this information to guide you, you’ll be able to create a pitch that will wow investors and get you the funding that your business needs.

A pitch deck is a condensed business plan that communicates your business idea to investors or partners. It should be clear, concise, and well-organised so that it promotes a conversation, not just information that needs to be digested. The pitch deck is used as an elevator pitch during your outreach process and should highlight the key aspects of your startup in a way that gets investors excited about working with you.

The pitch deck itself isn’t going to fund or run your startup — it’s just one piece of the puzzle — but it’s an important one. As Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist at Canva, former Chief Evangelist at Apple, and author of The Art of the Start puts it .

The purpose of a pitch is to stimulate interest, not to close a deal.

While the pitch deck is an information-packed overview of your startup, it should be more than just numbers and figures. A winning pitch deck also captures the imagination by telling a story and getting the audience emotionally involved. People don’t buy products, they buy stories — pitch decks help people to see your startup as a compelling narrative instead of just an idea on paper.

A pitch deck helps you generate interest from investors so that they will fund or work with your company in some way. It is a way to quickly pitch your business idea and get feedback, without having to go through the entire business plan. The pitch deck should be used as a tool to start a conversation with potential investors so that you can get their feedback and determine if they are interested in what you’re doing.

For an early-stage startup, the pitch deck and financial model are the business plan. There are too many uncertainties to waste time writing a 100-page business plan. Founders should use tools like the Lean Canvas to help them think through the different aspects of their business, but a pitch deck and financial model are essential when trying to raise money and get investment.

The pitch deck should be created by the founder or co-founder of the company. They are the ones who know the most about their business and can best pitch it to investors. Remember, the pitch deck isn’t what wins you the investment, but it will start the conversation and get people interested in what you’re doing.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question, as the pitch deck needs to be tailored to your specific startup and its investors. However, there are some best practices that you can use to make sure your pitch deck is as compelling as possible.

Financial Model

The pitch deck should always include a financial model, typically as a supporting document, that shows financial projections for the next three to five years. This will help investors understand how you will manage the financial risks associated with your startup.

A financial model is a document that shows how your business will make money and what kind of return investors can expect on their investment. It includes projected revenue, expenses, and profits over a specific period of time.

Investors will expect to see a three to five-year financial forecast, broken down by year and month.

The financial model should also include a section on the startup’s burn rate – how much money the company is spending each month and how long it can continue to do so before running out of funds.

A financial forecast is a projection of future income, expenses, and profits. It typically covers a period of three to five years and breaks down revenue, expenses, and net cash flow by month.

The financial model doesn’t need to be complex, but it should show a realistic understanding of the numbers behind your startup.

It is important to remember that venture capitalists and angel investors do not expect your financial forecasts to be 100% accurate – they simply want to see that you have put thought into your business, that your operational plans are accounted for, and that you understand the basics of financial forecasting.

Pitch Deck Structure

As a founder, you’ll quickly learn that you’ll need more than one pitch deck. Different pitch decks are used for different purposes, and you may end up using a pitch deck that is specific to your target investor, the stage of investment, or the format in which you’ll be pitching.

This means that there is no magic formula for your pitch deck structure. However, there are a few essential slides that should be in every business pitch deck.

  • Title or cover slide
  • Market size and opportunity

These slides will give the pitch deck a good structure and focus on the key elements that you want to talk about. There may be more slides depending on your company, but those are the main ones that should always appear somewhere in every pitch deck.

Early-stage startup pitch decks are used to spark interest in your idea and the founding team. Venture capital firms and angel investors will be comfortable with greater uncertainty and higher risk in this pitch deck, so there is more leeway to experiment with different ideas and concepts. This doesn’t mean that you should just throw in everything without a thought though!

At this early stage, there will be multiple unknowns that you are setting out to solve, including exactly how you’ll build your solution to the problem, how you’ll find your scaleable route to market, and maybe even how you’ll convert users to paying customers.

It’s normal to not have all the answers to these questions, and that’s OK! It doesn’t mean that you should pitch an idea if you don’t know how it will work yet. All of this is just a reality check for potential investors — they need to see that you have a realistic idea of what you need to do and a plan for how you might do it.

It’s a common mistake for first-time founders to try to put too much information into their pitch decks. This can include everything from detailed financial models to a full history of the company’s founding story. While it’s important to have all this information ready, it’s best to save it for when you’re actually speaking with investors.

Your pitch deck should be focused on your idea and the current state of your company. It should be set up in a way that clearly lays out who you are, what problem you’re solving, and how you plan to solve it. You want investors to see the actual value in investing in your startup so avoid including anything that’s not absolutely necessary for them to understand this concept.

– Do not include unnecessary information or graphics

– Keep your pitch deck to a maximum of 20 slides

– Stick to clear and concise language

– Make sure all the data is accurate and up to date

Be cautious about adding in anything that doesn’t support your pitch deck theme or the key points you want to make. If it isn’t relevant, remove it! You don’t have time for extra fluff when pitching investors; be direct and focus on what matters most.

Early-Stage Pitch Deck Example

The following pitch deck template is a good example of how you can tell a story that builds investor confidence in your startup idea. Using this format will set a great first impression and can help you with raising capital.

This is the most important slide in the whole deck, you need to grab the attention of the investor with a title slide that convinces them to keep reading. Your title slide must:

  • Showcase your logo and brand name.
  • In one phrase, state your value proposition.
  • Engage the reader by promising them an interesting pitch.

It’s important to make your startup feel credible and trustworthy. Just as people will judge a book by the cover, investors will judge your pitch deck in less than five seconds, so make sure you have a strong first impression!

A common mistake that founders make with the title slide is not making the most of the opportunity. Taking inspiration from other industries, a prize-winning sticker on a book cover or a wine bottle has a tremendous impact on sales. What can you do to make your pitch deck stand out?

Ace Up pitch deck title slide

After catching your audience’s attention, you should include a company summary on slide one. Investors are unlikely to know anything about you or your company, so this is where you need to tell them what you do, where you’re going, and why they should care.

In just a few sentences, you should be able to concisely state the following:

  • What your company does
  • The stage you’re at
  • The traction you’ve made so far
  • Where you’re heading

If the title slide is about grabbing attention, the executive summary is about keeping it.

You need to get investors hooked and hungry for more information.

Awake pitch deck executive summary

With the investor’s attention now captured, it’s time to give them some context. What industry are you in? What trends are happening in that industry?

Trends are the market conditions that you have zero influence over. But, by showing how you understand them and how they impact your startup, you can demonstrate that not only is your startup inevitable, but that the risk of failure is also reduced.

Your goal with the trends slide is to show that your startup idea isn’t some crazy gamble, it’s obvious and inevitable, and that the market is about to change in a big way.

In the context of startup ideas, the important things to consider about trends are whether they are weak or strong, societal and cultural, or technological.

Weak Trends: These are usually easy to spot and include things like the aging population, increasing internet penetration rates, or a growing demand for a new product or service.

Strong Trends: These are hard to argue against. They will be big and happening quickly. They could be something like the rise of mobile payments, a technology reaching critical mass, or a new way of thinking about an old problem.

Technological Trends: These trends focus on the development of new technologies. For instance, the rise of drones, Web3, and artificial intelligence technologies are all technological trends that would be relevant to an investor pitch deck when combined with a startup idea.

Societal and Cultural Trends: These trends are about the way people are living their lives, and integrating new technologies into them. A good example of this is the trend towards health and wellness. This could be anything from the increasing popularity of mindfulness to people taking more interest in their food.

It’s important to consider societal trends alongside advances in technology, just because a technology is possible, doesn’t mean that people will want to use it (remember Google Glass?).

Building into emerging trends can lead to you raising millions without even having a pitch deck , like Hopin, or still whilst the world is in lockdown and your app is still in beta – like Clubhouse.

Arcus pitch deck trend slide

Now that you’ve got the pitch deck rolling, it’s time to talk about your startup idea. What problem are you solving? What is happening right now? What are people not happy with?

When it comes to the problem slide, be specific. Don’t just say that there is a problem. Tell them what it is and make your audience feel the pain; they should be able to recall having had it themselves or easily empathise with those that do.

As a founder, you need to prove that you have a deep awareness and understanding of the problem you’re solving. You need to demonstrate that you can stand in the shoes of your customers and see the problem as they do.

Ideally, you should be able to summarise all of this into a problem statement. This is a simple one or two-sentence explanation that describes the problem, identifies the pain points, and explains why it needs solving.

Providing data to back up your problem statement is also important, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You’re not trying to show the size of the market, just the severity of the problem.

The problem slide from the Front pitch deck

Having built up an understanding of the problem, you now need to explain how you plan on solving it. What is your solution? How will your startup solve this problem? What makes your product or service different?

Your solution slide should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. You should have a brief paragraph explaining what your startup does, followed by supporting information in the form of screenshots, images, or diagrams.

Remember, during live pitching or conversations, you may be able to talk about your solution in more detail – maybe even showcase a live demo – but in your pitch deck, you need to keep it simple.

If you’re having trouble boiling down your complex solution then consider how you would sell it to a potential customer. If you can pitch it to them in a way that they understand and see the value, then your pitch deck will be able to do the same.

Farewill pitch deck solution slide

With the problem and solution explained, it’s time to move on to your business model. This is a critical slide for any pitch deck as it demonstrates how you plan to make money from your startup idea. It’s showing your investors that you understand the business side of things and that you have a plan for growth.

This slide can be a little tricky to get right, as you don’t want to overload your audience with too much information (especially at idea stage, when you don’t have a fully formed business model). However, you need to convey that the unit economics make sense and that there is a path to profitability.

There are lots of different ways to structure this slide, but the most common model breaks it down into a one-paragraph pitch of your business model, followed by one or two diagrams showing the relationships between your costs and revenue. By using simple visuals, you can convey complex ideas far more effectively than words alone.

Unfortunately, pitch decks don’t have the space to explore every aspect of your business model. It’s a good idea to create a separate document for this, which you can then share with interested investors or partners.

Odeko Cloosive pitch deck business model slide

Now it’s time to move on to the all-important question of market size. Market sizing for early-stage startups can be a contentious issue.

Many entrepreneurs think that they need to show huge total addressable markets (TAM), and pitch themselves as the next billion-dollar startup. However, most sophisticated investors how that for most early-stage startups this is not appropriate.

Pitching a large TAM isn’t going to impress investors, they’ve seen it all before, but pitching yourself as the best company in your segment will demonstrate that you have a great understanding of your industry and the opportunity at hand.

It’s most important to be able to show that there is a market for your product or service, that it’s growing, and that there is room for you to compete. You don’t need to pitch yourself as a billion-dollar company, just pitch that you have a good understanding of the market segment, that people are spending money solving this type of problem, and that you’re going to be one of the best companies in your space.

For example, if your idea is to launch the next big analytics platform, don’t pitch a market size that includes every business in the world. Instead, focus on a specific industry or sector and show how behaviours in that industry are changing, paving the way for your product or service.

Again, you don’t need to go into too much detail in your pitch deck. A one-paragraph pitch of your market size is usually enough, followed by a simple diagram showing the trends that are opening up opportunities for your startup.

investor deck vs business plan

This is another key slide for any pitch deck, as it demonstrates that you have done your research and that you understand the competitive landscape.

Start by defining the market segment you are targeting, and then show the key points of differentiation when compared to your primary competitors.

Describe how they fit into the customer’s perspective of the market, show where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and how you plan to compete with them.

This isn’t the place for a full analysis of your competitors, but you should be able to pitch yourself as the best company in your space, with a clear understanding of how you’re going to win.

There are two common ways to visualise your competitor analysis, the magic quadrant (or 2×2 matrix) and a comparison table.

The magic quadrant is a way of plotting your competitors on two axes, based on two factors that you’ll pluck from thin air. These visualisations are rarely credible unless you have a lot of experience in the market you are analysing, or they’ve been produced by large consultancies like Deloitte or Gartner.

On the other hand, comparison tables can be very effective as they’re easy to digest, position you alongside recognisable brands, and allow you to highlight the key differences between your company and your competitors. By comparing factors that are demonstrably important to customers, you’ll come across as more credible and able to back up your pitch with cold, hard facts.

Clearbanc pitch deck competitor comparison table

Now it’s time to talk about marketing and sales strategy, or how you’re going to get your product or service in front of customers. This is where you’ll pitch your go-to-market strategy. Your go-to-market slide should include the following elements:

  • The channels you will use to reach your target audience
  • The actions you will take to put your product in front of potential customers
  • The milestones you will hit as you progress through your go-to-market plan
  • The resources you will require to reach your target successfully

Start by describing your target market and how you plan to reach them. This might include explaining your distribution channels, sales strategy, or marketing approach. You can also use this slide to talk about any partnerships you have in place, or how you plan to leverage them.

Next, explain the actions you will take to reach your target audience, and how you plan to measure success. These actions should fit within each of the channels that you’ve already identified. For example, if you’re using digital marketing, your actions might be things like website development, SEO, or social media campaigns.

Lastly, list the key milestones you will hit as you progress through your go-to-market plan, and identify the resources you will require to achieve them. You can include your team, budget for marketing activities, or specific assets like signage.

The go to market slide for the Castle pitch deck

As a startup, traction is key. Investors want to see that you’re making progress and that your product is resonating with customers. This slide is often one of the trickiest for startups at idea-stage, as it can be difficult to show commercial progress and it will be too early for product-market fit.

There are a few different ways to pitch traction, and you need to choose the one that works best with your company and the stage you’re at. Some options include user base, revenue growth, or market validation.

If you’re focusing on your user base, you’ll want to pitch a clear and compelling story about your customer base. If you have a small data set, it’s worth showcasing your first 100 customers as this makes the numbers seem more real.

If you have a large customer base, pitch your exponential growth in terms of percentage or absolute figures. For example, pitch how many customers you signed in the past quarter or year.

Revenue Growth

If you’re focusing on revenue growth, pitch your current (or projected) sales figures. You can also pitch the average ticket size or value of your deals. Alternatively, pitch your revenue growth (in terms of percentage or absolute figures) over the past year.

Market Validation

If your product is still at idea-stage and still has a long way to go before it’s ready for market, pitch your progress in terms of real-world validation. For example, pitch the number of people who have registered to use your product or service, or pitch the number of companies that have expressed interest during interviews.

Most importantly, be honest about your progress. If they are interested, investors will dig into your traction claims and you’ll need to back them up with data – if it turns out that you’ve lied or embellished the facts, you’ll not only lose trust and credibility, you’ll probably lose the investment too.

Sendgrid traction slide

Having set the scene in which your startup operates, it’s time to introduce the management team behind your startup. Investors will be keen to learn about who is leading your company and how they will transform your idea into a profitable business.

The focus here must be you and your co-founders. People invest in people, so you’ll need to show how you have the vision, experience, and motivation required to deliver on your pitch.

Keep your team slide short and sweet. You’ll want to include the founding team, highlighting their relevant experience in the industry or field that you’re operating within.

Pictures help to make your presentation more personal, so make sure you have a good quality headshot of each team member, consistently formatted so that everyone appears the same size and in focus.

The team slide should only include the founding team, though it is acceptable to include key team members, as well as notable advisors or investors if beneficial. If you do this, ensure that there is a clear visual separation between the two groups.

Cedar pitch deck team slide

This is the big one. The pitch deck wouldn’t be complete without a clear proposal of what you’re asking for from your investors. This slide should clearly state the amount of money you’re seeking, as well as what you plan to do with it.

It’s important to remember that investors are looking for a return on their investment (ROI), so your proposal must be realistic and demonstrate how you will use the funds raised to reach key growth milestones.

To convince investors, your “Ask slide” will need to answer these three questions:

  • How much are you seeking to raise?
  • What will you do with the money?
  • What do you intend to accomplish with the funds?

Always remember to pitch the ask in terms of how it benefits the investor – not just you. For example, if you’re seeking a £100,000 investment, explain how that money will help you reach a specific milestone that will create value for your investors.

Be specific about how much you need to raise, and where you plan to deploy the money. This will show that you’ve done your homework and understand how you will grow your business.

A simple pie chart with the breakdown of how you plan to use funds can go a long way towards demonstrating to investors that you’re serious about using their money wisely. For example, if 25 percent goes towards marketing spend, 30 percent for technology development, and 45 percent for new hires, that’s a good indication you have your priorities straight.

It’s unlikely that you will be profitable before the next round of funding, but it is usually worth highlighting the key numbers from your financial projections to give investors an idea of the scale and trajectory of your business.

Perhaps the most important factor in your investment ask is demonstrating that you understand how much capital you require to hit key growth milestones without requiring further funding rounds for at least 12-18 months. This is something that almost every investor will expect you to have a solid plan for.

Almanac Pitch Deck ask slide

Pitch Deck Design

Whether you’re sharing your deck by email or presenting on stage, the design of your pitch deck matters. However, you can’t afford to hire a professional pitch deck designer to help. So, what do you do?

KEEP. IT. SIMPLE.

Your pitch deck is not the place to show off your design skills – or highlight any lack of expertise in this department! The only goal of your pitch deck is to communicate information clearly and concisely so that investors understand what you’re pitching and can get excited about it.

Keep your presentation simple, use bold typography, highlight key information, and stick to a maximum of two or three colors. Resist the urge to use lots of graphics and animations, as these can be distracting and take up valuable space on your slides.

How to design a better pitch deck

There are a lot of things to consider when designing your pitch deck presentation. Below are some tips on how to make your pitch more effective:

The average investor has a short attention span, so keep your deck concise and easy to follow. Use clear language, avoid complex graphs and charts, and stick to a maximum of 15 slides.

Use the same fonts, colors, and layouts throughout your pitch deck to create a cohesive look.

Slides that are crowded with text and images will be difficult for your audience to read and comprehend.

A pitch deck template is a great way to ensure that your pitch deck looks professional and follows the proper design guidelines.

Pitch deck design tools

Today, there is a huge selection of online design tools and no-code builders to help you build your perfect deck. Below are just a few of the design platforms that can help you craft your pitch.

An easy-to-use platform that allows startups to build a beautiful slide deck without any special design skills. Start from scratch or create your slides using predefined pitch deck templates.

https://slidebean.com/

Offers a wide range of design tools and templates for creating professional pitch decks. The free version includes limited features, while the paid plans start at $12/month.

This pitch deck design app is great for startups and entrepreneurs who need to create a pitch deck quickly. The basic plan starts at $12/month (billed annually) but there is a 14-day free trial.

https://www.beautiful.ai/

The tools provided by Pitch allow you to quickly produce a high-quality pitch. Even if you’re not a designer, you can create a strong pitch deck that looks great. The basic plan is free, but you’ll need to upgrade to the paid plans for more features.

https://pitch.com/

While these design tools can be extremely powerful, it still pays to follow the same basic guidelines to ensure that your pitch deck is easy for investors to understand; Keep it simple, avoid animation, stick to a consistent layout, and make sure your text and images are easy to read.

When you’re trying to capture investors’ attention and raise equity funding, you need to show them that you have a good plan. But startups aren’t traditional businesses and they don’t use traditional business plans.

like the Holy Grail, the business plan remains largely unattainable and mythological. Most experts wouldn’t agree, but a business plan is of limited usefulness for a startup because entrepreneurs base so much of their plans on assumptions, “visions,” and unknowns. Guy Kawasaki

This is why pitch decks are the perfect approach to sharing a startup business plan.

Fundamentally, your pitch deck is used to share your vision, attract investors, and start conversations. As a founder, you should be prepared for investors who may not “get” your pitch deck right away — this doesn’t mean that they aren’t interested in what you’re doing.

Be prepared to answer questions and have an engaging conversation about your startup. Investors want to see that you have a clear understanding of your business, the problem you’re solving, and how you plan on making money. They also want to know that you’re capable of executing your vision.

Remember, pitch decks are just one part of the overall investment process. If you’re able to create a pitch deck that effectively communicates your idea and leaves investors wanting more, then you’re on the right track!

Investor Deck vs. Pitch Deck: Which One Do You Need?

Differentiate between Investor Decks and Pitch Decks. Discover which one aligns with your fundraising and presentation goals. Make informed choices.

investor deck vs business plan

As you embark on this exhilarating journey, you face a crossroads defined by two essential components: investor deck vs. pitch deck . In this expansive landscape of opportunities and possibilities, these decks serve as your guides, advocates, and gateways to the world of investors and backers.

But here’s the catch — as you stand at this crossroads, you might ask yourself: What exactly are these decks, and how do they differ? How do they fit into your startup narrative? When do you wield the power of a pitch deck, and when do you unleash the might of an investor deck? These questions dance in every visionary, entrepreneur, and dreamer’s mind. And that’s precisely where you will need this detailed guide.

As we traverse through definitions, differences, and the moments when these decks steal the spotlight, remember that your chosen path reflects your vision, ambition, and unwavering determination to transform ideas into reality. So, without further ado, let’s embark on this enlightening odyssey and discover the intricacies that define the pitch deck and investor deck — the storytellers of your entrepreneurial saga.

What is a Pitch Deck?

The pitch deck is the charismatic spokesperson for your startup. It’s a compelling visual presentation, often a  collection of slides , that condenses your business concept into an alluring and succinct package. Think of it as your business’s first impression, a sneak peek into what makes your venture a potential goldmine.

You’ll want a pitch deck in your arsenal when you’re preparing to introduce your startup to potential investors. It’s like the spark that ignites the conversation, helping you secure that all-important initial meeting to showcase your business idea , target market , and growth strategy . The pitch deck is the opening act — the gateway to pique investor interest.

What is an Investor Deck?

Let’s meet your startup’s trusty companion — the investor deck. While it might share some DNA with the pitch deck, the investor deck delves deeper into the DNA of your business. It’s your chance to provide a comprehensive overview of your startup’s inner workings, from financial projections and market analysis to the team’s expertise and competitive edge.

The investor deck steps onto the scene after you’ve caught the eye of intrigued investors with your pitch deck. When they signal interest in exploring further, that’s when your investor deck gets its moment in the spotlight. This deck is your startup’s grand reveal, the dossier that equips potential investors with the knowledge they need to make an informed decision.

What are the Main Differences Between an Investor Deck and a Pitch Deck?

Let’s take a closer look at the key differences that set these two decks apart, much like distinct stars shining in the night sky, each with its own unique brilliance:

1. Purpose:

  • Pitch Deck: Think of your startup’s pitch deck as a teaser trailer for an exciting movie. It hints at the greatness that’s to come and sparks curiosity for more. Your pitch deck is like that teaser, designed to intrigue and set the stage for further discussions.
  • Investor Deck: Your startup is a captivating feature film with intricate plotlines and compelling characters. The investor deck plays the role of the detailed script, providing a deep dive into your venture’s story for discerning investors who are meticulously evaluating your potential.
  • Pitch Deck: Your pitch deck acts as the backstage pass to the world of investments. It’s a quick and compelling entry ticket designed to grab the attention of potential investors swiftly and secure you a coveted spot at the investment table.
  • Investor Deck: Once your pitch deck has caught their attention, it’s time for a more extensive exploration. The investor deck transforms into a VIP backstage pass that lets serious investors thoroughly explore every aspect of your startup’s potential, leaving no stone unturned.
  • Pitch Deck: Your pitch deck is a sequence of rapid snapshots that come together to create a captivating story. With just 10-15 slides, it takes you on a whirlwind tour, delivering a powerful impact that lingers.
  • Investor Deck: On the other hand, the investor deck is a comprehensive journey. With 20-30 slides, it’s like a book with detailed chapters on financial projections, market analyses, and strategic roadmaps.

4. Audience Focus:

  • Pitch Deck: Your pitch deck speaks a universal language. It’s tailored for a wide audience, capturing your vision at a glance, regardless of whether they’re familiar with your industry.
  • Investor Deck: The investor deck, however, speaks a language understood by investors. It’s a custom dialect designed for potential investors, addressing their specific questions and concerns as they assess whether to support your venture.

5. Creation Process:

  • Pitch Deck: Creating a pitch deck is like crafting an engaging short story. It requires concise yet captivating storytelling, impactful visuals, and a touch of intrigue to keep the audience engaged.
  • Investor Deck: The investor deck, in contrast, is more like writing a full-length novel. It demands thorough research, accurate financial projections, and a solid business rationale that reads like a strategic plan. This instils confidence in potential investors, helping them understand the value of your startup.

When Should You Use Each Deck?

Navigating the intricate dance of startup presentations requires a keen sense of timing, much like a conductor orchestrating a symphony. Let’s dive into the precise moments when the spotlight shines on each deck, allowing them to take centre stage in your entrepreneurial performance:

Pitch Deck:

The pitch deck is your startup’s dazzling debut — a captivating overture that marks your initial encounter with potential investors. You unleash the power of your pitch deck when you’re at the threshold of introductions, eagerly reaching out to investors for the very first time. The pitch deck is your opportunity to radiate charm, confidence, and promise. Craft it meticulously, for it’s the foundation upon which you build relationships and capture the interest of investors.

Investor Deck:

The investor deck steps in as the seasoned headliner, taking over once you’ve sparked interest with your pitch deck. Investors are no longer curious bystanders; they’re invested in your narrative and eager for more. It’s your chance to lead them on a deep, meaningful exploration of your startup’s universe. Dive into the details, unravel your startup’s intricacies, and unveil the layers that make your venture shine. This is when potential investors transition from mere spectators to active participants in your startup journey.

How Can PitchBob Help?

Imagine a world where crafting these decks is a breeze. Enter PitchBob, your presentation ally. While it primarily focuses on pitch decks, it can still be invaluable for your overall presentation needs. From crafting compelling headlines to selecting stunning visuals, PitchBob simplifies the process and empowers you to shine.

Voila! You’re now armed with insights on investor deck vs. pitch deck to navigate the world of startup presentations like a pro. The pitch deck shines as your dazzling opener, capturing attention and sparking intrigue. The investor deck takes the reins when it’s time for a deep dive into your startup’s potential. Remember, these decks have their unique roles — use your pitch deck to open doors and your investor deck to seal the deal. And if you need a helping hand in the creation process, PitchBob has got your back!

Founder 2

Disruptive Partners OÜ Harju maakond, Tallinn, Kesklinna linnaosa, Tornimäe tn 3 / 5 / 7, 10145

PitchBob, Inc 2261 Market Street #10281 San Francisco, CA 94114

pitch bob qr

investor deck vs business plan

Investor deck vs pitch deck: why your success depends on knowing the difference.

pitch slide visual for pitch deck vs investor deck story

Investor deck vs pitch deck? Aren’t they the same thing?

They appear to do the same job, reference the same information, and are targeted at the same people. It’s only when you pull back to understand the psychology of pitching (or indeed selling) that you see why a pitch deck is dramatically different from an investor deck.

The Pitch Deck

A pitch deck sells you and your vision. It should excite an audience, get them to lean forward in their chairs, and want to join the adventure you’re proposing.

A pitch deck is, at its core, a narrative. It’s storytelling.

Break it down, and you’ll find the following elements:

  • The problem. Don’t confuse this with an annoyance or slight discomfort. For the story to work,  the problem needs to be big, nasty, and urgent. And never forget, it needs to be a problem real people have. State it in simple, universal terms.
  • The solution . This doesn’t need to be your solution, but the solution everyone would hope for. Everyone in the audience should be nodding, thinking Yeah, that’s a smart way to fix this .
  • Your approach . This is your solution. And it needs to be immediately clear that your solution is even better than one the audience would’ve imagined.
  • Value proposition . When you move from the problem to your amazing solution, you should make it irrefutable that what you’re launching will bring incredible value to the world.
  • Next steps . Once your audience is excited, don’t waste the momentum. Give them a step to take, a number to call, a landing page form to fill in.

Do’s and don’ts for pitch decks

What to do:.

  • Do include captivating graphics and images,
  • Do tell a compelling, memorable story that shows your passion for the business,
  • Do show an idea that could solve a dramatic, human problem,
  • Do demonstrate that you have more than an idea – it’s real, it’s working, and it’s making people happy,
  • Do pay attention to design – your deck should paint a beautiful picture behind you as you tell your story on stage.

What not to do:

  • Do not go into financial details or point by point plans,
  • Do not have wordy slides,
  • Do not try to add sub-stories – one simple story is all people can focus on,
  • Do not use jargon or acronyms – you’re telling a story that should be universal and loved by all,
  • Do not succumb to the temptation to make this an investor deck with all the information investors need to make their decision.

A pitch deck should not stand alone

Next time you watch a movie, close your eyes. Or turn off the sound. Not great, is it?

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A pitch deck is part of a story you’re telling. The visuals and words in the deck should complement what you’re saying. One should complete the other.

If you absolutely need to send a pitch deck, turn it into a picture book that tells your story in complete sentences and paragraphs accompanied by glorious, full page visuals.

Ready to optimize your pitch deck and presentation? Click here . 

The investor deck

If a pitch deck tells a story that captures investors’ attention, an investor deck convinces them that they weren’t just listening to a tall tale. It provides reassurance that you’re legitimate, competent, and will be successful.

You want your investor deck to cover the following topics, roughly in this order:

  • Company overview . What’s your company name? What do you do? How many of you do it? How long have you been doing it? Key facts about your company
  • Mission / Vision . What change are you trying to effect in the world? And what will your company look like when you’ve achieved that mission?
  • Team . With the right people in the right roles, your chances of success are far greater. Write this so the investor understands why each individual is on your team. Include photos, titles, and a short summary of each team member. Advisors and board members can be added to bolster credibility.
  • The problem . As per the pitch deck.
  • The solution . As per the pitch deck. Remember to break this into two parts: The solution your audience would imagine, and the solution you created.
  • The market opportunity . Investors want to invest in big opportunities with large addressable markets. Define the market you’re in, the dollar amount of the market size, and demonstrate how you’ll address a large part of that market.
  • The customers. If you have customers, it adds credibility. Show their logos.
  • The technology . Even better, technology that is your intellectual property.
  • The competition . Describe the basic technology, list any protected IP (patents, etc), and make a case for why your technology is superior and difficult to replicate.
  • Traction . You can cover early sales, traffic to the website, app downloads, growth metrics, strategic partnerships, press, testimonials – anything that demonstrates your idea is working. If possible, describe how traction will be accelerated.
  • Business model . Investors will want to understand how your business will make money, what your pricing model is, what the long-term value of a customer is, and what your customer acquisition channels / cost per customer is.
  • Marketing plan. The complement to your business plan. What marketing channels will you use, what your marketing looks like, and what success you’ve had with your marketing.
  • Financials . Investors will want to understand the company’s current financial situation and proposed future burn rate. Include three-to-five year projections, unit economics, burn rate, key metrics (like annual recurring revenue), total revenue and expenses, EBITDA, and key assumptions. Make sure your numbers are realistic. Sharp investors will be paying very close attention.
  • The ask . How much money are you seeking, how long will you need financing, how will you allocate financing, what milestones will you hit with the financing, and who your existing investors are.

Do’s and don’ts for investor decks

  • Do include captivating graphics and images, and pay attention to overall design,
  • Do be brief, succinct and to the point. A pitch deck is for storytelling, but an investor deck is for convincing and reassuring,
  • Do make the information flow effortless. There needs to be a lot of information to make your case – ensure its easy to access and retain,
  • Do create a version that potential investors can read at their leisure. That may mean stepping away from the conventional one theme / one page format, and making it more of a manuscript with short chapters,
  • Do go into details if those details will convince investors. Have friends in the investment business edit for relevance.
  • Do not bury key information in reams of data. Highlight points, boost font size, use arrows.
  • Do not use too many words. Be professional, succinct, and light on storytelling. Use bullet points to make data bites easy to digest.
  • Do not use too many bullet points.
  • Do not present a word-heavy investor deck on stage. If you need to present, revert to the pitch deck, and give each investor a copy of the investor deck to read.

An Investor Deck Should Stand Alone

The primary role of an investor deck is to provide reassurance that your company is legitimate, trustworthy and successful. If an investor is mulling over your opportunity at home, the deck should be in their hands to provide all the details you weren’t able to cover from the stage.

Pitch decks compared to investor decks

First impression.

A pitch deck should attract you, and an investor deck should reassure you. A pitch deck deals more in memorable sound bites, while an investor deck provides details that are key to decision-making. While both use captivating graphics and tasteful design, the pitch deck’s visual style is more central to the pitch.

Conveying information

A pitch deck should leave the audience with a good story about an amazing company to share and retell. An investor deck, on the other hand, should definitively answer in detail why that company is amazing.

A pitch deck’s aim is to convey a story that captivates the audience. If there are details, they’re elements of the pitch that the audience didn’t expect – a visual flourish here, an unexpected leave-behind there. An investor deck, on the other hand, is an authoritative guide to the company. Details and key facts are expected, and their absence will be noted. That said, details need to be vetted for relevance, and should be stated with brevity.

If you’re presenting a pitch deck, your audience could include investors… or other entrepreneurs, students, mentors, or the general public. If you’re going through an investor deck, however, your audience should consist solely of investors who have shown an interest in your company and want to dig deeper.

The difference between an investor deck vs pitch deck comes down to human psychology in the buying process. Each has a vital role to play in landing investment for your company. Use them together, and your chances of success rise dramatically.

Does your pitch deck capture the imagination? Does it get investors leaning forward in their seats? Does it provoke the ‘Tell Me More’ response? We cover all these questions when you optimize your pitch with me.

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Pitch deck vs business plan: understanding the differences for startup success.

Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: Understanding the Differences for Startup Success

Starting a new business can be an exhilarating and challenging journey. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you must navigate through numerous decisions and tasks to set your startup on the path to success. Two crucial documents that often come to mind during this process are the pitch deck and the business plan. However, understanding the differences between these two tools is essential, as they serve distinct purposes in the startup ecosystem. In this article, we will delve into the discrepancies between a pitch deck and a business plan, exploring their unique characteristics and how they contribute to startup success. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of when and how to utilize each document effectively.

What is a Pitch Deck?

A pitch deck is a concise and visually engaging presentation that entrepreneurs use to articulate their business idea and attract potential investors or partners. Often consisting of a series of slides, a pitch deck provides a snapshot of the startup’s value proposition, market opportunity, and competitive advantage. It acts as a persuasive tool by capturing attention, generating excitement, and compelling the audience to take action. Think of it as a teaser trailer for your business, designed to ignite curiosity and leave a lasting impression. A well-crafted pitch deck should contain compelling storytelling elements that engage the emotions and imagination of the audience. It should showcase the startup’s vision, mission, and target market. Additionally, it should highlight the key problem the business solves, outline its unique solution, and demonstrate the potential for growth and profitability. Through carefully chosen words, impactful visuals, and a solid structure, a pitch deck aims to secure funding or secure strategic partnerships that will propel the startup forward.

What is a Business Plan?

While a pitch deck focuses on capturing attention and generating excitement, a business plan is a comprehensive and strategic roadmap that outlines the structure, goals, and financial projections of a startup. It serves as a detailed blueprint for the business, providing a deeper understanding of its operations, market strategy, and financial viability. A business plan often spans multiple pages and covers various aspects such as market analysis, organizational structure, product or service description, marketing strategy, financial forecasts, and more. Unlike a pitch deck, which emphasizes brevity and visual impact, a business plan dives into granular details, leaving no stone unturned. It provides an in-depth exploration of the startup’s market research, target audience, competition, and distribution channels. Moreover, it lays out a comprehensive financial model, including revenue projections, cost structures, and funding requirements. A well-crafted business plan not only demonstrates the startup’s potential for success but also reveals the entrepreneur’s depth of knowledge and strategic thinking.

The Benefits of a Pitch Deck and When to Use It

A pitch deck offers several advantages over a traditional business plan, especially in the early stages of a startup. Here are some key benefits of utilizing a pitch deck:

1. Conciseness

Pitch decks are concise by nature, allowing entrepreneurs to distill their business idea into a compelling and easily digestible format. With limited time and attention from investors, a concise pitch deck ensures that the most critical information is conveyed effectively. By focusing on the essentials, a pitch deck removes unnecessary clutter and enables the entrepreneur to make a strong impact within a short span.

2. Visual Appeal

In today’s fast-paced world, visual communication plays a crucial role in capturing attention. A well-designed pitch deck with visually engaging images, charts, and graphs can significantly enhance the entrepreneur’s ability to convey complex ideas effectively. By using visuals strategically, a pitch deck becomes more memorable, aiding in the retention of key information and leaving a lasting impression on potential investors.

3. Storytelling

Humans are naturally drawn to stories. A pitch deck, when crafted skillfully, weaves a compelling narrative around the startup’s vision, showcasing its potential impact and the problem it aims to solve. By incorporating storytelling elements, an entrepreneur can emotionally connect with the audience, making the pitch deck more engaging and persuasive. Through a well-crafted story, the entrepreneur can create a strong desire in investors to be a part of the startup’s journey.

4. Flexibility

Pitch decks offer flexibility in terms of format and delivery. Whether it is a face-to-face meeting, a virtual presentation, or shared via email, a pitch deck can adapt to different communication channels, ensuring that the message is effectively conveyed. This versatility allows entrepreneurs to pitch their startup in various settings and maximize opportunities to attract potential investors or partners.

When to Use a Pitch Deck?

A pitch deck is typically used in the early stages of a startup when seeking funding, partnerships, or participation in accelerators or incubators. It is an invaluable tool for capturing attention and generating interest within a limited timeframe. A pitch deck can be presented in investor meetings, pitch competitions, networking events, or shared digitally through email or online platforms. While a pitch deck is undoubtedly a powerful tool, it does have its limitations. It may not provide the level of detail or financial projections that investors require to make informed decisions. That’s where a business plan comes into play.

The Benefits of a Business Plan and When to Use It

A business plan offers several advantages over a pitch deck, especially when it comes to providing a comprehensive understanding of the startup’s operations and financial projections. Here are some key benefits of utilizing a business plan:

1. Strategic Planning

A business plan allows entrepreneurs to engage in a strategic thought process, delving deep into the various aspects of their startup. It entails comprehensive market research, competitor analysis, and a solid understanding of the target audience. By examining these factors in detail, entrepreneurs can develop robust strategies that maximize their chances of success. A business plan acts as a roadmap that guides the entrepreneur through the early stages of their venture, helping them make informed decisions and stay focused on their goals.

2. Funding Requirements

While a pitch deck provides a high-level overview of the startup’s financial needs, a business plan dives into the nitty-gritty details of funding requirements. It outlines the startup’s capital structure, financial forecasts, and projections, reflecting a thorough understanding of the funding needed at each stage of the startup’s growth. By presenting a comprehensive financial model, a business plan instills confidence in investors and lenders, demonstrating the entrepreneur’s preparedness and commitment to success.

3. Operational Guidelines

A business plan outlines the startup’s organizational structure, roles and responsibilities, and operational guidelines. It provides clarity on how the business will function, its supply chain, and its legal and regulatory obligations. By mapping out these details, a business plan enables entrepreneurs to set realistic expectations and foster a clear understanding of the business’s day-to-day operations.

4. Long-term Vision

A business plan encompasses the long-term vision of the startup, articulating its mission, values, and goals. It enables entrepreneurs to think beyond the immediate challenges and set milestones for the future. By establishing a clear direction, a business plan keeps the entrepreneur focused and provides a reference point for tracking progress and evaluating success.

When to Use a Business Plan?

A business plan is typically used when seeking significant funding, engaging potential partners, or presenting a detailed overview of the business to stakeholders. It is commonly required by banks, venture capitalists, and other investors who seek a comprehensive understanding of the startup’s financial viability and growth potential. A business plan can be shared in formal investor meetings, loan applications, strategic partnership discussions, or as supporting documentation during the due diligence process.

In conclusion, while a pitch deck and a business plan both play essential roles in the startup journey, they serve distinct purposes. A pitch deck is a concise and visually appealing tool designed to capture attention, generate excitement, and persuade potential investors or partners. On the other hand, a business plan provides a comprehensive roadmap that outlines the startup’s operations, financial projections, and long-term strategy. When deciding whether to create a pitch deck or a business plan, consider the purpose and context. If you are seeking to attract attention and secure early-stage funding or partnerships, a pitch deck is the ideal choice. However, for more comprehensive financial analysis and strategic planning, a business plan is necessary. Ultimately, the key to startup success lies in understanding when and how to utilize these documents effectively, ensuring that they align with your goals and resonate with your target audience.

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investor deck vs business plan

Business Plans vs. Pitch Decks

As readers of either my Mentor’s Perspective or Mentor’s Journal series will know, one of the most common themes that I come across is that of fundraising in all its guises. 

Maybe that is because it is a topic that most businesses will consider at some point in their growth, or maybe it is because it is often the area of running a business that many founders feel most uncomfortable with, or know the least about. I will discuss the art of fundraising in a future article but here I wanted to focus on two of the most important steps that must be taken before setting out to raise any funds – that is writing a business plan and producing a pitch deck.

Indeed, in my opinion, the business plan is such an important document that it is a crucial exercise that should be undertaken for any business, irrespective of whether it wishes to raise funds or not.

For any new business it is an extremely valuable exercise to write a business plan, as this will force you to analyse all of the areas that need to be taken into consideration when deciding upon the focus of your business and your product or service. The process should start with the simplified Business Model Canvas (many examples and templates are available online) as this is a bit more of a brainstorming exercise to try and make sure that you have pulled together all of the areas that need to go into the business plan and then grouped them together sensibly. Once you have spent some time on that exercise you can then start to write the business plan. This does not need to be excessively large or detailed but should go into sufficient detail to cover all aspects of the business.

Business Model Basics

  • Your product / service and what differentiates it and you as a company – what are you doing differently and what factors will ensure that your company succeeds?
  • Your potential market place and how much of the market you realistically hope to reach – is this just the UK or do you plan to export? How will you develop this and over what time period?
  • Your competition and barriers to entry – will you compete with large players and how easy will it be for you to break into the market or indeed for others to break into your market?
  • Your management team and what previous experience they have – a previous track record always adds comfort so if you do not have all the experience necessary how will you cover the gaps?
  • Your financials – both actuals to date and future forecast (with detailed assumptions based on research). These must be realistic and demonstrably achievable. If they are too optimistic then they will undermine the whole business plan in the eyes of others and also set you wrong targets
  • Your manufacturing / distributing / supply chain / route to market – set this out in order to show the complete process and to help the reader put the financials and everything else into perspective
  • Your marketing and sales strategy – explain how you will market and sell your product or service and how you plan to grow sales over time. Again, this will help add credibility to the assumptions used in your financial projections

Do not worry if your plan brings out some areas of difficulty as this is to be expected. What is important is that it demonstrates that you know these areas exist and that you have thought about them and found solutions.

There should be a one or two page executive summary at the front that pulls out all of the really important points from the main business plan. Be warned, this summary is extremely important as many readers, especially potential investors, will only read the full plan if you have grabbed their attention sufficiently in the executive summary.

Once the initial plan is written it can be extremely beneficial to discuss it with your Mentor or other trusted advisors as it is likely that they will point out areas that they feel should be included and they should also challenge some of the assumptions made, especially in the financial forecasts. This process ensures that after any revisions that you may decide to make, either to your plan, or indeed your actual business, you have a robust plan and you are able to defend all of the assumptions made.

Once the business plan has been produced it is a very useful document to revise periodically and to update as your business grows and your needs and aspirations change over time. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I feel that preparing a business plan should be done simply as a good exercise to clarify your thoughts, but certainly if you are looking to raise funding by way of debt or equity then it becomes a necessity. As such, updating and refining an existing plan is a much easier task then writing one from the start, and because it is not the first attempt it should also be a better document.

If you are looking to raise equity funding then clearly the company needs to have a valuation and the only real way that this can be obtained is by producing a full business plan with financial projections and clear assumptions, together with the future plans of the company. If indeed the company is considering raising equity it is crucial that the management team provides a broad range of experience and any gaps in experience should ideally be filled with non-executive directors and a good advisory board. 

Pitch Deck vs. Business plan

The pitch deck complements the business plan and stands alongside it. Just as it is important that the full business plan has a one or two page executive summary which must catch the readers’ imagination and encourage them to read the whole business plan, then the pitch deck can be seen as an alternative form of executive summary but used in a different way.

The business plan is a long, detailed document typically produced in Word, whilst the pitch deck is normally between 10 to 20 pages in length and often produced in PowerPoint, but it is a much more visual document designed entirely to sell the business to potential investors or lenders, or anyone else that reads it. It must grab the reader’s attention immediately and encourage them to want to know more.

It is important to use pictures, graphs, tables and the like, to get as much of the important information over as succinctly as possible and to reduce the number of words required. It needs to tell a story and there is of course a real art to this. Think of it as a trailer to a forthcoming blockbuster film and you start to get the right picture.

The information contained should enable the reader to understand the company’s product or service, the advantages it has over rivals, the size of the market, how much it is raising for what amount of equity and how the money will be spent. It must therefore include projected financials and a pre-money valuation of the company (that is the value of the company before any additional funds are raised). It is also best to include a timeline of significant events in the company’s history.

Producing the bones of a pitch deck is relatively easy once the business plan has been done but given that it effectively acts as the elevator pitch of the company, and first impressions are crucial, I would suggest that it is one thing that is worth spending good money on to ensure that it looks the part and includes all the required information.

Both the business plan and the pitch deck can of course be produced fully in house but I also know of some very good companies out there that can produce extremely professional documents for a modest fee. Like everything, that decision will be dependent upon the in house ability and time available, but do not underestimate the time needed to do either of these properly. Both of these documents could be crucial to securing external investment so they are well worth doing well.

To summarise, all businesses should do a business plan and keep them regularly updated whether they want to raise finance or not. Any company that wishes to raise finance must also produce a first class pitch deck.

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  1. Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan: What is the Difference?

    Research shows that a clear, concise pitch deck can increase the chances of securing an initial meeting with investors by up to 72%. A business plan reduces internal confusion by 25% by clearly outlining the goals, strategies, and financial projections, leading to a 30% increase in team collaboration. Both documents require heavy research and ...

  2. Pitch deck vs business plan: differences and which to use

    Now that you understand pitch decks and business plans, let's dive into their key differences. Pitch decks are short and punchy, designed to grab investors' attention and get you that crucial meeting. Business plans are thorough and detailed documents, perfect for in-depth analysis or large funding requests.

  3. The Entrepreneur's Arsenal: Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan

    A business plan analyzes a business opportunity and/or an existing business, while a pitch deck aims to excite investors about a company and set up a meeting for an investment discussion. A business plan is a lengthy, text-based document, while a pitch deck is a concise document that uses visuals to convey critical information as quickly as ...

  4. Startup Business Plan vs. Pitch Deck: Which One Should ...

    Unlike a pitch deck, a business plan is prepared as a word document and often includes 30 up to 100 pages. A business plan only is a standalone document: unlike a pitch deck, it should never be used as a visual support when presenting to investors. Whilst a business plan includes charts, tables and images whenever relevant, most of the ...

  5. Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: Understanding the Key Differences

    When it comes to presenting your business idea to potential investors or partners, two key documents come into play: the pitch deck and the business plan. Both crucial conveying vision strategy, they serve purposes distinct formats. In article, explore key differences pitch deck business plan, when use each. The Pitch Deck

  6. Pitch Deck vs Business Plan

    The business plan caters to investors, potential partners, and your internal team. It invites them to explore the finer nuances of your startup universe — the market analysis, the competitive landscape, and the intricate strategies that will propel your venture forward. ... Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan — At What Stage Will You Need Them? As ...

  7. Pitch Decks vs Investor Decks: Is There a Difference?

    Investor decks are for the business and financial decision-makers of companies. With that in mind, one can assume that the audience of an investor deck bears a significant amount of knowledge about starting and running a business. Pitch decks, on the other hand, are for general audiences. Because their backgrounds and knowledge are more varied ...

  8. Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan: The Differences and Uses of Each

    The goal of a pitch deck is to score an investment. A business plan is a detailed description of a business. A business plan is a well researched 10-100-page document. It usually has two functions: It is used as a blueprint and it acts as a reference document for the future. A business plan is not sent too often.

  9. Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: Understanding the Differences for Startup

    By developing a comprehensive business plan, startups establish a solid foundation for long-term success and growth. Final Thoughts. In summary, both pitch decks and business plans play crucial roles in startup success. While a pitch deck acts as a visually appealing and concise tool for capturing attention and generating investor interest, a ...

  10. Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: Understanding the Differences for Startup

    Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: The Main Differences. ... While a pitch deck captures attention and generates initial interest, a comprehensive business plan provides potential investors and stakeholders with the intricate details they need to assess the viability and potential of your startup. A well-crafted business plan serves as a strategic ...

  11. How do business plans differ from pitch decks?

    Amount of financial information. Both business plans and pitch decks contain financial information but the quantity and type usually differ. Pitch decks usually have no more than one slide dedicated to financials and prefer to zoom in on key figures. Business plans, however, include a detailed balance sheet, a profit and loss account, and a ...

  12. Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: Key Differences Explained

    In summary, while a pitch deck and business plan are complementary, their key differences include: Purpose: Pitch deck - Generate interest. Business plan - In-depth evaluation. Length: Pitch deck - 10-15 slides. Business plan - 20-50 pages. Content: Pitch deck - Highlights and visuals.

  13. Pitch deck vs business plan

    A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and financial projections of a business. It is used to persuade potential investors to invest in the company. Pitch deck vs Business plan. Pitch decks and business plans are different in their purpose, content, and format.

  14. What is a Pitch Deck? Examples, Tips and Templates

    A pitch deck is a brief presentation that gives potential investors or clients an overview of your business plan, products, services and growth traction. As an entrepreneur, you probably know this: your company or idea needs financing. Oftentimes, this financing will come from external sources—i.e. people who aren't friends or family.

  15. Pitch Deck vs. Business Plan

    Pitch deck vs. business plan. Before we start the big pitch deck vs. business plan comparison, we need to understand the basic information. What is a pitch deck? A pitch deck is a number of slides which summarizes your company. A pitch deck is not something you present, but rather something you send to potential clients or investors.

  16. Pitch Decks vs Business Plans: Which is Better for Raising ...

    A pitch deck is a shorter and more concise document that outlines your business strategy and goals. It is typically used to give investors an overview of your company and to get them excited about ...

  17. Pitch Deck VS Business Plan: What's the difference?

    Business Plan: A business plan, on the other hand, is a comprehensive written document that provides a detailed overview of your business. It is used for internal planning and to secure financing. Business plans are typically presented to investors or lenders who require in-depth information before making a decision. 2. Length and Format. Pitch ...

  18. Creating the perfect pitch deck and business plan: Examples ...

    You want investors to see the actual value in investing in your startup so avoid including anything that's not absolutely necessary for them to understand this concept. - Do not include unnecessary information or graphics. - Keep your pitch deck to a maximum of 20 slides. - Stick to clear and concise language.

  19. Investor Deck vs Pitch Deck

    Investor Deck: The investor deck, in contrast, is more like writing a full-length novel. It demands thorough research, accurate financial projections, and a solid business rationale that reads like a strategic plan.

  20. Pitch Decks vs Business Plans: Which is Better for Raising Capital?

    There is a trend towards shorter and more concise business plans. This is because investors are often looking for a quick overview of the business, and they don't want to read a long and detailed document. Additionally, many business plan writers are now using interactive pitch decks instead of traditional business plans.

  21. Investor Deck vs Pitch Deck: Success Depends on Knowing

    A pitch deck should attract you, and an investor deck should reassure you. A pitch deck deals more in memorable sound bites, while an investor deck provides details that are key to decision-making. While both use captivating graphics and tasteful design, the pitch deck's visual style is more central to the pitch.

  22. Pitch Deck vs Business Plan: Understanding the Differences for Startup

    A business plan can be shared in formal investor meetings, loan applications, strategic partnership discussions, or as supporting documentation during the due diligence process. Conclusion. In conclusion, while a pitch deck and a business plan both play essential roles in the startup journey, they serve distinct purposes.

  23. Business Plans vs. Pitch Decks

    The business plan is a long, detailed document typically produced in Word, whilst the pitch deck is normally between 10 to 20 pages in length and often produced in PowerPoint, but it is a much more visual document designed entirely to sell the business to potential investors or lenders, or anyone else that reads it.