At the very beginning stages of a company, even if that company is merely an idea jotted on a coffee stained napkin, the first real step to moving forward is to create a pitch deck. The long and short of company creation, fund raising, and selling is that you need a way to explain what you do in simple straightforward language. This will obviously take various forms depending on the audience. Get started with an investor presentation. Taking the perspective of an investor will force you to answer the hard questions of why someone else would believe in your ingenious world-changing idea enough to give you their money.
Guy Kawasaki broke this exercise out into 10 slides in his book "The Art of the Start" published back in 2001. His 10/20/30 rule holds up.
The people you are pitching to have limited attention spans and have heard 100 business plans in the last 60 days. Guys advice on the 10 slides follow. They don't have to strictly follow this order but the order is good. The biggest one I would consider swapping is "Team." If your team is a very strong component (and it is a primary reason people will invest) then stick it up front, perhaps right after your solution slide.
Ten slides. Ten is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting—and venture capitalists are very normal. (The only difference between you and venture capitalist is that he is getting paid to gamble with someone else’s money). If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business. The ten topics that a venture capitalist cares about are:
- Your solution
- Business model
- Underlying magic/technology
- Marketing and sales
- Projections and milestones
- Status and timeline
- Summary and call to action
Read more: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html#ixzz0XW8WIxS7
After you've collected your ideas, pitch it. Pitch it to your close business mentors and associates, pitch it to your girlfriend, spouse, people in your target market. Pitch, rinse, and repeat.
And when you're ready to take the presentation to the next level to put a finer point on it, check out Presentation Zen. Thanks Catherine for turning me onto it.