Should You Use a Pitch Deck Template?
There are a few choices when designing a pitch deck. One question to consider is whether or not you can leverage an existing pitch deck template to make the process smoother?
There are a few choices when designing a pitch deck. You can either 1) do it yourself or; 2) take a shot at the pieces you feel confident about, such as the outline but not the graphics; 3) outsource to a pitch deck design firm. One question to consider, especially if #1 or #2 is the direction you are leaning in, is whether or not you can leverage an existing pitch deck template to make the process smoother?
The Pros of Using a Pitch Deck Template
Don’t get me wrong, there is an art to designing what I call an “investor ready” pitch deck. From structuring the order of the slides (I don’t always use the exact same slides on the pitch decks I design 😁) to deciding the text that will go on each slide (you should limit the amount text).
If you have some experience writing to tell a story you should be able to make at least a decent go of it yourself. If you aren’t skilled at telling a story, concisely, then maybe hire someone else.
What I found to be the hardest part of pitch deck design is producing an aesthetically pleasing, i.e. “beautiful”, deck. I’m not a trained graphic designer and it took me years to produce what I felt was a beautifully designed pitch deck.
That is one place where you can benefit from using a pitch deck template. If it was produced by someone graphically talented then using a template means you are starting off with a visually appealing document.
Another plus of a template is that you should be starting off with a good structure. That structure should help in two ways. First, you should have all the normal slides that deck should have. Such as the following: Title, Problem, Solution, Market, Team, etc. Second, the structure on each individual slide should be largely set for you. Including some graphics you can make work with limited customization needed.
What all of that existing structure and graphical work means for you is that you will save energy and time trying to get a quality pitch deck built.
The Cons of Using a Pitch Deck Template
Using a pitch deck template can have some challenges.
Probably the first one you have to consider is whether or not you can find a template that will work for you with minimal customization. If you end up having to change too much of the template to suit your needs then a template is just a waste of time and money. An often overlooking challenge with a template is simply knowing how to manipulate the template. Even the best template doesn’t do all the work for you. You will have to be able to make some changes. Hopefully without screwing up what’s already there. That alone can be a pain.
To that point, I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for in life. Go cheap and you usually end up getting something that is cheap, i.e. low quality. I have seen free pitch deck templates that are available on the internet. But they aren’t something I would feel good about using. The good news is that even when people charge for their template(s) they are usually affordable. My own template, that I designed and had my graphic designer make, is available at this link for $17. It is fully customizable in terms of slide order, icons (slide 13 has a bunch you can choose from), and colors. Assuming the time for the code hasn't expired you can use the discount code <halfoff> at checkout and its your’s for less than < $10.
Finally, if you buy a template your deck won’t be completely unique. While I have this as a con, I’d honestly tell you that isn’t as big of a deal as it might sound like. But, maybe that matters to you. The reality is that plenty of startups have raised money with decks that copied other pitch decks they had seen or were even the most basic, ordinary pitch decks ever.
So, let me summarize all of that in a more concise format.
- Existing graphical design
- Existing slide structure
- Existing structure on each slide
- Can save you time ⏰
- May require customization that you aren’t comfortable making
- May cost you $ 💵
- You won’t have a completely unique pitch deck
For a lot of my clients hiring me to work on their pitch deck comes down to one thing. They’d rather spend the money to get a quality, “investor ready” pitch deck that was designed by someone who is an investor themselves that knows what investors are looking for and how to best tell the story of their startup.
To me, whether or not you do it yourself while using a pitch deck template comes down to whether you want to save time and money or not. If that is important to you then give it a shot on your own. Besides, designing your own deck is a great learning experience. Even if you never share it with anyone.
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