A good deck doesn't sell a terrible story, but a bad deck can ruin a great story. Your primary goal should be to distill your story down to 10 slides max, with as *few words as possible* on each slide. Images, product shots and graphs are all more impactful than words. A good outline is as follows:
3) Market Opportunity
5 & 6) Product Details
7) Traction / Evidence
8) Competitive Differentiation
9) Plan of attack / use of proceeds
10) Contact info / closing point.
Happy to review your deck over a call. I've helped hundreds of Clarity founders with framing their investor presentations.
your pitch deck should be crisp and short. 10-12 slides max. its core should be your product & the problem it solves, your market, your team, your execution path (timeline, subs, revs, cash burn) and your use of proceeds (cash needed and what you deliver for that cash). that's it. don't go into telling historical background, deep product specs, too many details about the team etc, that will be what you deliver once an investor is interested beyond your pitch.
you can use pitchxo.com as a template to track your deck's readers and be smart in your follow ups.
Happy to review your draft deck and give you feedback. I review over a 1000 decks per year, I see which ones get reactions and eventually funding, so I have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn't. Give me a call.
Yes, you need a pitch deck, and yes, make it good. Investors want to be blown away by the opportunity, and by you as the person with the vision to make it happen. Eight slides is optimal - make the opportunity clear at the top so it's obvious what problem you're solving and why the market needs it. Every meeting with an investor is a review - take their feedback and keep iterating. There are tons of great examples online - do a deep-dive and see what kinds of templates and tone work for you. I advise startups on their comms all the time, happy to discuss.
I'd like to send some good resources we used for our deck:
How to deliver a killer business presentation: http://mashable.com/2012/02/03/improve-business-presentation/
How you can pitch for 5 to 6 minutes like a Techstars graduate: http://blog.spanishcurls.com/the-5-to-6-minute-pitch
14 things to avoid in your startup pitch deck: http://blog.press42.com/index.php/2013/01/16/14-donts-startup-pitch-deck/
The popular 10/20/30 Rule: http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2005/12/the_102030_rule.html
A good pitch deck is important for the serious entrepreneur. You and your team should focus enough time on your deck to ensure you have covered all essential areas:
- Problem + Market/Opportunity;
- Your Solution/Benefits/Product;
- Team + Advisory Board;
- Financials (Ask, Cash Burn, Runway, Funding Usage);
There is no telling how long you should invest in creating the pitch deck. When these essential areas are covered, you can consider your pitch deck complete. You should regularly update it based on product/financials changes and investor feedback.
And yes, you should have your pitch reviewed by an investor if there is one available. Be aware, though, that only investors that might realistically invest will give valuable feedback. If you ask feedback to an investor that is not in your area or is not interested in your project, he will give you "generic" feedback that might not be useful. What you want is specific tailored feedback from investors that truly match your company/product.