How to sell your business to investors in less than 20 minutes

Guy Kawasaki's 10/20/30 presentation rule


Guy Kawasaki has gained enough experience to know from the onset if a business pitch will be a success or a disaster. 

Kawasaki is an American serial entrepreneur who's been involved with blue chip companies like Apple and Motorola, and is currently the chief evangelist of Canva - an online graphic design tool.

In an article posted on his website earlier this month,  Kawasaki says he's evangelising the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. 

"It's quite simple. A pitch should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points," says Kawasaki.

"This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc," he writes.

Here are Kawakasi's key steps for the 10/20/30 rule.

1. Why not more than 10 slides?

Kawasaki says 10 slides is the optimal number of slides in a PowerPoint presentation because a normal human being cannot comprehend more than ten concepts in a meeting.

"If you must use more than ten slides to explain your business, you probably don’t have a business," he says.

According to Kawasaki, the most important elements your pitching slides should include are: the problem your business solves, value proposition, business model, market plan, competitive analysis, financial projections and an outline of your management team.

2. Using time productively

According to Kawasaki, you should should be able to give your ten slides in 20 minutes.

"In a perfect world, you give your pitch in 20 minutes, and you have 40 minutes left for discussion," he says.

3. Memorise, don't read

Kawasaki says the majority of the presentations that he sees have text in a ten point font. He criticises this as the text gets jammed into the slide, and forcing the presenter to read it.

"As soon as the audience figures out that you’re reading the text, it reads ahead of you because they can read faster than you can speak. The result is that you and the audience are out of synch," he says. 

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