One of the most common things I hear from companies who want to raise money is, “I need a great pitch deck.” Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a great pitch deck. Having one is a key part of your toolkit when you go out to talk to investors.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that a great pitch deck is the result of more detailed work that is done before the work on the pitch deck starts. You can’t develop a compelling story, without first developing the underlying foundation.

That’s why there is still a place for a business plan and a strong set of financial projections. The work done to create those two items can be time-consuming and frustrating. You may find that some of your assumptions don’t stand up to scrutiny. You may find out that when you run the numbers that your pricing strategy just doesn’t work. You may find out that you need to raise more money that you initially thought.

It might not feel like it at the time, but running into those roadblocks is part of the journey. You are far better off to work through those issues before you start on your first slide. You need to know and understand your market before you try to summarize it on one slide.

Think of it this way. A great pitch deck is like an outline of a great book. You can only create the outline if you read the book. Otherwise you’re just making it up.