Ditch Your Startup’s Pitch Deck and Unleash Your Sales Deck Instead

Before you scale you need to grow, before you grow you need to sell

Joe Procopio
4 min readMay 26, 2022


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Sometimes we forget that starting a business is about selling customers things they need.

You can probably blame the equity-meets-live-action theater of Shark Tank for that. Or maybe it’s the stylized chase of the billion-dollar valuation in the Facebook movie The Social Network. You could even throw shade at the satirical silliness of Mike Judge’s Silicon Valley — if you take that show seriously (and you should — there’s more truth in any episode of that show than there is in most business bestsellers).

But despite how Hollywood portrays the road to startup riches, you’d be surprised how many times a wildly successful startup quietly evolves from a small business into a high-growth venture, built on an existing infrastructure by a team that already has a track record of generating revenue.

And you’d be shocked at how much easier that is to pull off.

Back In My Day, Startups Weren’t Trendy!

I know. OK, grandpa. But let me illustrate with an example.

Last week, an entrepreneur submitted a question about the “right way” to spin a product out of his existing consulting company, noting that what he was doing seemed counterintuitive to how a startup should start these days.

“It used to be that companies would grow products [internally] — until startups became trendy. But not all products are born within a startup.”

He’s got a point. Startups certainly are more trendy than they used to be, but I think his complaint isn’t with the trendiness of startups themselves, the problem is the trendiness of how those startups get started.

Earlier I praised the veracity of Silicon Valley, a wicked spin on west coast high-tech, high-growth startup culture. Furthermore, Judge isn’t just skewering Palo Alto and taking thinly-veiled jabs at Google (Hooli). A lot of what happened in that show happened to me. In Durham, NC. In real time. Only it wasn’t as funny in real life.



Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com