Entrepreneurs use the term "elevator pitch" to describe the short period of time – maybe 30 seconds or less, or about five floors riding on the elevator – to communicate a business idea. During this brief encounter, you are selling your dream and, depending on your audience, asking your listener to become part of that dream. You can deliver an elevator pitch to potential investors, potential clients, and potential partners. Depending on your audience, your pitch should:
- Show how you'll make money.
- Show how you'll solve problems.
- Show how you, with the involvement of other parties, will be successful in building your business.
Determine what makes your business idea uniqueEvery business needs an angle – offering a new solution to a problem, sharing a unique skill set with customers, or providing an innovative product or service to a niche market. What's your angle? What makes your product or service different or better?
Write itYour elevator pitch is similar to an executive summary of a business plan, but shorter, more concise, and with snappy, engaging sentences and no jargon. The goal of the elevator pitch is to capture the listener's attention. Your primary objective is to move the listener to the next step in the selling process.
Practice itIt's difficult to think on your feet when the elevator is moving. By practicing your pitch, you can deliver your message naturally and passionately when the pressure is on. Strive for consistency. Time yourself. Practice delivering the pitch to various audiences: investors, customers, and partners.
Solicit feedbackIt's important to hear other people's reactions to your pitch. You are your business. You know your business concept intimately. Allowing others to listen and provide feedback will allow you to hear your words through the ears of others. Listen well and fine-tune your delivery accordingly.
Be prepared for follow-up questionsOne of the goals of your elevator pitch is to open the door for more detailed and engaging conversation between you and your listener. Make a list of ten questions that interested parties may ask you to learn more about your business. Know the answers to these questions as well as you know the pitch itself.
- Leave the listener with a question to engage him in further conversation.
- Share your passion, not just your knowledge. Passion is contagious.
- Use the elevator pitch to sell yourself as well as your business. Apply the elevator pitch strategy to many aspects of your life.