Content that introduces your business to people is important for the growth of the business. It is especially important for a business that is starting up.

Most start up founders understand this and do put in a lot of time and effort in creating quality and visually appealing content in the form of a detailed business plan, a presentation to share the business plan with potential clients, a snazzy website, and other marketing collaterals that they share over social media or email to connect and engage with, or gain customers and investors.

But, quite a few of them forget to or simply do not know how to prepare an elevator pitch.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

Much like the “elevator” that helps take people up or down, an “elevator pitch” has the power to take a business up or down.

 Investopedia has defined an elevator pitch as “A slang term used to describe a brief speech that outlines an idea for a product, service or project. The name comes from the notion that the speech should be delivered in the short time period of an elevator ride, usually 20-60 seconds”.

In simple words, an elevator pitch is a brief and clear description of what your business does or of its consumer offering. It should be short enough that it can be delivered within a minute but interesting enough to get you that meeting to share the business plan – give your sales pitch. Yes, a sales pitch and an elevator pitch are two different concepts.

The elevator pitch is what gets you the opportunity to present your sales pitch. And, this is exactly why it is so important.

Apart from helping you to get noticed by potential clients and investors, an elevator pitch also helps in connecting with other relevant people from the industry during networking and corporate events. It can even come in handy when you want to introduce your business or work to potential employees.

What Exactly Does an Elevator Pitch Include?

Now that we’ve agreed upon the importance and need for an elevator pitch, here’s what you need to keep in mind while preparing one.

Follow the KISS principleKeep it short & Simple. We cannot stress this point enough. Given that we have only a minute to deliver this pitch, we need to ensure that it is crisp, short, and simple, but does not compromise on the matter. Try not to use unnecessary business jargon or fluff words in the pitch.

Use the YOU Attitude – Put the interest of the listeners first. Tell them within the first few sentences “what’s in it for them”, how they will gain by partnering, investing, or working in your company.

Business Information– The main focus in the elevator pitch should be on introducing the core product/service of your business. It should be the “hero” of the pitch, and be presented in a way that would generate interest in the listener. You should be able to convey what problem or gap your business is going to address. Why is your business important and how is it different from others in the same industry. Highlight the USP.

Data–  A minute or so would not really give you too much time to go in-depth about your business, but everyone wants and likes data. Of course, data also makes making decisions easier. Your elevator pitch should include some basic data like your business turnover, your and your competitor’s market share, industry size, growth rate, expected ROI from your business, number of employees, etc.

Customization  While gathering information to include in an elevator pitch, list down two or three important aspects of your business that would interest each category of people that you would want to connect with. For example- What would an investor want to know? What do the customers find interesting? and What would a potential employee look out for? I.e. The Business’s USP for every segment that you what to connect with. Use this information to build customized pitches for each segment so that the interaction is relevant to them and worth their time.

Culture – Culture is big these days. It’s also important that the people you connect with and bring into your business fit into the organization’s culture. So, it’s very important that from the word go – the culture of your company and the values that are important to you are clear in your communication.

End it on a Positive Note – How you end the conversation to an extent determines the next course of action that your listener will take. If you end it abruptly and without any indication of a wish to pursue the association further, the entire conversation will be forgotten the minute you turn your back. But, if you end it on a positive note and give the listener a reasonto pursue it further, he would not only remember the interaction but might also follow up on it.

Practice Makes it Perfect – It’s not just enough to prepare the elevator pitch. You need to practice it enough that you can deliver it without requiring any prompting (there’s never going to be any), and embarrassing pauses. Practice the pitch with your team till you get it completely right. Make your client facing team also do the same. The delivery should be natural, it’s about your business after all.

If you already have an elevator pitch, assess it again with these points in mind. If you don’t, then start preparing one immediately. Just remember, it’s for “elevating” “your business” to the “next level”.

March 30, 2017
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