Creating an Appealing Elevator Pitch

Who hasn’t heard about a legendary “elevator pitch?” A smart up-and-comer catches a successful investor in an elevator and in about one minute describes their start-up idea wowing the investor and securing needed funding.

The odds of you needing to pitch your business idea to an investor in an elevator are, admittedly, slim, but the idea is an important one. You should be able to describe your business in 60 to 120 seconds. You never know when you’re going to be at a trade show, in a grocery store, or in a hotel lobby and run into that one person you really need to wow. It’s best to be prepared.

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There are three critical elements to a successful elevator pitch. The first element is to pinpoint what your company does to make money, whether it’s a product or a service, and what the benefits of your product or service are. Avoid spending a lot of time on how your product works, particularly if it’s technical and complicated. Focus on the value your service or product provides to customers.

The second element is to compare yourself to an existing company. Though your instinct may be to avoid comparison for fear of looking inferior. It’s a mistake to avoid comparison, though. Your company is unique; if it’s not, you should probably give more thought to your business or product. Don’t be afraid to mention other companies to which you may be similar.

Don’t just stop at your similarities, though. Also outline what makes you different. If the company you’re using for comparison is your competition, explain what makes your company different and better, which should draw your potential investor’s attention.

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Finally, explain why your product is needed. Support this with a couple of memorable facts. Show your potential investor why your product is going to meet a market need in a way other companies won’t.

Before you run out and pitch your business, make certain to practice your pitch. Practice it until it’s smooth, clear, and, of course, brief.


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