Crafting an Elevator Pitch

A solid elevator pitch is a vital tool that helps you to raise capital for a business opportunity.  A good pitch creates interest. At its core, an elevator pitch is an intriguing one to two minute conversation (preferably one minute) that communicates the key features of the business opportunity. 

Do your homework before crafting your elevator pitch. More than likely, bits of your business plan will be peppered throughout your pitch.  Here are some key components of an elevator pitch. 

The Problem- State clearly and succinctly (one or two sentences) the problem your product solves.  Try some variations for explaining the problem such as making it personal by telling a real life story or posing a question that discusses the problem. If you find a great statistic that clearly elucidates the problem use it. The goal is to entice the audience to care about the problem. 

After developing a problem statement, be sure that you are able to communicate it in less than 20 seconds. 

The Solution- Be able to present your solution at a high level using a few sentences or bullet points.  Here are some questions to consider to help you with developing a solution statement:

  • Is your solution easy or difficult for your audience to use or adopt? Why or How?
  • How would the solution benefit the customers, (i.e., save time, reduce costs, increase quality, earn them more money,)?
  • Are benefits from the product/service received immediately?

Target Market- Be able to easily explain how many potential customers have the problem your product solves.  Discuss the market segments for your product. Explain how many potential customers are in each segment.  Define how your solution attracts these segments. 

Competition- State the unique selling position your product/service has to gain market share.  Tell your audience the advantages/benefits your product/service has over the competition.

Management- This is your opportunity to toot your own horn about how you and your team have what it takes to take advantage of the business opportunity.  Briefly state the skill sets your team has to execute the business strategy successfully.

Numbers- For a pitch, you don’t need to present a 5-year financial projection.  However, you should be able to easily explain how money generates in the company (i.e., the business model).  Be able to discuss costs and expenses.  You can show them financial projections later. 

Achievements- Discuss the accomplishments of your business.   For example, you have a patent pending or maybe you have a strong strategic partnership.  Achievements give credibility to your business. 

Here are some suggestions for “pitching.”

Keep it short.  Don’t worry about the formal paperwork yet. Non-disclosure agreements usually happen when you have interested parties.  If you have trade secrets or intellectual property that you are concerned about do not disclose the contents of this information during the pitch.  This is the time to confidently broadcast that you know exactly what you're doing.   If you are raising money, communicate how much you want and how much equity you're willing to part with.

Get comfortable. You don’t want to sound like a pre-recorded program.  Rehearse your pitch until it sounds genuine.  Be sure to pitch to colleagues to get some feedback. 

Keep it simple. Use language that you can pronounce easily to avoid stumbling.  Speak in laymen terms.  This will make it easier for your audience to understand and you will not bore them to tears.  It’s okay to bring a little fun to the pitch.  Remember your goal is to generate interest. 

Go on a road show.  Start meeting with industry people.  Get some feedback.  Make some changes.  The only way you will get better is to start pitching.    

 

Toni Sears