Elevator Pitch: Define, Compose, Practice and Polish! (Rinse and Repeat)
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Define and Compose
To make sure you’re ready to seize the moment when fate puts you on that elevator with Mr. Moneybags, here we give you our advice on delivering an effective “elevator pitch” in as little as a one-minute ride. After all, Mr. Moneybags is always in a hurry and you’ve got to hook him quickly or you’ll never see him again!
You have to convey all the essential information in a clear and concise manner, communicating in a tone that’s likeable, passionate, compelling and credible.
Remember, the elevator pitch is not designed to take the place of a solid business plan, but is simply intended to capture the attention of a potential investor. If you achieve that, the odds are good that you’ll get a chance to present your business idea in more detail at a later time (which makes having a complete business plan a must).
When you deliver an elevator pitch, you have to clearly and succinctly address the following points:
- What’s the idea?
- What’s the status of the idea or business?
- What market or markets does the business address and are there any testimonials or customer feedback?
- Why do you believe you have the advantage in the marketplace relative to the market needs?
- What’s the competition in the marketplace?
- What’s the revenue model (such as “e-commerce,” or “wholesale”)?
- Who’s the team that’s going to make the business succeed?
- What’s the longer term vision, the “end-game,” for the business and the projected return on investment for investors? (some examples are: “the business will distribute big profits to investors from cash flow by year X”, or “the business will be acquired by another company for $XYZ”)
- What’s the total funding required to execute the business plan?
- What amount of financing are you seeking initially and what are the terms of investment?
The order of these points can be changed around depending upon your strengths. If, for example, you’ve got the most amazing and experienced management team, by all means, bump that up front. Or, if you’ve got incredible initial sales results or testimonials, then mention that earlier. Whatever you believe is most compelling, you have to try to mesmerize Mr. Moneybags before he gets off the elevator!
Example Elevator Pitch
Read the pitch out loud and time it – you’ll see that it can be done in 60 seconds or less. You’ll need to be able to pitch your idea in the same amount of time.
“Our company is called ConstructionBoots.com, an e-commerce website that sells brandname construction boots. There are currently no companies serving this niche exclusively. ConstructionBoots.com will drive traffic to the site by linking to other websites catering to the construction industry as well as through word-of-mouth. In industry surveys, over 90% of construction workers have these three traits: 1) they have a favorite brand of boots, 2) they know their size, and 3) they hate shopping at stores. In our own polling, over 70% indicated that they would prefer to buy their boots online and have them delivered. Accordingly, we expect a great market response and rapid sales ramp-up.
We need $1.5 million in funding to get to the point where the company is self-sustaining. This should happen in the middle of our second year. Right now, we’re seeking $500,000 of initial funding in exchange for a 30% ownership stake in the company. I am the CEO with lots of operational experience and deep contacts with boot manufacturers. Our Marketing Director was instrumental in the growth and recent sale of a very successful e-commerce clothing company. If we hit our numbers, we expect to be able to sell ConstructionBoots.com to a ‘brick and mortar’ retailer within 3 years.”
Practice and Polish
When you get your big chance in the real world to deliver your brilliant pitch for your business, you better nail it! Who knows if you’ll ever have an opportunity again to make a positive impression on that would-be investor.
That’s why it’s so important that you have complete mastery of your pitch. You must practice, practice, practice and be able to deliver the pitch with no hesitation in a very quick, concise and compelling manner.
For real-world effectiveness—as in the videos for this contest—we recommend that you do a fair number of dry runs. You might,
- Practice in front of the mirror
- Practice in front of the video camera
- Even better, test out your pitch and polish it to perfection by asking discerning friends, family members and business associates to give a listen. Their critiques could prove invaluable in helping you hone what you ultimately include and the way you present the information.
At the end of this process, you’ll have an elevator-ready pitch that’s smooth and full of sizzle. Your goal? To get the potential investor to ask, “How can I learn more?” If you achieve that, you’re on your way.