Imagine one day you are walking into a commercial building or office space to meet a client and you’re lost in thoughts about your business. After all, entrepreneurs spend a lot of time thinking about their businesses. So you get into the lift you realize that standing next to you is a prominent entrepreneur whom you have always wanted to meet. Somebody you always thought would invest in your startup. You say hi to this mentor hoping he will answer you and sure as hell he does. Back in your mind you know that your business needs a big investment to reach its goals. That one person who can help is finally in the elevator with you and you don’t know what to do. Your mind is racing fast because you are not sure what to say to get him interested in your business. Then, while you are stuck somewhere between planet Mars and Earth, you hear his voice. He asks a question. And it goes like this, “So what do you do?”
That question hits you so hard. Unfortunately for you, instead of offering the smooth pitch you’ve always wanted to give this investor, you get sweaty and shaky. You are staring at the elevator buttons, but you see nothing. Time is running out, it’s now been 15 seconds since the billionaire guy asked you a question. Right there and then, you want to just disappear because it dawns on you that you have at least 30 seconds before the elevator stops and the best opportunity ever disappears into thin air. Realizing that time is not on your side you start blubbering a whole load of sentences about, programming and who knows what else. By the time you are done, the elevator has come to a halt and your potential business partner and investor is walking out and saying, “best of luck with your product.”
And just like that, a huge opportunity turns into the worst day of your life, because you watched your dream fly out through an elevator… yet you were so so close. Very close. How sad?! Whichever way you look at it, you lost. You don’t know what your company is about, plain and simple. If you knew, you would be able to tell him about it in 30 seconds and in less than 100 extremely simple words. And he would have gotten fascinated and responded by saying, “Tell me more.” But he didn’t. So, what went wrong? You didn’t perfect your pitch beforehand, that’s what.
How do you avoid this problem next time? Always be prepared to bump into that golden investor or the potential business partner who you’ve had your eye on for a while now. Don’t hope that when the time comes you will have time to practice your pitch in a corner and also deliver the perfect performance before the elevator grinds to a halt.
You might meet this investor again someday, or even some other investor. This time around you should be prepared to deliver the perfect elevator pitch. But how do you create a great elevator pitch that will get investors interested in your business?
1. Know your business and its purpose
Knowing why the business was born and what it does is the most excellent thing you could ever do. These two aspects of your business will help you develop an outline for your elevator pitch, at the very least . When you know this, it’s very easy to craft the perfect pitch. Understanding your business’ purpose, vision and mission as well as the market is the first step to creating an easy-to-understand elevator pitch. Once you know this, then explaining your business in 300 words becomes very easy. In fact, instead of being caught unprepared, you will be crossing your fingers as you wait for someone to ask, “What is your company about?”
Revise that 300 word statement until it explains exactly what your business is about as well as its purpose.
Why did you create this business? Why is your business idea better than what already exists in the market? You should have an answer to as many whys as possible. Telling us why your business was created and why you think what you have is better than your competitors’ products will add value to your elevator pitch. Once you’ve answered those why questions correctly, go back to the 300 word elevator pitch you wrote in step one. Read through it. Did you answer any whys? If you didn’t, fix it.
3. Why would a customer choose you over the competition?
You can be 100 percent assured that the person looking to invest in your business will ask this question. Go back to your 300 word pitch and check if you answered this question. If you didn’t, fix it.
4. Use more questions to make the pitch better
You could actually present your pitch in a question-answer format. In order to do this, all you need to do is imagine all the questions the person you’re talking to could ask, and answer those questions. This will not only make things easier for you but also make your pitch more engaging for your audience.
5. Review it over and over again
If you met an investor in an elevator like I described earlier, you have at most 30 to 45 seconds to pitch your startup to them. What you want to do with the 300-word elevator pitch is to revise it and revise it until it’s less than 100 words. That should be a killer statement. In those 30 to 45 seconds, you need to cover the following details:
- A little background information about what inspired you to come up with your business idea. This should be around 15 words.
- Some information on the problem your company intends to solve. This should be around 15 words.
- How your company is solving the problem. This should be around 25 words.
- What is the future of this market? In 15 words say where you see the market in the next 10 years.
- Where will your company be in the future of this market in 10 years? In 15 words say how your company will be impacting the market in 10 years keeping in mind your predicted future of this market.
There you have it – 85 words, split into 5 simple sentences. This is the length of a perfect 30-second pitch. Rehearse this pitch as much as you can. When you finally meet an investor, present your pitch in a natural way. Stay calm and you should be fine.
While you’re presenting your pitch, remember the following:
6. Simple, Compelling, and Objective is better
Anyone can complicate things. The real art is in making complex things simple, objective and compelling enough. Let your pitch be simple, don’t go into complex scientific terms or programming languages.
How do you know if your elevator pitch is successful?
Go to the office or get a friend or family member. Use them as your audience. Tell them what your business is about then wait for their reaction:
- Did they get hooked?
- Did they say “Tell me more?”
- Did they listen to you without interrupting?
If the answers to these questions are “yes” then your pitch is good to go. Keep your original 300-word pitch in mind because if they get hooked, they will begin to ask questions to find out more about the product and the market. As a genius startup founder, you should be wise enough to bring all the other important points you left out in the 30-second elevator pitch when this happens.
Giving a compelling elevator pitch isn’t complicated if you prepare in advance. Using the tips above, you can fascinate potential business partners or investors with your brand story.
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