One of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur is learn how to speak about your business to others. This BizConnect guide will provide you with all of the resources you need to develop an effective elevator pitch.
Download the Elevator Pitch Worksheet
Click here to download: Elevator pitch development worksheet (Word Doc)
Click here to download: Elevator pitch development worksheet (Pdf)
What is an Elevator Pitch?
To put it simply, an elevator pitch is pre-prepared speech of no longer than one minute that sums up exactly what your business does, without sounding like an infomercial.
Think of what you would say to someone who asked what you did but they only had a minute to spare. An elevator speech can be used to introduce yourself to new customers or potential investors. Your speech should be intriguing enough to initiate further conversation around your business, where you can then sell them on the idea. Preparing this pitch provides you with a powerful and effective tool that you can use anytime and anyplace.
What Are Investors Looking for in a Pitch?
One of the most important things to remember is that investors do not want you to try and sell them your business idea in your elevator speech. They simply want to know what you do first.
The rest of your pitch can now be more detailed and speak to why they should invest in your business. Getting in front of an investor can be quite difficult to begin with so being prepared should be your top priority. Here are a few tips to use as you prepare for your meeting:
- Know your business inside and out. Ideally you should have been involved with the development of your business plan. If you weren’t then ensure you fully understand every aspect of it before you present it
- Prepare for questions. Investors will usually ask a number of different questions so it will be worth your while to anticipate themk. Prepare a pitch deck that contains answers to potential questions around your business idea
- Watch your tone. The way you present your business idea during and after your elevator pitch also affects the outcome. Avoid sounding dull and boring. You should be able to read your audience as you go along and then adjust your tone accordingly
- Stay passionate. Show your passion for your small business idea by knowing as much as possible about your offering and the market that you will be operating in
- Know your investor. Take the time to research the investor that you’ll be meeting with to ensure that your offering falls into a category that he is interested in
Watch a few elevator speeches in action on the Dragons’ Den YouTube Channel.
Tips for Preparing Your Elevator Speech
There are a few key tips that you can keep in mind as you develop your elevator pitch in order to help you stand out from the rest when presenting your small business idea.
- Avoid jargon. Try not to irritate your listener by using buzzwords that make it sound like a straight-out sales pitch.
- Practice is everything. Try your pitch out on as many people as you can. Their feedback might mean the difference between getting the funding or not
- See it as a taster. Aim to leave your listener wanting more once you are done with your speech. Your pitch should leave someone with several questions that can then lead to a more in-depth conversation
- Be enthusiastic. Give your pitch a little energy and display why you believe in your idea
- Sound natural. When you create your pitch you need to believe in it too. This paired with some practice will ensure that you sound conversational and not like a recording
- Keep it flexible. Everyone is different and your elevator pitch should be flexible enough to cater to the person you are speaking to. Know your speech well enough to be able to change it up a bit depending on your listener and what would appeal to them
Download the investor pitch cheat sheet for extra guidance.