When time is of the essence, “getting to the point” is a rare skill that’s difficult to hone. During a pitch, it’s easy to go off on a tangent and get lost in your own enthusiasm, but sometimes all your boss or bank manager wants to hear is fine detail, not the entire business model. Here’s where the elevator pitch kicks in to help you out.
What is an elevator pitch?
The clue is in the name. An elevator pitch is a short, sharp, concise and compelling introduction to an idea that can be communicated and understood very quickly – think getting in the lift and going from the ground floor to the 15th floor.
It’s a pitch that needs to grab its intended target, not in minutes or hours but seconds. It’s useful not just when you have the brief attention of a major investor, but in any networking event or sales pitch where you want to get your salient points and the value of your business across without dithering. And it’s a lot easier said than done.
How to write an elevator pitch
Condensing something that means everything to you and nothing to them into a pitch that could comfortably fit on the back of a credit card can be daunting. But it’s a task that’s much easier to digest if you compartmentalise it. So, whether you’re trying to interest investors in your company or are on the lookout for potential partners, here are the five steps to making that perfect elevator pitch.
Pick out what stands out. Take a blank sheet of paper and write down everything that would be unique about your business from an outsider’s perspective. Then add what you’ve achieved since you started, what your goals are and what you would want anyone discovering your service or product for the first time to immediately take away from it.
Cut the chaff. Sit back, look at what you’ve written and cast a critical eye over it. What reads like dull business jargon? What parts can be removed without losing anything and is there any information that needs expanding upon?
Put order to the chaos. Take your most important points and arrange them into a few sentences that make sense and tell a good story. Your elevator pitch should focus on who you are, what you do, how you do it, why you do it and who you do it for. If you can achieve that in under a minute then you’re on the right track.
Start with a bang. Pretend your pitch is an email that needs an exciting subject line. This should be how you begin your speech – with an interesting fact or shocking statistic that underlines the very core of your business and what it is about it that everyone should find so intriguing.
Record and practice. There’s a lot to be said for practising your pitch to both your colleagues and your friends and family (or anyone willing to listen that can be objective). Something that sounds thrilling to you may seem convoluted and dull to the casual observer and if you can’t excite them, you’re unlikely to excite any investors. Try recording your pitch then analyse it, picking apart the inconsistencies, the repetition and the moments where you notice the energy dropping.
The elevator pitch as a tool
Once you’ve mastered these five steps, you should be ready to go forward with your pitch. And remember, this is not just a one-time pitch but a tool to keep in your back pocket whenever the opportunity arises. It might just be the tool that makes that all-important difference between your business’s survival and its success.
We can help
If you’re interested in how to utilise your businesses finances as part of your elevator pitch and would like to find out more then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.