Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a project manager or an employee, the elevator pitch is a tool everyone must master. But, what is an elevator pitch? An elevator pitch is a short summary that defines your product or service, the benefits it provides, and the audience that could use it. The term elevator pitch reflects the idea that you can briefly explain the components of your business in the length of an elevator ride, approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. And, if delivered correctly, you may spark the catalyst that grows your business in as little as thirty seconds.
I believe a perfect elevator pitch is so important that I devoted a chapter to it in my book, “Start Me Up! The No Business Plan, Business Plan.” Here are some of my tips for perfecting your elevator pitch.
Simplicity is the Key!
Your elevator pitch should be simple, concise and answer the recipient’s question, “What’s in it for me?” It should also avoid common platitudes, excessive adjectives and grammatical filler. So, stay away from words and phrases like, “Revolutionary,” “Innovative,” or “One-of-a-kind!” The reality is very few ideas will ever meet the standard of these descriptors. Unless your idea is actually “revolutionary” like the next internet, electricity, the refrigerator, television, microwave ovens or the railroad, using platitudes and excessive adjectives can have a discoloring effect on your great idea. The person listening now has to sift through the excess words to get to the point of your pitch.
Key Takeaway: If you have only thirty seconds to two minutes, keep it as simple and as manageable as possible.
The Components of a Great Elevator Pitch
Your perfect elevator pitch should answer the following questions:
1. What is the name of your company and/or product?
2. What does your company and/or product do?
3. What problem does your company and/or product solve?
4. What is the major benefit that your customers will experience from using your product and/or service?
Your elevator pitch may be easier to create once you’ve asked and answered those questions. Here’s an example of an elevator pitch from the small business owner of a web design company with whom I recently worked.
“Simple, straightforward, goal-focused Web design for trade professionals and service businesses, with a focus on helping woman- and minority-owned companies. We also help businesses get started with foundational, long-lasting marketing strategies.”
“XYZ, LLC is a web design firm providing web and marketing services to women and minority professionals and their service-based businesses. Our turnkey services make it easier for these professionals to focus on their businesses instead of worrying about IT issues.”
See how the “after” pitch is much better? It addresses the following important areas:
- Opportunity: What problem are you solving? You should explain the current need that your business will meet or solve.
- Customer Benefit: What benefits will the customer receive from working with you?
- Timing: Why does this opportunity exist and why are you the one to address it?
The art of effective communication is just as important as the idea itself. Your ability to share your company’s vision with potential investors and customers can be the difference between failing and succeeding! Creating the perfect elevator pitch will not guarantee venture capital investments or bank loans, but it could improve the chances of you meeting the person who can connect you to the right people.
About the Author
Ebong Eka is a CPA and tax & small business expert frequently featured on MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business Channel, NBC and CNN. On top of his television appearances, Eka is a Huffington Post blogger and the author of Start Me Up! The No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.