Creating a Successful Elevator Pitch for Your Business

Business networking event

“So what do you do?” It’s a common question in your work and personal life and when you’re starting or running a business, it holds more weight. This is your opportunity to get that person interested and on board with your venture and potentially be part of growing your business.

A well-crafted elevator pitch can open the door to funders and investors, engage new clients, and take your business to new heights.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to create an elevator pitch that sparks interest and puts your best foot forward for your business.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short description of you and/or your business that generates interest from your audience. You should be able to deliver it in the time it takes for a short elevator ride and includes the most important (and interesting) information about you and/or your business.

In your elevator pitch, you want to concisely and passionately explain what’s innovative about your business and what sets it apart from your competitors. It should stir enough interest in your audience that they offer you an opportunity to go into further detail.

Your elevator pitch needs to quickly capture attention, clearly articulate your value proposition, and inspire action for your audience.

When do you use an elevator pitch?

Think of an elevator pitch as a sales pitch that can be used to introduce your business and brand to:

  • Potential clients who may be comparing your services or products to your competitors
  • Lenders and investors at networking events and meetings
  • Vendors, potential colleagues and employees that you want to engage
  • Media representatives who can provide publicity opportunities for your business

Consistency is important for elevator pitches. You want the same messages about your business to be shared across your audiences, but you can also make small adjustments to ensure it’s relevant to that particular audience.

What should be included in an elevator pitch?

Great elevator pitches are short (about 7-8 sentences, or 100 words) while still covering key information about your business. Finding this balance can be tricky, so here are some tips to help you get started:

1. Carefully plan and draft your elevator pitch

Provide context: Every elevator pitch should start off with a general introduction of yourself, your business, and your products or services. Keep this part short (about 20 words or 10 seconds) but informative. The context you provide here will lay the foundation for the rest of your pitch.

Define the need or the problem: In about 70-75 words (or 35 seconds) tell your audience about a need or a problem that will resonate with them using real-world examples. This will give your audience something to relate to and capture their attention.

Describe the solution: Create a narrative that explains how your products or services fill the need you mentioned. Be sure to include key information about your target market and customer-base, such as key metrics and data points. This personal connection will effectively engage your audience, and make your business seem relatable.

Inspire action: End your pitch by suggesting an opportunity to follow up on the conversation. For example, you can ask them to schedule a follow-up meeting, invite them out for coffee, suggest a phone call, exchange business cards, or connect on LinkedIn. Whatever you do, make sure you come out of the pitch with a concrete plan to follow up with your listener.

2. Perfect your message

Now that you have a framework for your elevator pitch, spend time drafting and reviewing it to perfect it. As you’re writing, be sure to avoid industry jargon and acronyms as well as long words or phrases that could slip you up when you’re reciting it later.

Here’s an example of what a successful elevator pitch could look like using the framework above:

  • Provide context: “Hello, my name is ___, I’m the founder and CEO of Green Clean & Co. We provide eco-friendly cleaning services to businesses of all sizes.”
  • Define the need or the problem: “With the increasing public awareness of environmental issues and a growing need to meet sustainability targets, businesses are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to traditional cleaning services that use products and practices that are detrimental to both their employees’ health and the planet.”
  • Describe the solution: “At Green Clean, our trained staff only use all-natural, biodegradable cleaning products and equipment that deliver excellent performance without compromising on safety, cleanliness, or sustainability. Our products are free from harsh chemicals and are packaged using recycled material making us a responsible choice for environmentally conscious buyers.”
  • Prompt action: “Would it make sense to discuss how our services can help your company meet its sustainability targets? Let’s schedule a meeting to explore potential partnership opportunities.”

3. Practice your delivery

As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” so take time to practice and perfect your delivery. Here’s what you should consider when practicing your pitch:

  • Practice it out loud until it’s perfect in content, tone and delivery. Elevator pitches are supposed to be as engaging as they are informative, so it’s important that you deliver your message clearly and passionately.
  • Watch your timing. Before pitching to your intended audience, time yourself and make sure that you stick to the timeframe you’re given. If you speak too quickly, you’ll come across as nervous and if speak too slowly, you’ll lose your audience’s attention.
  • Purposefully practice your body language to convey confidence and enthusiasm. Watching other speakers’ TED and TEDX talk videos can give you a good idea of how body language impacts delivery. Although these are longer than elevator pitches, they can provide a good visual reference on the body language and delivery tactics that resonate positively with audiences.

The power of the perfect elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch is an amazing tool to show why your business is destined for success in just a few sentences. By perfecting its content and your delivery, you’ll always be ready to engage people with a compelling message that sparks excitement and interest in your business.

Spend some time working on your elevator pitch, then when you’re ready to take your business to the next level, talk to Pursuit! It’s our goal to help small businesses like yours grow and thrive. With more than 15 business loan programs and business advisory services, we’ll help you find the funding that best fits your needs.

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