How to Give a Successful Elevator Pitch for Small Business Owners

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A great elevator pitch is an essential small business tool. In just about 60 seconds or so, an elevator pitch enables you to tell others the key points that distinguish your business and brand. They’ve been used throughout business history and the best ones help entrepreneurs open the door to funders and investors, engage new clients and gain great publicity.

In this article, we look at the goals and primary components of an elevator pitch, and share tips to help you create a stellar elevator pitch for your business.

What is an “elevator pitch”?

The term “elevator pitch” was coined to define a very brief summary of a business. In essence, it’s the critical information that you’d tell someone if you were taking an average elevator ride with them. The goal is to concisely yet passionately explain what’s innovative about your business and what sets it apart from your competitors.

For these reasons, an elevator pitch must be compelling – it should stir enough interest in your audience that they offer you an opportunity to go into further detail at a later time or date.

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:

  • 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
  • Potential clients who may be comparing your services or products to your competitors

What are the essential elements of a great elevator pitch?

When it comes to a great elevator pitch, they must be brief – about 7-8 sentences, or 100 words – while still covering key information about your business. Finding this balance can be tricky, so we’ve outlined tips to help you get started:

Provide context:

Every great elevator pitch should start off simple with a general introduction of yourself, your business and your products or services. Keep this introduction short – about 30 words or 15 seconds – but informative, as the context you provide here will lay the foundation for the rest of your pitch.

Define the need and describe the solution:

In about 70-75 words or 35 seconds, tell your audience about a need that you see in the market and how your products or services fill this need. Be sure to include key information about your target market and customer-base, such as key metrics and data points. However, rather than just stating data, try constructing your content as a story or narrative, using real life examples if applicable. This personal connection will effectively engage your audience, and make your business seem relatable.

Perfect your message and practice your delivery:

As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” so practice and perfect your message and delivery. Here are four important things to consider while creating and practicing your pitch:

  • Spend time writing your elevator pitch. Ensure that you’ve hit on the main points and include a narrative that illustrates how your business can help your target audience. Make sure to save some time at the end – about 10 seconds or less – to restate your main points and leave the door open for future interaction with your audience. And as you’re writing, be sure to avoid industry jargon – you want everyone to understand it – and avoid long words or phrases that could slip you up when you’re reciting it later.
  • 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 speak your message clearly and passionately.
  • Watch your timing. Before pitching to your intended audience, time yourself and make sure that you stick to the allotted timeframe. If you speak too quickly, you’ll likely come across as nervous and if speak too slowly, you’ll likely lose your audience’s attention.
  • Purposefully practice your body language to convey confidence and enthusiasm. A great tool to help you is to watch several of the most popular TED and TEDX talk videos. Although these are longer than elevator pitches, you’ll gain an understanding of the body language and delivery tactics that resonate most positively with audiences.

The power of the perfect elevator pitch

Your elevator pitch will prove to be an amazing tool to convey 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 excites and interests them to take next steps with you.

Spend some time working on your elevator pitch, then run it by the business advisors at Pursuit – it’s our goal to help small businesses grow and thrive. We’ll help you perfect your message, obtain funding and find business management resources that support your success.

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