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5 Tips for a Successful Small Business Pitch

The actual premise of the “elevator pitch” is a funny one. The idea is that, should you ever find yourself with 30 to 45 seconds alone in an elevator with a CEO or venture capitalist, you should have a concise, complete pitch ready that will get your foot in the door to new funding or other support.

In reality, the chances of such a fortuitous meeting are slim to none. Plus, the last thing most businesspeople want to do on the elevator is spend what’s normally a few moments of peace taking a pitch from a complete stranger.

Nonetheless, selling your small business to potential customers and investors is a skill that takes a lot of practice. And the elevator pitch is an important one to master. You might never find yourself in a magical elevator situation. But you may get a quick audience with someone who can kick-start your business. In fact, even if you find yourself with a full meeting’s worth of time, you need to be able to deliver a tight, well-rehearsed pitch that doesn’t devolve into nervous stumbling and rambling.

The following are a few tips for creating and delivering a successful small business pitch – whether you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes.

Tips to Make Your Elevator Pitch Shine

  1. Practice: We’ll put the most basic piece of advice up front, but don’t overlook it. No matter what idea you craft, you have to be able to get it out of your mouth in a clean manner – not too fast, not too slow, with all the details ironed out. However, practicing your pitch isn’t like rehearsing a speech. You need to be able to pivot if you’re interrupted, and anticipate and answer pertinent questions.
  2. Research: You can’t “wing it.” Anything that you bring up needs to come from concrete data and market research, whether you do the research on your own or gather it from other sources. Do not use anecdotal evidence either. Phrases like, “I’ve seen … once” might get you laughed out of the room.
  3. Be Specific: Along the same vein, your pitch must include specific data and figures. Terms like “a lot of” or “some” simply will not get the job done. Anyone interested in funding your business will want to know where your revenues will come from, how much, and when. If you need a certain amount of capital to get started, don’t be shy about that figure.
  4. Unique Selling Proposition: You need to identify and communicate exactly what it is about your company that makes you stand out. If you bake cakes, you’d better have a target demographic, or a particular design, or a certain flavor profile that makes what you do unique, and thus makes it more likely that your business will catch fire rather than blend in with the crowd.
  5. Close Like a Champ: Even if you nail most of your pitch, you still have a chance to lose it in the final seconds. Dropping a weak close with an open-ended question like “What do you think?” lacks direction. Be specific. Ask if they would be interested in supporting a specific dollar amount of funding, or ask for a follow-up meeting to discuss more data and details. It helps guide the conversation and shows you’ve thought carefully about every last detail – including the final one.

McManamon & Co. can’t help you put together an elevator pitch, but if you’re a small or mid-size business, we can assist with a variety of financial needs. From accounting to taxes to paperless office and even consulting services, we have you covered. Call us at 440.892.9088 or contact us online to learn how we can help you grow your small business.


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