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elevator pitch

How to Get Your Elevator Pitch Just Right

If you’re a small business owner, you know just how precious a new influx of financing can be. And technically speaking, there’s no quicker way to get those funds than the “elevator pitch.”

The “elevator pitch,” for the uninitiated, is a hyper-succinct sales pitch to a potential investor or other interested party — say, 30 to 60 seconds, or roughly the length of an elevator ride in a New York skyscraper. The idea? It can be difficult to score a regular meeting with an investor, venture capitalist or other funding provider, but with a good enough elevator pitch, you might be able to turn a chance 30- or 60-second encounter into a massive opportunity.

(For you history buffs: One popular legend about the creation of the elevator pitch is that Elisha Otis himself — a pioneer of the modern elevator — set up a quick and exciting demonstration in which his stopping mechanism halted a falling elevator, and the rest is history.)

Of course, you don’t need to cut an elevator support rope with an axe to communicate your company’s worth. All you need to do is put together a tight, effective pitch that you can unleash should you be lucky enough to score a minute or two with a potential investor.

Let’s go over a number of tips you can use to hone your elevator pitch, and we’ll even provide you with a short template.

11 Elevator Pitch Tips

Just like the elevator pitch itself, we’ll keep these tips short and sweet:

  • Keep it brief. You’ll likely need at least 30 seconds, but your speech should be no longer than 60 seconds.
  • Include the basics. Your name, the company name, and the general thrust of your business are all crucial.
  • Focus on key points. You’ll never be able to describe the intricacies of your whole business in less than a minute. Once you’ve given a brief explanation of what your business does, list one or two top offerings and describe the value add you provide.
  • Where applicable, talk about yourself. Just don’t provide a full autobiography. If you add something special to the business — background, experience, skills — explain. Investors want to know what founders have to add.
  • Drop a stat or two. Descriptions only go so far. But if you have an impressive stat about either how your business is performing or what your product/service does for customers, that will speak volumes.
  • Make sure you have a call to action. You’re not talking to an investor for fun. Have an endgame in mind. Are you asking for a longer meeting? Do you need immediate funding? Determine what your closing ask will be.
  • Research your audience. There’s nothing you can do if it’s a truly chance meeting with an investor you didn’t expect to talk to. But if you’re walking into, say, a conference where you know several angel investors will be in attendance, do your homework and try to discover what resonates with each one.
  • Be upbeat and confident. You’re trying to make a great first impression in 30 to 60 seconds. Personality matters. If you walk into the pitch nervous or resigned to failure, it will come through in your presentation and make it less effective.
  • Work on tone. Similarly, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Even if you’re confident and sure, your pitch could still fall flat if you’re monotonous and speak without passion. You’re speaking to inspire and excite, not just inform.
  • Don’t be afraid of humor. You have to pick your spots, and you have to know your audience, but a little quip here or there — not a full-blown joke, just a touch of humor — can help lighten the mood and keep your audience on their toes.
  • Practice, practice, practice. A 30-second speech might not sound like much, but it also doesn’t give you much room for error. Practice it — preferably in front of a friend or colleague or two, to see how they receive it — until you’ve perfected it down to the last word.

A Quick Elevator Pitch Template

You can structure your pitch however you want, but here’s a basic template to work with:

Hello!/Hi!/It’s great to meet you!

My name is [NAME], founder of [COMPANY]. We create/provide [PRODUCT/SERVICE] for [TARGET MARKET] so our customers can [VALUE PROVIDED]. In fact, our customers typically see [STAT SHOWING VALUE ADD].



Other Ways to Secure the Business Funding You Need

You don’t need to rely on fate landing you a minute or two with an investor. With the right relationships, you’ll be able to sniff out numerous sources of funding.

The business consulting team at McManamon & Co., for instance, can help you with developing corporate banking relationships. It can also help you do more with what you’ve got via strategic cash flow and tax planning strategies to help you maximize return on investment and minimize your taxes.

Learn more about how McManamon can provide a boost to your small business. Call us at 440.892.8900 or contact us online today.

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