How to create your elevator pitch
Your business is metaphorically at ground level. Maybe it’s a bit higher, about the fifth floor. But you want to take it sky high. So, without speaking at 240 words a minute, how much of your business will you need to explain in the lift that takes you there?
Knowing exactly what to put in your elevator pitch, making it succinct, calm and confident, will help you impress a potential investor whether you’re in a lift, a car, or in a waiting line to buy coffee.
Venture capitalist and industry mentor Matt Macfarlane from m15e ventures hears a lot of elevator pitches. He advises to:
Know yourself: Pitch as much about yourself as you do about your company. Don’t be afraid to talk yourself up because you are the one who knows the most about yourself. But don’t overdo it. Macfarlane advises a potential investor will “run for the hills” if they sense inconsistency.
Learn from others: Search online for elevator pitch guidance, and ask advice from others who have been successful in raising capital.
Make it brief: Put your pitch into a couple of sentences and re-work those sentences.
Here’s a guide: You know how [insert problem]? Well, I’ve developed [insert solution] and it’s better than the other solutions because [insert your unique piece of intellectual property] and in the next six to 12-months I want to [insert next steps].
Test it: Use family and friends to listen to your pitch and provide feedback. Use your colleagues. Practice it 100s of times in front of the mirror.
Be confident: Your confidence is contagious to the investor as well as customers and suppliers later. Show a belief in your vision, in your desire and passion to execute your plan. Carry this through the whole ‘elevator pitch’ discussion.
Avoid the elevator shaft: The biggest mistake people make with their ‘elevator pitch’ is they spend 80 per cent of their time on the product and very little time on the business model, market, or themselves.
Matt finds most entrepreneurs are so engrossed with their product that they fail to see the importance of that product actually making money. “Nor do they see the importance of a well-balanced team to execute the process of turning that product into money,” he says.