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Develop an Elevator Pitch

You’ve tested your business model.  It’s time to develop a compelling elevator pitch.

Why do you need an Elevator Pitch?

You need an elevator pitch because there will be lots of situations where you will be “selling” your concept.  No – not to investors initially – that comes later.

But to build a team, it helps to have a concise, consistent elevator pitch so  you have a good answer to the question: what does your business do?  And to develop a relationship with partners and vendors, an effective elevator pitch is an essential tool.  Just to explain to people at networking events what you do, an elevator pitch is very helpful.

You want to set a good first impression for your business concept – so spend some time putting together an effective pitch!

And there’s one other big reason do put together a concise, compelling elevator pitch:

If you can’t describe your business concisely and in a compelling, concise way, then I would argue you don’t understand your business well enough to start designing the product, and you should keep working on the description!

You’ll need “short” and “long” elevator pitches. The short version should be a sentence or two that very concisely says what your business is about.

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a 45 second elevator ride with an investor, you’ll want to be able to concisely cover more than just what your product does. In his book “The Silicon Valley Way”, venture capitalist Elton Sherwin describes the 7 questions that go into the 45 second business plan (and I added 2 more…) :

  1. What is your product?
  2. Who is your customer?
  3. Who will sell it?
  4. How many people will buy it?
  5. How much will it cost to design and build?
  6. What is the sales price?
  7. When will you break even?
  8. What investment do you need to take it to the next step?
  9. What will that investment allow you to accomplish?

Another useful elevator-pitch tool is the following template.  Just fill in the information for your startup:

  • For (describe the customer)
  • Who (describe the unmet need the customer has)
  • Our (product/service name) is (describe the product or service with no acronyms or technical jargon)
  • … that  (describe the value delivered to the customer)
  • Unlike other solutions, our solution (describe your unique differentiation and/or advantage)
  • We make money by (describe the business model and pricing approach)
  • So far we have (describe accomplishments to-date)
  • We are seeking (describe the amount of money you want to raise) in order to (describe what those funds will allow you to accomplish)

Put together you pitch in a style that works for you – and practice it until it rolls out smoothly!