A strong elevator pitch is a primary tool when looking to raise funds. Most entrepreneurs are so passionate about their ideas that it is really very challenging for them to write their elevator pitch succinctly.
So much is exciting, and everything is important. However, an investor is only interested in two things: Is the idea unique and differentiated? Is it feasible?
We offer a simple hack below. Other sources, such as Business News Daily, offer a more elaborate approach. Which every you chose, and effective elevator pitch is critical to the fundraising process.
Here is a simple hack to writing an elevator pitch which gets to those two points quickly and clearly. It’s just two sentences, but they contain all the information a potential investor needs.
[Enter Company Name] is the ONLY [Enter Industry or Competitive Set] that provides [Unique Point of Difference]. That’s because [Support Claim #1] and [Support Claim #2].
That’s it. Done. Let’s look at an example of a fictional elevator pitch for an electric car.
Turbo X is the ONLY electric car that provides zero carbon emissions without sacrificing performance. That’s because our patented engine design, which provides rapid acceleration, and our patented battery, which provides up to 300 miles/charge.
See how succinct that is. In less than 5 seconds, you’ve conveyed how you are unique and why. You’ve also proven your knowledge of the key drivers and needs of the category. It shows your mastery of both.
We go into this in more detail in our webinar on this topic. We offer a number of fundraising services that also can help.
This elevator pitch hack will only work if you have done your homework. There are two key steps in doing your homework for an elevator pitch. Some will seem extremely obvious. Some are less so. All are needed for the hack to work.
If you don’t have a mastery of your product and category, you have no business pitching. This might seem obvious, but SO many pitches that I’ve seen completely miss the mark on this point. When I hear “I don’t have competition”, I know this pitch is doomed. Everyone has. It’s a HUGE red flag that this entrepreneur hasn’t done his or her homework.
If I don’t hear “only” or “unique”, I tune out. Why? If you can’t tell me why you stand out, no one can. Yet, another example of poor preparation. This elevator pitch hack won’t work if you cannot articulate why what you’re selling is unique or how you are differentiated from everyone else. Instead of trying to pitch, your time would be better spent figuring out what makes you special.
So many entrepreneurs take the shotgun approach to raising money. They go around giving their elevator pitch to everyone. If you spray the shrapnel wide enough, it will hit something, right? Maybe, but you will waste valuable time, hunting down the wrong leads. As part of your homework, do a little research on the people, whom you think would be most receptive to your solution. Do they invest in the category? Is it a passion of theirs? Again, the elevator pitch hack assumes the audience knows the category. If they don’t, save both your time and find someone who does.
As much as I hate to say it, the delivery is key. This isn’t my strong suit, so personally, I hate it. But, I’ve learned the hard way, even the best-crafted pitch can go sideways if the delivery is average.
If you can’t get your message across in 30 seconds, then it’s too long. If you use our format on how to write an elevator pitch, then that structure is designed to help you the most here.
Some will encourage you to use a mirror. I think that will give you a false sense of security. Why? In the pitch, you can’t see your face. Video yourself instead. It will give you a more realistic view of how your pitch looks and sounds. Is it clear? Did you mumble? It may sound great in your head, but that might not be the way it transmits. Finally, the elevator pitch hack is a one-way tool. It’s a cheat sheet for the guts of your conversation. But, you will need to bolt-on an open and close. These need to be conversational. First, asks for permission to pitch. The latter asks for the next steps.
Again, not my personal strong suit. I’ve struggled with this time and again. I have to calm nature, so I tend to read professorial. Educational, but not engaging and entertaining. This is why I video. It always feels unnatural and fake to me, but to others, it reads passionate and engaging. It took me a LONG time to accept this. Once I did, I just knew I had to play that role. It wasn’t being fake. I am passionate and want to be engaging, so I learned how I had to act so that message was clear.
The key to writing such a clear elevator pitch is to know your company, your market, and your unique position within it. This is why it is so important to do your home work This requires a solid business model and competitive assessment, but it is well worth the time and investment. Without it, your elevator pitch will not be as powerful as it should.
Finally, remember, delivery is everything. Practice until your elevator pitch is so natural to you that you could do it in your sleep.
Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkedIn profile