At the heart of every startup, an entrepreneur has a developed business plan, designed product or prototype, and a thought out marketing strategy. But in order to be successful in any economy, there’s one major barrier blocking the way: money, and lots of it. Networking with industry professionals is a key tactic to getting one foot in the door. And in the world of business, there’s one piece of advice that’s crucial and cannot be overlooked.
If there’s one thing every businessperson needs, it’s a pitch. A clear, concise explanation of what you do, how you do it, and what you can provide for clients. The perfect pitch is essential to getting your product or service recognized, networking with potential clients or investors, and pushing your company one step further towards success.
Picture this: you walk into a corporate office building and step into the elevator. You’re alone, except for one person standing next to you, who happens to be a well-known investor looking for the next big thing. This is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you have been waiting for to make your company thrive.
The idea of an elevator speech is simple: for you to tell someone the components of your business in the time it takes to ride up in an elevator. You only have 30 seconds or less to tell the story and get them excited about your business.
Crafting the perfect elevator pitch doesn’t happen overnight. It can takes weeks of trial and error, rewrite after rewrite. But once it’s solid and grasps attention, the future of your company can flourish.
Where do you start?
The first step is discovering what exactly it is that you want to promote. As an entrepreneur thinking about creating a venture, you need to have clarity of your idea – a clear-cut direction of your product or service. Creating the elevator pitch will then help you synthesize many of your concepts and thoughts in a summarized, clear statement of what the business is. Many would argue you should do this first before you even start working on a business plan.
The pitch should be very clear – including what problem are you solving, why it is a big opportunity, and what your unique solution is. Again, stated in less than 30 seconds! Most investors won’t even allow you to submit a business plan without hearing or reading the elevator pitch. And many (maybe most) make the decision to go further strictly by the elevator pitch!
With a flawless and practiced pitch, you are guaranteed to stand out amongst competitors in a shinning light.
Bob Lentz, Entrepreneur in Residence, contributed to this article.