Business Plan Elevator Pitch
Create a version of your business story that would interest investors when you only have a brief opportunity to make your pitch!
What are the 5 essential parts of an elevator pitch?
To be effective, your elevator speech should be a succinct and persuasive summary of the key elements of your business plan. It should include the following elements:
1. The Problem Your Business Solves:
Clearly and concisely state the problem that your business addresses and the specific pain points of your target market. This will help the listener to understand the need for your product or service.
2. Who Has the Problem
Identify your target market and the characteristics that define them. This will help the listener to understand who will benefit from your product or service and how it is relevant to them.
3. How Big the Market for the Solution Is
Provide an estimate of the size of the market for your solution and demonstrate the potential for growth. This will help the listener to understand the potential for your business and the potential return on investment.
4. Your Qualifications to Run this Business
Highlight your experience, skills, and qualifications that make you the best person to run this business. This will help the listener to understand your credibility and build trust in your ability to succeed.
5. State your aspirational goals for this business.
Given the problem your business will solve, the size of the market and your qualifications, provide an enthusiastic statement about your expectations for success.
Additionally, it should include the Unique Value Proposition (UVP), the solution that your business is providing and a clear call to action that encourage the listener to take the next step and contact you. It should be practiced, tailored to the audience, and delivered with confidence.
Is a Business Plan Elevator Pitch Confidential?
An elevator pitch is not confidential or a secret because it is used to generate interest and gain support for a business idea or project. It is meant to be shared with potential investors, partners, and other stakeholders.
Share Your Elevator Pitch with Your Team
Having members of the team who are familiar with and can effectively deliver the elevator pitch is important because it helps to ensure that the message of the business is consistently communicated and that potential investors and partners receive the same information. Additionally, it allows for multiple team members to actively engage in the business development process and increase the chances of finding partners and investors.
Other Parts of Your Business Plan Remain Confidential
It’s important to note that while the elevator pitch is not confidential, other parts of the business plan may be and should be treated as such. It is important to establish clear guidelines for the sharing and handling of confidential information in order to protect the interests of the business.
The “Elevator Pitch” way of Thinking will Benefit You as an Entrepreneur
A New Way of Thinking
Learning to think and talk in the format of an elevator pitch can be a valuable skill for anyone looking to start or grow a business. The process of distilling the key elements of a business idea or project into a brief, persuasive speech can help to clarify and solidify the concept in the mind of the presenter. This can lead to a deeper understanding of the business and its potential value, which can in turn make it easier to communicate that value to others.
In addition to helping the presenter understand their own business better, being able to deliver a short, compelling pitch can also be a powerful tool for persuasion.
The ability to clearly and concisely communicate the key elements of a business idea in a way that is both engaging and easy to understand can be a significant advantage when trying to gain support from potential investors, partners, or customers.
Always Be Prepared to Deliver
Having a well-crafted elevator pitch also allows you to be prepared for any situation that may arise. You never know when you may have the opportunity to present your idea to someone who can make a difference in your business.
Being able to deliver a clear and compelling message quickly and efficiently can make the difference between a missed opportunity and a successful one.
Will an Elevator Pitch work for any type of Business?
An elevator pitch can work regardless of what industry a business is in because it serves as a powerful tool for communicating the key elements of a business in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner.
Your message should always be designed to be brief and to the point, making it easy for entrepreneurs to convey the most important information about their business in a short amount of time.
One of the key advantages of an elevator pitch is that it is versatile and can be adapted to any industry. Whether a business is in manufacturing, software, retail, or service, the message can be tailored to highlight the unique value proposition and the specific pain points that the business addresses.
Additionally, regardless of the industry, an elevator speech can help an entrepreneur to clarify their own understanding of their business and its value proposition. By distilling the key elements of their business into a short, persuasive speech, entrepreneurs can gain a better understanding of what sets their business apart from competitors and what they should communicate to potential investors, partners, or customers.
Business Plan Elevator Pitch Template
We Didn’t Invent the Wheel- We Refined It
After years of refinement, we’ve developed a business plan elevator pitch template that will help you define your business in terms investors want to hear. In fact, some who have used this template have reported that suddenly they figured out why ‘nobody was hearing me.’ Follow this template and you’ll be heard!
Short Enough and Important Enough to Memorize
Your introduction should start with a written version of your business plan elevator pitch. Your message should be your response to the hypothetical question, “If you found yourself in an elevator with a wealthy investor who might have an interest in your company, what would you say about your company in the time it takes the elevator to go from the top floor to the lobby?”
Your elevator pitch should be memorized and practiced often. Its primary purpose is to get someone to want to talk to you again after the elevator ride is over. Similarly, if your introduction starts with a written version of your elevator pitch, it should entice someone to read more or call you in for a meeting.
Because it’s so important, we’ll take extra care to walk you through writing your elevator pitch. This step-by-step structure and the examples that follow will help you with the process.
An elevator pitch, sometimes called an elevator speech, is a brief, persuasive speech that summarizes the key elements of a business plan in a way that can be delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator, typically 30 seconds to two minutes.
The goal of an elevator pitch is to spark interest in the business and generate leads, funding or partnership. The elevator pitch should include the unique value proposition, the target market, and the solution that the business is providing to their pain points.
Start Strong, Keep it Simple and Get the Meeting.
Elevator pitches should be tailored to the audience and should be practiced and delivered with confidence. It should be simple and easy to understand, it should have a strong opening to grab the listener’s attention, and it should end with a clear call to action, such as a follow-up call or meeting.
When is an Elevator Pitch Needed?
An elevator pitch for a business plan is typically needed when an entrepreneur or business owner is seeking funding, partnerships, or clients. It can be used in a variety of settings such as networking events, trade shows, pitch competitions, and meetings with investors or potential customers. They can also be useful in situations where the entrepreneur only has a short amount of time to make a good impression and convey the key elements of their business.
Additionally, an elevator pitch can be used as an introduction or a summary of a more comprehensive business plan, it can be used as a tool for the business owner to align their team’s vision and message and to help them to be prepared when the opportunity arises.
Fill-in-the-Blank Elevator Pitch Template
Before you start to create your own elevator pitch, read through this entire section, including the examples at the end. Then, by following the elevator pitch examples and the template below, you’ll be able to create a compelling version for your own business in no time.
Start with a clear mind and a blank sheet of paper. As you’ll see, each of the steps below asks you to write a very specific sentence or two, or in some cases, simply fill in the blanks of the sentence provided. For fill-in-the-blank sentences, the portions you are to supply are bracketed [like this].
[Name of your company] provides [your products or services] for [describe the specific segment of the market you will serve] who [describe the problem this solves for them].
[Enter one sentence that tells why this business is needed and by whom.]
[Make a statement about the size and/or growth trend of the industry.]
[Write a sentence or two, no more, to address your qualifications to run the business.)
[Make an honest, upbeat, substantive and credible claim about the business potential in terms of sales or profitability.]
Elevator Pitch Examples
Below are elevator pitches examples for two companies: WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores and JD Software Solutions. For each company, you’ll find a “good” example and a “not-so-good” example. The good examples follow the formula above.
The Format Works for Any Type of Business
You’ll notice that this elevator pitch template works very well even with two completely different businesses. The poor examples demonstrate common mistakes in elevator pitches.
Read these examples and the critiques that follow, to avoid the common pitfalls. When you are finished with your elevator pitch, make sure you’ve followed the formula above and eliminated the common mistakes. It should have a similar tone to the “good” examples in this section.
Examples Written to be Easily Understood and Then Adapted for Your Business
The first example is intentionally written for a simple business that is easy for a broad audience to understand. Your business may be more complex or high-tech, but the approach to writing your elevator pitch will be the same.
Example of a Good Elevator Pitch
Whirly Bird Yogurt
Each WhirlyBird Yogurt store will offer 10 flavors of yogurt and 25 toppings to people within a five-mile radius of their carefully selected locations, ideal for people who want a healthy meal or snack.
As an example, now the 300,000 people who live and work in Meadowbrook won’t have to drive more than five minutes to get great yogurt, served by friendly people in a sparkling clean store. Frozen yogurt has been the fastest growing category in over-the-counter snack foods for the past 3 years, with year-over-year growth rates of 17%.
WhirlyBird’s founder, Ronald Smith, has 10 years of experience as a regional manager of quick-service restaurants, where he learned how to run efficient, profitable stores.
With that experience, Mr. Smith is confident about opening WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores at the rate of 1 every 6 months and building a business that is profitable from year one and surpasses $25 million in revenue within 5 years.
Example of a Not-so-Good Elevator Pitch
WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores will be poised to take over the competition because our products are the most healthy and nutritious available. The difference is gluten-free products that don’t have the toxins found in other yogurts. All of our yogurts contain two forms of live bacteria: bulgaricus and thermophilus.
Our founder, Ron Smith, has been eating it for years and credits that with his ability to run three marathons a year at age 45. As more people learn about the detoxifying powers of bacteria-rich yogurt, WhirlyBird’s business will soar.
What’s Wrong with the example above?
The pitch assumes that the reader is as informed, health-conscious and passionate about yogurt as is the founder. Nothing is mentioned about the size or growth of the health-conscious market versus the segment of people who just like to eat things that taste good. It is admirable that the founder runs so many marathons, but has this person ever run a business? It doesn’t say, and that’s the problem.
Let’s move on to other elevator pitch examples.
Example Two: Good Elevator Pitch
JD Software Solutions
JD Software provides custom online commerce and back-office solutions to businesses with less than $10 million in sales that can’t afford the high prices of big-name consulting firms.
These business customers will be eager to drive their sales and improve efficiency, now that it can be accomplished with a fraction of the time and money required by the big-name firms.
Our founder, John DelMonte, has 8 years’ experience as a senior project manager for EDS, where he learned how to manage projects from start to finish using skilled independent contractors.
With a market of over 8,000 small businesses in San Diego with revenue ranging from $1 million and $10 million, JD Software Solutions will be cash-flow positive and profitable in less than 12 months.
Example Two: Not-So-Good Elevator Pitch
Technology is moving fast and JD Software Solutions is on the leading edge. All of our developers are Web2.0 certified and have been developing Cloud applications that work asynchronously since Ajax was first introduced.
We can save clients thousands of dollars using MySQL or if they’re tied to Oracle or SQL Server, we can implement open source middleware to perform data transformations in real time. We have that experience. Since the customer actually saves money over alternatives, selling will not be difficult and the potential of our business is unlimited.
What’s Wrong with the Example Above?
The pitch doesn’t tell about the problem that the business solves for its customers, who its customers will be, or how the founder is qualified to run a business. It also contains vague claims, such as, “JD Software Solutions is on the leading edge.”
Based on this message, the reader would understand that the company has qualified software engineers, but a lender or investor wants to know that the founders can run a business.
Build on these Elevator Pitch Examples
Use the elevator pitch examples above to craft your own compelling message. You’re going to find out that by saying the right things, you’ll be able to make your business sound a lot more interesting in less time!
What do Bankers and Venture Capitalists think about Elevator Pitches?
A banker or venture capitalist may have a variety of opinions, depending on the specific individual and their experience. In general, however, they would likely view an effective elevator pitch as an important tool for quickly and efficiently evaluating a business idea or project.
Business People Appreciate When You’ve Done Your Homework
Individuals accustomed to being “pitched” would appreciate and respect when someone has put the thought and discipline into thinking about the most critical points of their business.
A well-crafted elevator pitch should provide a clear and concise overview of the business, including its key value proposition, target market, and financial projections. This information can be useful for a banker or venture capitalist to quickly understand the potential of the business and determine whether it is worth further investigation.
Additionally, an effective elevator pitch should be able to capture the attention and interest of the listener, making them want to learn more about the business. This is particularly important for venture capitalists, who are often presented with a large number of business ideas and need to quickly identify those with the most potential.
You’re Saving them Time and Making it Easy to Get Feedback
A banker or venture capitalist would view an effective elevator pitch as an important tool for quickly evaluating a business idea or project. A well-crafted message should provide clear and concise information about the business, and also should be able to capture the attention and interest of the listener, making them want to learn more.
Elevator Pitch Contest
There are actually contests to see who can present the best elevator pitch! You might not be ready to go on Shark Tank, just yet, but a refined elevator pitch will get you closer.
What is an Elevator Pitch Contest?
An elevator pitch contest is an event or competition where participants are given the opportunity to deliver their pitch to a panel of judges or a live audience. The goal of the contest is typically to identify the best and most persuasive presentations, and to provide a platform for entrepreneurs, start-up companies, and other business-minded individuals to showcase their ideas and potentially secure funding or other forms of support.
Elevator pitch contests are often held by startup incubators, business schools, or other organizations that support entrepreneurship. They can be open to anyone with a business idea or be targeted to specific industries or sectors.
The contestants are given a specific time frame to deliver their elevator pitch, usually between 30 seconds to 2 minutes and they are judged on several criteria such as, clear and concise communication, the ability to capture the attention and interest of the listener, the potential of the business idea and the overall performance.
The winner of the contest may receive prizes such as cash, mentorship, or other resources to help them develop their business. Some contests may also provide opportunities for participants to connect with potential investors, partners, or customers.
Overall, an elevator pitch contest is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and start-up companies to showcase their ideas, gain exposure, and potentially secure funding or other forms of support.
Elevator Pitch Summary
Follow this elevator pitch formula and you’ll start turning heads immediately! It’s more than just writing your elevator pitch. This section is intended to do something much more important.
Learning to Communicate about Your Business in a New Way
The elevator pitch format we have provided, helps you talk about your business to others, in ways they can understand. Chances are, you are going into a particular type of business because of your experience, maybe even your family experience. You have knowledge, expertise and passion for the business. You can’t expect others to understand where that passion comes from.
Be Compelling to Others
The elevator pitch examples, templates and background you’ve just read, will help you think about your business in a way that is compelling to others, even if they understand very little about your industry. Equally important, this will help you to think about your business purely in business terms, minus the emotions.
Start Writing and Using Your Elevator Pitch Today!
Write your elevator pitch. Memorize it. Then start trying it wherever it seems appropriate. Watch the reactions you get. The interest. The questions. Hone your elevator pitch and include it in the opening of your business plan and watch good things happen.
More than any other part of your plan, this will help accelerate your thinking and ability to convey the excitement of your new business.
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