What is Elevator Pitch?
How long does elevator ride take? On average, around 30 seconds. And yes, this is the time in which you should be able to transmit the idea of your project. That is the source of the Elevator Pitch concept.
In those few seconds not only should you be able to attract the investor’s attention; you should also be able to convince them that your business idea is viable, sustainable and therefore deserves more time to be spent on it.
Do you know the meaning of the word ‘pitch’? In contrast to ‘speech’, it tends to be shorter and carries the connotation of demanding a subsequent meeting at which to sell something.
Why should we perform Elevator Pitch?
The idea is to build a discourse that generates interest and leads to a conversation between two people, avoiding a one-sided monologue (yours, as the entrepreneur).
This discourse is especially important when pitched at investors, since they usually have little time and receive many proposals. An interesting detail: the most experienced investors are able to intuit whether an idea is good or bad right from the first minute! Hence the importance of knowing how to give a good Elevator Pitch.
A few minutes are not enough to know whether your start-up is good or bad, but e enough to know whether you have the ability to sell!
A pitch is commonly given in different spheres to different types of public. This means that, when you decide to give one, it is indispensable that you know your target audience or public well in each case so that you can adapt your pitch.
For example, in front of an investor forum, the discourse should be much more detailed, personalised and focused on the quest for financial resources. But at a trade fair, where entrepreneurs contact a wide diversity of people, they have to be able to adapt the discourse to the listener in real time.
Because this technique can be used in any stage of your start-up, in each case you have to adapt the discourse to a specific duration and format. Some examples of an Elevator Pitch according to your audience:
- To a team, you should convince them through the company’s values to align the vision of all employees.
- To suppliers you will have to talk about commissions and favourable payment terms.
- To customers you have to transmit a story and make it clear how the service will resolve their problem.
Remember: the ultimate goal is always to convince listeners of your start-up’s business opportunities and obtain a second meeting to talk of the collaboration format or the relationship you want to have with them.
The goal of an Elevator Pitch? To communicate in order to capture the listener’s attention and obtain a subsequent interview or meeting.
How to perform Elevator Pitch?
There is no specific way of giving a pitch, but we offer you a few rules that may help you:
- Know your interlocutor. Who is your message targeting? Adapt your discourse and your presentation to your interlocutor. For example, do you know the type of company the investor you are addressing invests in?
- Practice. In front of a mirror, before relatives and friends, before anyone! Practice until it comes out naturally. Listeners perceive when you haven’t sufficiently rehearsed a presentation. Learning it well will help you to control your timeframe, transmit confidence and calm nerves.
- You have little time, win them over! As a rule we dedicate very few minutes to listening to something new. If you want to capture your listener’s attention you must be different. For example, search for a short sentence that will captivate them and which sums up the core of your project. The audience will retain that phrase and use it to sum up your idea.
- Be assertive. Don’t say “I am trying”, “we would like”, “I think that”. Replace such words with “I will do”, “I know this is”, “I’m sure that”. The more confidence you transmit, the greater the assurance that you can attract your listeners.
- Don’t use up all your speaking time. When practicing, always keep an eye on the clock. You have to be able to transmit your project in a very short time period, keeping in mind that you have to leave some space for the audience to ask questions.
- Anticipate questions. It is as important to give a powerful pitch as it is to know how to answer questions from the public. Imagine you have an attractive pitch but your mind goes blank at the first question they ask you. When practicing before people, ask them for questions and prepare answers with direct, simple and clear sentences.
- Be creative. If your business is highly technical, try to transmit it by telling a story. To do this we suggest you use Storytelling.
- Be sincere. If there is something you don’t know, don’t lie. Confidence is a tough value to win over but one that is quickly lost with a lie. Think that investors are well connected amongst themselves, and that a negative impression on one of them can ultimately take its toll on you.
Don’t forget! The contents to include in your pitch are:
Stages of Elevator Pitch
Now you know about an Elevator Pitch and how to put it into practice. Now we will tell you about some types of pitch according to different parameters. Take note!
By type of audience:
- Stakeholder (generic)
By available time:
- 30 seconds
- 1 minute
- 3 minutes
We recommend that you also take a look at other formats in related tools.
Have a look at these Elevator Pitch examples according to available time:
- 30-second Elevator Pitch.
In this case you only have half a minute so you must get straight to the point. Use direct and simple language that is understood by all. This is the outline you should follow:
- Present the company with its name.
- Define who your business is targeting.
- Describe how you will resolve your target public’s problem.
- Transmit what differentiates your offer. Include your added value, or ‘your secret ingredient’ which quickly demonstrates what differentiates you from your competition and will ultimately convince your interlocutor.
- Lastly, include a Call to Action. Mention, for example, what you are looking for in the interlocutor or ask for their card and tell them you will call them within X time. Why are you giving them this pitch?
A more specific example, the Founder Institute format:
Reference: Elevator Pitch format in a phrase from the Founder Institute.
My company <COMPANY_NAME>
is developing <VALUE_OFFER>
to help <TARGET_CUSTOMER>
<WITH THE SECRET INGREDIENT>.
- 3-minute Elevator Pitch.
The structure of a somewhat longer pitch can be the same, but as you have more time, you can go deeper into the issue. The structure of the pitch could be, for example:
- Mention the team and the company: Hello, my name is XXXX from company YYY created by the <FOUNDING TEAM >: <EXPERIENCE, TRAINING, COMPLEMENTARITY>.
- Introduce the project: <COMPANY_NAME> offers <PRODUCT/SERVICE> to <TARGET_CUSTOMER> to give them <VALUE_OFFER/KEY_BENEFITS >.
- Describe the problem being resolved, include specific data/facts or give a real-time demo in half a minute maximum.
- Introduce the revenue model: explain the business model in one phrase or explain your differentiation from the competition.
- State what you need: mention what you need from the listener when closing the pitch. If they are an investor, explain what you need the money for that you are seeking. If a potential collaborator, describe your vision of how you believe they can interact with the company.
- Other types of pitch.
There are many types of Elevator Pitch. You have to think that, with your goal being to capture your listener’s attention, such pitches must not bore them, so their structures have to be constantly changing. Some examples can be:
- Question pitch: start the conversation with a rhetorical question.
- Twitter pitch: give the start-up’s slogan in fewer than 140 characters.
- Pixar pitch: explain your start-up in a story (like a screenplay).
- Validate Business Model
- Search Financial Resources
When looking for investment during the early stages of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg explained to some business angels that the problem of US university networks was legitimising the source of the contact and how “The Facebook” was the perfect substitute for verifying the users who were logging in. This is how Zuckerberg convinced the BAs of Facebook’s growth potential, giving them reasons why, when focusing on a specific community where there was a need for reinforcing the network, he would succeed in making them all wanting to form part of it.