By: Don Pleger
Published: May 10th, 2012
As a small business consultant in North Carolina, we have always stressed to our clients that they be ready at any moments notice to give their “pitch” to potential investors or partners. This pitch is known as the elevator pitch and is basically a condensed business plan that is typically between 5-15 pages. The elevator pitch has the same elements of a business plan, but only addresses the main components of your business and of course, the financial forecast for your venture. There are several different examples of elevator pitches but it is very important that entrepreneurs have some sort of elevator pitch ready to reel off at any time. The problem is that one elevator pitch is not right for every situation. In fact, there are at least 4 situations that might require a different version of your pitch and are listed below.
1. The Classic Elevator Pitch – The idea of an elevator speech is where you have 5-10 minutes to sell your idea to someone or a group that could benefit your business. In this small amount of time you have to sell what you do, how you plan to do it and how it will be profitable for potential partners or investors. The classic elevator pitch is short, concise and straight to the point.
2. The Dinner Party Pitch – Let’s say you are at a dinner party and everyone is taking turns explaining what they do for a living. This is clearly not the time or place to pitch your business as a potential investment. You simply need a couple sentences to explain your business as simply as possible.
3. The Board Room Presentation – You might be asked to pitch your company in front of a group of potential investors. In this situation you may even have a pitch deck with a handful of slides to present your unique selling proposition, market potential, management team and financial projections. Coastal Business Strategies has created several of these pitches and one of the important aspects of this type of pitch is the design element. You want something that stands out, attracts the attention of the room and is professionally designed to spark the interest of any potential suitors for your company. This takes some time to prepare and rehearse so make sure you have everything memorized and able to answer any questions from your audience.
4. The Networking Event Pitch – Entrepreneurs who understand networking know that networking is about the other person. You should be asking questions and making connections, not pitching your products or services. But you will probably be asked what you do at some point, so it is important to be ready with a brief explanation that may intrigue the other person to ask more questions. Take the key points from your pitch and work them into your conversation naturally and you may be surprised how connections can be made.
You might think you have an elevator pitch ready, but you really need to think about how your pitch should vary in different situations. You don’t want to waste an opportunity with a potential investor or client, but you also don’t want to give a presentation of your business over a casual dinner.
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