Grow your business in 90 seconds: how to craft and present your elevator pitch

November 1, 2016

Imagine this.

You’re finishing up the day at an out-of-town business convention where you’ve worked tirelessly for the last 12 hours networking and promoting your company. Feeling proud of yourself and satisfied with what seemed to be a highly productive day, you press the button at the hotel elevator and exhale deeply to keep at bay the exhaustion that has worked its way into your bones. Man, will it feel good to kick off your shoes and turn in for the night! 

The bell dings, the door opens, and you step inside…

And so does the investor you’ve been trying to connect with all week.  

What happens next all depends on how well you’ve prepared for this moment. 

You have 90 seconds to grow your business. Are you ready?

An elevator pitch is a fragment of information about your business or organization that would be limited to the length of time it takes for an elevator ride. It should be compelling enough to your audience that they want to continue the conversation after the elevator “ride” is over. If preformed correctly, you can take full advantage of those unexpected opportunities where you have only a short moment with a potential investor or customer to make those connections that will take your startup to the next level. Here are the best tips that we have found for bringing your elevator pitch to life.

Keep it precise and to-the-point

Your pitch should be memorable and interesting. It needs to explain what makes you – your organization, product, or idea – different. Take plenty of time to really think about the core values of your company and your unique selling proposition, and then bring that to life in this pitch.

Let these questions be your guide

Who: What is your name and what is your relation to the organization?

What: What is your mission statement and how can you adapt it?

Where: Where are you located and where is your impact focused?

Why: Why should the person you’re speaking to care about your organization?

How: How do you solve real-world problems? How are you better than your competitors?

These are the questions that should be answered in your pitch. Given that the average human attention span is approximately 8 seconds, you have to be engaging and brief all at the same time. Run time, on average should be approximately 30-60 seconds. Longer pitches are appropriate for more formal settings. The purpose of this pitch is not to have extensive detail on your business, but to simply keep them engaged and leave them wanting to hear more.

Practice makes perfect

It makes more sense than just hoping that you say the right thing when that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unexpectedly crosses your path, right? Even the strongest communicators should put the extra effort into rehearsing their pitch. Put in the work it takes to memorize the key points that really sell the benefits of your company. PRACTICE! After your done practicing, practice some more! Stand in front of a mirror and watch your body language. Does it convey confidence? If not, adjust the way you stand and stop fidgeting. It’s a silly thought, but what you do with your hands does matter.

Be concise and to the point, but remember to emote–you don’t want to seem like a robot! Investors invest in people who they believe in, so let your personality shine. Practice your pitch in front of someone who can give constructive and honest feedback. 

Nail the delivery of your pitch

Are you remarkable? Are you worth remarking upon? That is the question that will need to be answered by the time you have finished your pitch. Make yourself known! Give them something to remember you by. Consider ending your pitch with an open-ended question that invites the other person to talk further.

Keep in mind that as you become more comfortable with approaching others with your pitch, it’s okay to customize it to fit the size of your audience’s needs and size. Personalizing each pitch to fit the audience size and type is important and should be kept in mind throughout the whole process.

Learn from others!

While important, the elevator pitch isn’t the only type of pitch you should prepare.

Check out our monthly pitch event Early Risers to hear other entrepreneurs give their demo pitch to an audience of business leaders, angel investors, and community supporters, and when you’re ready, apply to pitch at one of our future events.

Written By: Austin Rains, Marketing Associate at DTG