Whether you find yourself in the midst of a networking event, acquainting industry professionals with your enterprise, bumping into your peers at a social gathering, or quite are literally in an elevator with a potential investor, the ‘What are you working on?’ question, even though expected, can leave many flustered.
We cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a concise and comprehensible elevator pitch up your sleeve as a startup founder. This is a pivotal tool for entrepreneurs to make a memorable first impression not only at meetings or presentations but in general to generate interest in their venture as a whole.
So what do you put into (And leave out of) your elevator pitch? Did you know every founder should have more than one elevator pitch?
In this blog, we’ll take you through:
- What makes an elevator pitch
- Types of elevator pitches
- Prompts for different styles of elevator pitches
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is typically a 30-second summary of your startup’s business idea, products or services, and the problem it solves. Ideally, It should communicate your unique value proposition and make the listener want to know more about your business.
What makes an elevator pitch?
- Brevity is key: This is not the time to get into details. The length of an elevator pitch and its effectiveness can largely be solved with the right selection of vocabulary. Don’t use long winding sentences and confusing jargon. Much like an appetizer, it should give the listener just enough.
- Introduce yourself: In 1 sentence or less, introduce yourself in context to your startup. Provide a professional title (engineer/marketer) with a nod to your relevant experience (been in the industry for 10 years).
- Hook: Keep some practiced opening lines or opening questions that can grab attention. This could be a thought-provoking statistic, problem vs solution, or a relatable anecdote.
- Competitive Advantage: Clearly articulate what makes your startup’s product or service different, especially if operating in a crowded market. Focus on what makes it unique and how it addresses a specific issue or fulfills a need in the market.
- Traction and Milestones: If your audience is an investor, share any significant accomplishments or milestones the startup has achieved. This could be early customer adoption, successful pilot programs, partnerships, or awards. It helps establish instant credibility.
- Call to Action: Conclude the elevator pitch with a specific call to action. Depending on the listener, this could be an invitation to further discussion or an ask to try the product or service.
How many elevator pitches should you have?
An elevator pitch is not one-size-fits-all. We recommend start-ups workshop a range of elevator pitches with varying emphasis and content points to match different audiences.
- Pitch for Investors: When pitching to investors, the elevator pitch should emphasize the market opportunity, the competitive advantage, and the potential for high returns. It should provide evidence of market demand, scalability, and the start-up’s ability to execute its business plan. Traction-related milestones are also welcome to support the investment case.
- Pitch for Recruiting: When seeking co-founders or key team members, the elevator pitch should focus on the startup’s vision, mission, and the opportunity for personal growth and impact. It should convey the excitement and potential of joining the venture, emphasizing the unique culture & values and the scope of business growth predicted.
- Pitch for New Customers: When pitching to potential customers, the elevator pitch should highlight the problem the startup solves, the benefits of its product or service, and why it is the best solution available – for them. It should address the customer’s pain points and demonstrate the value they would gain by choosing the organization.
Prompts for Different Styles of Elevator Pitches
If you’re struggling with your elevator pitch, we’ve collected options to give you a headstart. Find your match and get workshopping!
- The Storytelling Pitch: Engage your listeners by weaving a compelling narrative highlighting the problem, solution, and journey behind your venture. For instance, “Most small towns in our country struggle to access healthcare. It’s heartbreaking to visit these hospitals with overworked staff. Our online telemedicine platform connects patients to doctors instantly, ensuring timely medical support and saving countless lives.”
- The Relatable Pitch: Establish a personal connection by sharing a relatable anecdote that resonates with your audience. For example, “I understand the struggles of communication in business first hand, especially with a remote team. Implementing our project management software transformed our team’s collaboration and efficiency. Let me know if you’d like your team to try out our software for free?”
- The Data-driven Pitch: Grab attention with a compelling statistic and demonstrate how your solution addresses the underlying issue. For instance, “Did you know that 70% of our generation has been developing signs of premature aging twice as early as previous generations? We created a plant-based compound that contains active ingredients scientifically proven to reduce fine lines by 50%. We already sold 2000 products in our 2-week pilot.”
- The Memorable Closing Pitch: A Shark Tank favourite, end your pitch with a memorable one-liner that leaves a lasting impression. For instance, “In a world drowning in plastic waste, our startup is turning the tide by transforming plastic into home decor products. Would you like to ride the eco-friendly wave to a cleaner planet? Don’t let this opportunity drift away!”
Reimagined Elevator Pitches of Successful StartUps
The team at slidebean re-imagined famous startups’ elevator pitches based on real pitch decks that raised millions of dollars. Find some more inspiration in them here:
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It’s time to create your winning elevator pitch.
It’s not going to happen in one sitting. Be prepared to write out a few, test them on people, and come back and workshop a few more until you start getting the reactions you want. Crafting the perfect elevator pitch is a vital skill for startup entrepreneurs. It’s a skill you will need throughout your time as an entrepreneur! Don’t wait anymore to check this off your list.
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