or How to Write an Elevator Pitch Your Business Deserves
Last week we talked about discovering business goals and turning them into a winning business plan and we also agreed that business plans today are way too full of jargon which is neither inspiring, nor compelling. And if the business plan is boring, there is no point bothering with a strategy in the first place. What we’ve seen work with our clients (and with our business too) is bottling the pure essence of a business and then using that magic potion for the key action steps. What is the essence of a business we hear you ask and rightly so – it is your raison d’etre, it is the light at the end of the tunnel, it is that energy which gives you the superpowers you need when you feel stuck, it’s that statement that makes investors, business partners and clients go “Aha!”
This same bottled passion is your elevator pitch – the vital summary of what you do and how you do it differently from everybody else. We are sure you know what an elevator pitch is, however, just in case you don’t: Imagine you are in an elevator with another person who is actually a C.E.O or at the very least a decision-maker who has the power to buy your service or product, you can use this serendipitous moment to present your business to them. Now we’re talking. Of course as your are in an elevator you only have second to impress the other party. So how are you going to pitch your business idea to this potential buyer? You have only one opportunity and less than a minute to do so. Here’s where your elevator pitch comes in handy and the real use of it that many entrepreneurs have forgotten about.
What Is It?
What you need is a short (ideally under 10 words) and engaging summary of what you do which represents you and your business in the best possible light. Yes, that little bottle of magic. You can call it anything you want, as long as it speaks volumes to you, because the truth is – no elevator pitch will ever work for you, unless it actually elevates you and inspires you. If that short summary gives you confidence and makes you inspired and energetic, it will work with others too.
What Comes Next?
If you want to do things right, you need to do them in the right order. Since the elevator pitch captures the very essence of what you do and gives you the energy to do it, you need to write it before you start jotting down your business plan. It’s much easier to focus on a business plan after you know what matters the most to you. Yet, as with the universe, nothing is constant and an elevator pitch can change – along with your business. It should evolve.
How Do I Write This Stuff?
Very, very easily. Okay, perhaps not quite so, there are a multitude of different ways to approach writing one and many things you can include. However, the magic potion of your business has one very important ingredient you want to distill, which can be summarized by answering four major questions. You may consider us to be verbose but we are getting there…
Before that, behold some of the most critical writing tips:
- You are writing the elevator pitch for yourself – first and foremost. If you cannot sell your business idea to yourself, how do you think you will be able to persuade others?
- It’s not rocket science. Don’t worry – you are not supposed to discover the meaning of life or anything, you are just uncovering the purpose of what you do. And dressing it in words that are significant and meaningful.
- Keep it short. The shorter your elevator pitch is, the easier you’ll remember it and the more impact it will have on you. Also keep it simple – anyone needs to be able to understand it.
- Write it like you talk. Your elevator pitch should sound like everyday language that is easily understood. Avoid the business jargon and the cliches.
- The only sure way to fail is to give up. So what if you’ve worked on 50 ideas and you’ve had no luck. Make it 51. Sometimes you stumble across a brilliant idea right away, other times you have to push through some bad ones. Keep writing.
The Very Essence
Do you remember we mentioned magic ingredients? Make sure your elevator pitch answers four simple questions:
- What is it that you do – what need or problem do you solve?
- Who for?
- What does it mean to them?
- What makes you different?
Answer these in a convincing manner and you are done. Remember that the answer to “What you do” has to focus on the core of your business. And what makes you different is what sells your product – it could be your location or your service, or your target market or your business values. Whatever it is – find it and bottle it.
What is your elevator pitch? Why don’t you share it with us in the comment box along with a link to your business website?