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So you’ve taken the first step towards becoming an entrepreneur. You’ve come up with a business plan and are looking for investors for your business. Crafting an elevator pitch can help you immensely to achieve your goals. This is true not just for new companies, but also for bringing in new business and cash flow to established ones.

An elevator pitch is a 60-second, winning pitch about your company that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to know more about your services. Imagine that you enter an elevator and find yourself in the company of Bill Gates. You have 60 seconds to impress him enough that he asks for a meeting to discuss your ideas in more detail. That’s the power that a good elevator pitch should have. It’s not useful in just an elevator, obviously! It can help you to create short, powerful presentations on-the-go as well, and be used in sales, marketing and many other fields of your business.

So, how would you create a winning elevator pitch for yourself? First of all, remember that it needs to be effective and memorable. Don’t try to cram as much information as you can into a minute! No one wants to listen to an information dump. Think of it as a casual conversation about what your listener’s appetite and leave him/her hungry for more!

WHO

Describe who you are, keeping in mind the importance of first impressions. You have to capture his interest immediately. So, how would you describe yourself in one line if someone asked, “What do you do for a living?” While you describe your company, try to include a quantifiable benefit that you add to your consumers. For example, we at Youth Inc might say, “We publish a youth magazine that helps Indian youths reach their aspirations by focusing on education, careers and entertainment.” Keep your answer pithy and gauge your listener’s response. If he or she looks interested, then continue with your speech. If not, go back to the drawing board with your pitch!

WHAT

Describe your company and what you want to do. Find the one distinguishing factor that sets you apart – the ease of use, network, or fast turnaround time – and sell that factor. This is crucial because the whole point of your elevator speech is to grab someone’s attention with something that is new, exciting and better than established models. Communicate the excitement that made you want to start up your company as an entrepreneur. From the pre-concept stage itself, there had to be something, an edge that makes your company stand out. If you can’t identify a unique selling point for your company, then that’s a problem in the model.

WHY

To get the person you are speaking to interested in your product, you need to hook his personal interest. A venture capitalist will get several such proposals in a day and will probably be keen to ask you a couple of questions. If not, engage a discussion by asking an open-ended question, like “Does this area interest you?” This will also help you to gauge your listener’s level of involvement in the conversation. If he or she responds positively to your idea, then you can ask to continue the conversation later in a formal setting.

TIPS

EDIT:

You need to have mentioned everything you need to in 60 seconds. In the age of the Twitterati, this should not be terribly difficult. The key is to make your ideas as simple and concise as possible while delivering maximum impact.

BELIEVE:

The elevator pitch is something that you carry with you all the time. It should come as naturally as breathing. You should be able to speak to someone on the phone and give your elevator pitch even while working on other tasks. This only happens if you truly believe every word you are saying.

A great example of a time when an elevator pitch would come in handy is in the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness, where Will Smith has to convince a potential employer to give him a chance in the course of a taxi ride. Similarly, in Working Girl, Meg Ryan did a fantastic elevator pitch and got the job. She was actually in the elevator too!

Volume 1 Issue 11