Elevator Pitch

Sarah Wig writes articles for Investocracy News, a news and media platform focusing on startup news from Africa and Asia

Looking for angel investors or VCs to raise money for your business? One of the most important parts of approaching an investor is to prepare a perfect elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a brief and persuasive introduction to what your company does in order to engage people’s interest. It helps investors get to know important details about your business in a concise manner in a short span of time. Therefore, having a perfect elevator pitch ready is very important while approaching investors to raise money.

Five keys points for delivering the perfect elevator pitch

1. Keep it short

You need to grab the attention of your investors in less than 60 seconds. In fact, Google’s business pitch for its first round of funding was just 10 words: “Google organizes the world’s information and makes it universally accessible.” Michaeal Mortiz, who invested in Google hearing this pitch, said in his book that the pitch was clear and had a sense of purpose. Therefore, while deciding what to include in your pitch, choose quality over quantity. Most investors are willing to get on board due to just one exciting thing about your business. Consequently, mentioning ten things which might not be exclusive to your company will not portray how your company is different and will not get investors excited. Play to your strengths and stick to your niche.

However, in an attempt to keeping the pitch short, try not to speak too fast and rush it. While you clearly understand the information that is in your pitch, it is new for the investors. Be clear and concise about what you are trying to convey.

Tip: Don’t make your pitch longer than it takes for you to ride in an elevator from the top to bottom of a building (hence, the name ‘elevator’ pitch)

2. Mention your main goal or mission

Mention what the goal of your company is and what it is that you are trying to achieve very clearly. A key question to answer in the perfect elevator pitch is why your company is going to be successful.

Present the main problem that your company is trying to solve. How will your product uniquely help your customer? Mention a solution specific to that problem that your company wants to provide. Providing a vague solution and mentioning a list of the general benefits the consumers will gain by your company will not portray your uniqueness.

For example: Facebook was launched to simply solve a common problem faced by the consumers- the inability to control the information about themselves on the internet and to find a way to connect with others. Facebook provided a direct and unique solution to this problem- a social networking platform that allows people to upload information about themselves and connect with others through the internet.

One of the most important things investors are looking for is understanding which direction the company wants to go and could go in. Investors want to know what the future of your company will look like and whether it is worth investing. Therefore, clearly state what your company aims to achieve.

Avoiding unnecessary extra information can help investors not be distracted from your main point. Mention only what is important and add to the overall pitch.

Tip: Add an attention-grabbing statistic that represents a valuable part of your business.

3. Emphasise your USP (Unique Selling Point)

Try to answer these questions while writing your pitch: What is special about your company? Which specific point do you want the investors to remember you by? What will make them want to invest in your business specifically? Answering these questions will help you showcase your USP to the investors.

While mentioning your competitors in the pitch, emphasise how and why you are different and better. It is important for the investor to know that you are not just another company in your industry.

In 2008, when Steve Jobs launched the MacBook, he described it as “the world’s thinnest notebook”. Everyone in the world saw the use of laptops differently after Steve Job’s pitch. Business strategist usually repeat one sentence in their pitch that describes their product to make the audience remember their USP.

Tip: Make a strong one-sentence pitch for your company like Steve Jobs.

4. Engage the audience

While the essence and basic structure of the number of elevator-pitches you would have to deliver to various investors is usually similar, personalizing it can give you an advantage.

You could include questions towards the end of the pitch that help engage your audience. Preparing open-ended questions instead of yes or no questions will help facilitate a conversation after the pitch is over.

Most importantly, showcase your enthusiasm and smile. Start the pitch confidently and enthusiastically by stating how happy you are to be presenting. You need to be thrilled about your company in order to get investors interested. Everyone will remember how excited you were to present your company, not necessarily the intricate details of your company.

Tip: Customizing the pitch for an investor will make you different and showcase your commitment to the pitch. It will also help grab the audience’s attention.

5. Practice, practice and practice

Read the pitch out loud while editing it. Saying it out loud will bring up hidden mistakes, help you form better sentences and also properly time the pitch. To practice, you can either record the pitch by yourself or say it out load to a friend or family member.

In addition to making sure that you are able to recall all the points perfectly, the end goal of practicing the pitch is to naturally “pitch” like you’re having a conversation and not imitating a robot.

Tip: Pitch to someone who does not know anything about your business and ask questions afterwards.

Now that you are ready to perfect an elevator pitch, you could look at examples of elevator pitches to get you started. An elevator pitch, while it is short and brief, actually requires an in-depth understanding of your business. Following the steps of writing, editing, re-editing, practicing and finally delivering a pitch properly can lead to potential investors. A perfect elevator pitch could be the beginning of many new opportunities!

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A Guide for the Perfect Elevator Pitch

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