Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch

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03/03/2017 | by Ben Alisuag
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  • An elevator pitch is a brief overview of your business, products and/or services. It should be under 1 minute.
  • Having a strong elevator pitch improve your brand’s awareness, and also opens your business up to potential funders and partners.
  • You should say what you do AND describe what you do in your elevator pitch.
  • Be sure to explain why your business (and its products and/or services) are better than the rest of the competition.
  • Give you audience clear action items–How can they buy your product? How can they learn more?

As an entrepreneur, I’m sure you’ve encountered this question many times: So what does your business do?

It’s important to have a polished and descriptive response to this questions for multiple reasons. First, it will help with brand awareness and recognition. If you have an easy and effective way of explaining your business, then your customers will be able to easily talk about your business to their friends and family. As a result, your business will benefit from word-of-mouth marketing.

Secondly, having a strong pitch will open up your business to funding and partnership opportunities, which we will explain in more detail in our blog post on How to Network Like a Pro.  As a small business owner, you should have an “elevator pitch,” which is a short overview of your business, products and/or services. It’s a powerful tool that you are likely to use with networking with potential investors, other businesses, and customers.

What is an elevator pitch?

The term “elevator pitch” comes from the idea that an entrepreneur should be able to effectively explain what his/her business does (as well as explain why it’s better than the rest of the competition) in the amount of time it takes to complete your average elevator ride–roughly 30-90 seconds.

What makes an effective elevator pitch?

Though creativity is always appreciated, you want to make sure your elevator pitch follows this overall format:

  • Say what you do: Even if you have to use technical terms, just say what you do in one sentence. You can elaborate in the next step.
  • Describe what you do: This is where you want to paint a picture of what your business does. Your best bet is to explain the customer need or challenge your product tackles, and then explain how your product or service solves that problem. An easy way to do this is by posing a question. For example, if your business provides guitar lesson, then you could start your pitch by saying: “Did you know playing an instrument can increase the memory capacity of students by up to 4x? That is why we provide one-on-one music lessons for students of all ages.”
  • Explain why your business is better than the rest: You need to be able to explain how your products or services are different from the competition. This is called product differentiation. There are a variety of ways you can stick out; it all depends on what type of value you want to provide to your customers? Is your product more affordable than other products? Does your product provide a heightened level of convenience? Do you provide a higher quality of goods, or superior customer service? Whatever it is that makes your business unique, make sure you show that off in your pitch.
  • State what you want to happen next: This is super important, and often forgotten, but make sure you tell your audience about next steps. If you are pitching to potential funders, let them know how to contact you, or how to get more information on your business and products. Perhaps you can even follow up by giving them a trial or demo of your product or service. If you’re talking to customers, let them know how and where they can find your products. And if it’s not a fit, ask them to help refer your business to their network.
Put it all together

Just like when you wrote 5-paragraph essays in high school, you’ll want to end your pitch with a summary. It’s important that you don’t present any new information. Simply summarize your main points, and maybe find a creative way to deliver your information.

Hide Summary
Show Summary
  • An elevator pitch is a brief overview of your business, products and/or services. It should be under 1 minute.
  • Having a strong elevator pitch improve your brand’s awareness, and also opens your business up to potential funders and partners.
  • You should say what you do AND describe what you do in your elevator pitch.
  • Be sure to explain why your business (and its products and/or services) are better than the rest of the competition.
  • Give you audience clear action items–How can they buy your product? How can they learn more?