The elevator pitch is the exciting part of business that small business leaders must know how to execute well.
It’s essentially a method of communicating with funders, investors, and partners with speed and accuracy what your business and your ideas are about. It’s named an ‘elevator’ pitch because it should almost be so speedy and succinct as to be deliverable inside the confines of an elevator.
Efficiency and information transmission techniques are the names of the game here. The following article aims to provide you with the strongest base to boost your pitching skills to the penthouse suite of investor persuasion.
Why You Need an Elevator Pitch
It’s most common for small businesses to use their elevator pitches for a commercial loan. This means asking investors to back their idea, concept or business through persuasive rhetoric.
Your company will undoubtedly require a cash advance to help it go from strength to strength. That’s why being able to persuade investors to regard your business with confidence is a savvy way to get your business to where it belongs. These pitches can even result in profitable company acquisition scenarios.
Aside from the most obvious and lucrative benefits of your elevator pitch development, it’s also a useful way to network your company in general.
You may, genuinely, come across someone asking you about your business in an elevator. Instead of fumbling for an accurate and short description, you’ll have one on the tip of your tongue to explain to new acquaintances.
You never know where this kind of professional and smart impression might lead you.
The Fundamentals of Your Pitch
While the information contained in business pitches are different depending on the size, scope and specialization of a company, an elevator pitch should always include the following fundamentals:
- A brief introduction to your company and its areas of operation
- The justification for your company’s existence – using figures where you can
- The particular idea that you’re developing, and what’s so exciting about it
- More figures, this time projecting your market and growth capabilities
- The reason behind your request for funding, and how investments will be used
- Your own personal and professional aspirations and professionalism, attempting to build trust and rapport
You can chop and change a good deal here. Pitches should always follow the same basic structure, with your business idea or USP leading the direction of the conversation.
You should always try to deliver easily-digestible nuggets of information to those listening to your pitch. But don’t forget that the art of persuasion is something you’re also trying to leverage upon.
How to be Persuasive
The Ancient Greeks determined three main components of persuasive discourse that we still look to today. They are the appeals to reason, authority, and emotion; or logos, ethos and pathos.
In your own rhetorical manner, you should remember that everything you say should be in some way appealing to your investors. Adding a commercial loan outlook to this equation, always remember that investors are interested in their returns, so make sure to highlight the possibilities where that is concerned.
You’re likely to mostly rely on the logos – the appeal to the rational mind – when delivering your pitch.
In this sense, you’ll be delivering high-quality, trustworthy and impressive information in a manner that those listening will be keen to explore.
This is actually what makes the elevator pitch so effective. It’s so short and so formulaic that you must at all times be following a rational and understandable route towards the wallets of your audience.
When constructing your elevator pitch, you should consider that it’ll take time to perfect. It’s not something you can rely on to execute off-the-cuff, or after an hour’s note-taking before your meeting.
Instead, take plenty of time to think around the information you want to present, and that which you’ll be able to fall back on in the questions that follow your pitch.
It’s always a good idea to practice your pitch by delivering it to friends, family or colleagues before heading into your investor meeting.
Ensure that whoever you’re pitching to will be able to offer a critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your pitch. They should also ask you questions following your short speech in which they test the weak spots of your proposal.
“You have to explain exactly what the business is in less than 90 seconds. If you can’t do that, you’ll never be successful. You have to be succinct about the opportunity.” – Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank Investors Group
It’s not advisable that you take a script into your meeting. That said, investors are certainly comfortable with you relying on a couple of notes, especially if your pitch is relatively full of figures and statistics.
After all, they want to know that what you’re saying is true. Having notes of the critical numbers will minimize the potential for you to commit a human error in your proposal.
Tone, Manner, and Confidence
It’s perfectly normal to be a little nervous before you make your pitch. You are, after all, delivering information about something you’re incredibly passionate about, and that you’ve worked long hours to perfect.
However, betraying these nerves during your elevator pitch will only come across as a lack of confidence. A lack of confidence not only in your delivery style but your proposal itself.
This can affect the interest rates of commercial loans you receive, or it can result in outright rejections or humiliations.
Small business owners do, at least, know their company inside out and back to front. It should give you the confidence to assert yourself in the presence of other business experts who’re looking at investment opportunities.
There are a host of useful confidence and tone-balancing tips online to help you find the right delivery style – one that feels natural to you. One suggestion to get the ball rolling is to establish rapport straight away instead of running headlong into your pitch.
Exchange pleasantries and a little small talk before you come around to introducing yourself and your business. Be confident that your business is growing, expanding and heading to a bright future.
Successful Elevator Pitches
Successful elevator pitches are engaging, enlightening and persuasive. They spare no time in getting to the center of the issue, with all information emanating from the core of your proposal – that you’re an attractive investment opportunity.
You’ll be confident, professional and self-assured. You’ll be prepared to answer any questions, and you’ll have thought strategically about how much you give away in your pitch, perhaps holding back a couple of jaw-dropping figures to deliver later in your meeting.
The key to the most successful elevator pitches is to prepare well. The more time you put into the construction of your pitch, the more likely it is to blow your audience away.