As a startup founder, you know that the first impression is crucial. You have probably heard of the term “elevator pitch” before, but do you know what it really means? Simply put, it’s a concise and compelling message that explains your business idea in a way that anyone can understand. The idea is that you can deliver this message in the time it takes to ride an elevator from one floor to another. The elevator pitch is your chance to make a lasting impression on potential investors, partners, and customers. In this quick guide, we’ll cover the essential elements of a great elevator pitch, share tips for crafting a memorable message, and provide examples of successful pitches. By the end of this guide, you’ll have the confidence and skills to deliver a winning elevator pitch that will take your startup to the next level.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in what your startup does. It’s called an elevator pitch because it should be short enough to deliver during a brief elevator ride. It’s a way to introduce yourself, your company, and your product or service to someone who has never heard of you before. The goal of an elevator pitch is to create interest and leave a lasting impression. If done correctly, it can open doors and lead to new opportunities.
Why is an elevator pitch important for startups?
As a startup founder, you need to be able to explain your business idea quickly and effectively. You never know when you will encounter someone who could be a potential investor, partner, or customer. You need to be able to capture their attention and explain your value proposition in a way that is easy to understand. An elevator pitch is a way to do just that. It gives you a clear and concise message that you can use to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at any time.
Elements of a successful elevator pitch
A great elevator pitch should have the following elements:
Next, explain how your startup solves the problem. What is your unique solution? How does it differentiate your startup from the competition? Focus on the benefits that your solution provides.
Who is your target audience? What is the size of the market? What is the potential for growth? Be specific and provide data to support your claims.
What progress have you made so far? Do you have any customers, partnerships, or funding? Share any notable achievements that demonstrate your traction.
Who is on your team? What are their backgrounds and expertise? What makes your team uniquely qualified to execute on your startup’s vision?
Crafting your elevator pitch – Tips and tricks
Crafting a great elevator pitch takes time and practice. Here are some tips and tricks to help you create a memorable message:
1. Keep it simple
Your elevator pitch should be easy to understand. Avoid using technical jargon or buzzwords. Use simple language and focus on the benefits of your product or service.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Practice your pitch until you can deliver it flawlessly. Record yourself and watch the playback. Get feedback from others and make adjustments as needed.
3. Be passionate
Your passion for your startup should come through in your pitch. Be enthusiastic and confident. Show that you believe in what you’re doing.
4. Tailor your pitch
Tailor your pitch to your audience. Different people may be interested in different aspects of your startup. Be prepared to adjust your message based on who you’re talking to.
5. Use storytelling
Use storytelling to make your pitch more engaging. Share a personal experience or anecdote that illustrates why your startup is unique and valuable.
Elevator pitch examples for startups
Here are some examples of successful elevator pitches:
“Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows people to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers. We provide a platform for people to find unique, affordable accommodations all over the world. With over 2 million listings in 190 countries, we’re changing the way people travel.”
“Uber is a smartphone app that connects passengers with drivers. We’re revolutionizing the transportation industry by making it easy and convenient for people to get a ride anytime, anywhere. With over 100 million users in 600 cities worldwide, we’re on a mission to make transportation as reliable as running water.”
“Dropbox is a cloud storage service that allows you to store and share files online. We make it easy to access your files from anywhere, on any device. With over 500 million registered users, we’re helping people all over the world work better together.”
Practice makes perfect – How to rehearse your elevator pitch
Once you have crafted your elevator pitch, it’s time to practice. Here are some tips for rehearsing your pitch:
1. Record yourself
Record yourself delivering your pitch. Watch the playback and take notes on areas where you can improve.
2. Get feedback
Ask friends, family, or colleagues to listen to your pitch and provide feedback. Take their comments into consideration and make adjustments as needed.
3. Time yourself
Make sure your pitch is within the time limit. You don’t want to be cut off mid-sentence because you ran out of time.
4. Use props
Use props to help illustrate your message. This could be a physical product, a slide deck, or a video.
Delivering your elevator pitch – Do’s and Don’ts
When it comes time to deliver your elevator pitch, keep these do’s and don’ts in mind:
- Be confident and enthusiastic
- Make eye contact
- Speak clearly and slowly
- Use body language to emphasize key points
- Have a business card or other contact information ready to give out
- Don’t use technical jargon or buzzwords
- Don’t talk too fast
- Don’t be too scripted
- Don’t forget to listen to the other person and ask questions
Using your elevator pitch beyond the elevator – Networking events, investor meetings, and more
Your elevator pitch is not just for elevators. You can use it in a variety of situations, such as:
1. Networking events
Use your elevator pitch to introduce yourself to new people and start a conversation. It’s a great way to break the ice and make a memorable first impression.
2. Investor meetings
Your elevator pitch is crucial when pitching to potential investors. Make sure you have a polished pitch that highlights your traction and potential for growth.
3. Sales meetings
Use your elevator pitch to explain your product or service to potential customers. Focus on the benefits that your solution provides and how it solves their pain points.
Elevator pitch resources – Books, podcasts, and online courses
Here are some resources to help you master the elevator pitch:
- “The Art of the Elevator Pitch” by Chris O’Leary
- “Pitch Anything” by Oren Klaff
- “The One Sentence Pitch” by Chris Westfall
- “The Pitch” by Gimlet Media
- “Entrepreneur on Fire” by John Lee Dumas
- “The Sales Evangelist” by Donald C. Kelly
3. Online courses
- “Elevator Pitch Mastery” by Udemy
- “Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal” by Oren Klaff on LinkedIn Learning
- “The Perfect Elevator Pitch To Land A Job” by Skillshare
Crafting a great elevator pitch takes time and practice, but it’s worth the effort. Your elevator pitch is your chance to make a lasting impression on potential investors, partners, and customers. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to create a message that is concise, compelling, and memorable. Remember, your elevator pitch is not just for elevators. Use it in a variety of situations to open doors and create new opportunities for your startup.