Step up your el­e­va­tor pitch game

South Shore Breaker - - Wheels - LIAM TAYLER BREAK­ING BUSI­NESS DOWN [email protected]­o­lu­

“What does your busi­ness do?” It is a ques­tion that strikes fear into the hearts of most en­trepreneurs.

Whether it is a so­cial or busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment, you im­me­di­ately be­gin to eval­u­ate your in­ter­roga­tor … “What are they af­ter?” “Are they a po­ten­tial cus­tomer?” “How much time do we have?”

Your re­sponse can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween a last­ing and prof­itable busi­ness al­liance; or the short­est con­ver­sa­tion since you said “yes, they do make you look a bit fat …”

I am al­ways in­cred­u­lous that a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of en­trepreneurs have dif­fi­culty in defin­ing ex­actly what their busi­ness does; but in to­day’s time-starved world it is vi­tal that you can suc­cinctly sum­ma­rize your of­fer­ing.

The pitch

This brief de­scrip­tion of your busi­ness is known as the “el­e­va­tor pitch.” It is a very con­densed ver­sion of your en­tire busi­ness model — can you get your mes­sage across in 60 sec­onds? 30? One sen­tence?

I per­son­ally be­lieve that you need just one sen­tence to get your point across. If you have time to em­bel­lish a lit­tle more, great, but don’t bank on it! Al­ways try and get the fol­low­ing across: 1. Ex­pla­na­tion of your busi­ness 2. Ben­e­fit of your busi­ness 3. What makes your busi­ness unique

Try and en­gage with the po­ten­tial clients, ask a ques­tion that can’t be an­swered with a yes/no.

Then prac­tice.

The sce­nario

You are wait­ing for the el­e­va­tor in the lobby of a ho­tel; all of a sud­den The Dragons Den stars are stand­ing be­hind you, it is an op­por­tu­nity not to be missed, what do you say?

You pique their in­ter­est with an amus­ing pun about how the wait for the el­e­va­tor is start­ing to “drag on.” It ar­rives and they fol­low you in; The Dragons are go­ing to the fifth floor and they ask you what your busi­ness does… The doors close and you have your cap­tive au­di­ence for 40 sec­onds! (Av­er­age time be­tween floors is 10 sec­onds).

Floor 1 (Ex­pla­na­tion): “Thank you for ask­ing! SME So­lu­tions is a one-stop shop for small busi­nesses; pro­vid­ing pro­fes­sional ser­vices such as ac­count­ing, mar­ket­ing and strate­gic plan­ning.”

Floor 2 (Ben­e­fit): “This means small busi­nesses can have af­ford­able ac­cess to proven spe- cial­ist knowl­edge with­out hav­ing to spend valu­able time find­ing each in­di­vid­ual.”

Floor 3 (Unique Fea­ture): “Un­like other agen­cies, ev­ery client has a pro­ject man­ager who en­sures projects are kept on track and that all spe­cial­ists are work­ing to­gether to­wards a com­mon goal.”

Floor 4 (En­gage­ment): “How does your busi­ness man­age your pro­fes­sional ser­vices?”

Floor 5 (Fol­low-up): “It was nice to meet you too, here is my busi­ness card if you need any more in­for­ma­tion. Do you have a busi­ness card to hand?”

Sud­denly, you have clawed your way into do­ing busi­ness with a Dragon!

I apol­o­gize for the shame­less plug of my own busi­ness in this ar­ti­cle, but it fits well with the sce­nario!


Step up your el­e­va­tor pitch game with these help­ful tips.

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