How to write a great elevator pitch

Thirty seconds isn’t a lot of time, but that’s all you have for the concise, compelling business summary that is an elevator pitch.

Convincing the right person at the right time might make all the difference for your startup. Which is why it pays to master the punchy summary.

While it may be short, an elevator pitch is by no means small. Crammed into that 30 seconds is an explanation of what your business is, what makes it unique and what it hopes to achieve. On top of this, an elevator pitch needs to capture someone’s interest and ensure it’s sustained long after you’ve left.

Because of the sheer amount of information covered in so short a timeframe, an elevator pitch can be harder to write than even the most lengthy and detailed business plan. But because of how often it will be used, it’s crucial to get it right.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to ensure you end up with a great elevator pitch:

What’s the problem?

Your audience needs to walk away from your elevator pitch believing your business leaves the world a better place. There must be something at stake and something to be gained to make your business seem valuable and memorable.

Frame your business as the solution to a problem… there is a problem-solving angle for all businesses.

To achieve this, frame your business as the solution to a problem. Even if one doesn’t come straight to mind, keep thinking – there is a problem-solving angle for all businesses. Once you’ve identified your problem, find a way to present it in a relatable manner that can be quickly and easily grasped.

Why you?

Just as important as presenting a problem to be solved is explaining why your business is ideally placed to solve it. If this connection isn’t made, your audience will be left wondering why your competitors can’t do it or, worse, why they can’t do it themselves.

Identify your unique features and what makes them efficient and effective, explaining clearly and concisely how they solve the problem. At the same time, touch on the shortcomings of other existing approaches to the problem and why yours is different and better.

Who cares?

Put the audience first. They need to be excited about you and your business for your elevator pitch to stick, so go for the rousing and inspiring. Where possible, use narratives to engage people on a deeper level. Avoid anything negative – keep it constructive, affirmative and optimistic to create lasting positive associations.

Put the audience first. They need to be excited about you and your business.

At the same time, ensure your language serves your audience. Cut the dry jargon that slows speech down and use natural, plain English. Don’t get bogged down by boring nouns but draw on punchy verbs that convey action and results. Meet your audience halfway and make it easy for them to understand, remember and care about your business and what it does.

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