Saturday, August 1, 2009

Elevator Pitch for Entrepreneurs

I’m sure you know what an Elevator pitch is.

Wikipedia says: “An elevator pitch (or elevator speech) is an overview of an idea for a product, service, or project. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride (for example, thirty seconds or 100-150 words).

The term is typically used in the context of an entrepreneur pitching an idea to a venture capitalist to receive funding. Venture capitalists often judge the quality of an idea and team on the basis of the quality of its elevator pitch, and will ask entrepreneurs for the elevator pitch to quickly weed out bad ideas.”

To me, an elevator pitch is just like a blind date. You are pitching to a person that you don’t know and met by chance. And just like on a blind date, the first impression counts and it needs to bring you a “second date”.

I’m not what you could say en expert on elevator pitching as here were I live (Eastern Europe), investment and funding happens on a much different way. However, even without knowing it, almost everybody does at least a couple of elevator pitches at family reunions, social or business meeting when you are asked: “So what do you do?”. And you have to come up with a very rapid answer, that is not complicated and explains in a few words what you are doing.

In this environment (family or social meetings) you have to prove yourself that you are worthy and did something with your life. In real cases scenarios when you pitch a potential investor, things are a little complicated: you have to make them give their money to you.

There are plenty of articles on how to make an elevator pitch. I do however think that an elevator pitch is not a “poem you should learn”, but it gets self-crafted over a series of trials and errors pitches during your entrepreneurship life. My 2008 elevator pitch is way different from the one I did 2007. And the 2005 elevator pitch actually makes me laugh.

There are some things you should have in mind when getting out your elevator pitch: what needs do you cover, what’s unique about the way you are fulfilling the need and how much money it will make.

Here is a story about a successful pitch and a video that says things better than I do.

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