Mastering The Art of The Elevator Pitch
Trying to pitch a new business idea to investors in an elevator isn’t an easy to task (to say the least). Most venture capitalists are busy people who don’t want to spend their time — even on the elevator — talking about the weather or other irrelevant topics. So, it’s your job to convince him or her to fund your venture, and you must do so in a very narrow window of time.
Keep It Short
Conventional wisdom should tell you to keep your elevator pitch short. With a typical elevator ride lasting just a couple of minutes, time is of the essence. You must convey the value of your business idea, while telling the investor why he or she should fund your venture. It’s not a bad idea to practice at home in front of the mirror with a stopwatch. If your pitch is longer than 30 seconds, you need to revise it.
Know How Much Capital You Need
Determine exactly how much capital you need before stepping onto the elevator with an investor or group of investors. Telling investors “I don’t know yet,” “maybe around X amount of dollars” will raise a red flag that sends them heading out the elevator, never to be seen or heard from again. Go through your current finances and business plant to identify your financial needs, as this will help in delivering the perfect elevator pitch.
Know To Whom You Are Pitching
Blindly jumping into an elevator with an investor you know nothing about is a recipe for disaster. Given today’s reliance of social media and the Internet, researching the background on an investor is a relatively easy process. If you know the investor’s name, try searching for it on Google. This alone should reveal several credible sources of information pertaining to him or her. You can then tailor your elevator pitch so it’s relevant and meaningful to the investor, increasing your chances of success.
Above all else, remain professional and polite when delivering your elevator pitch to investors. Far too many entrepreneurs step into the elevator with no clear plan or strategy, assuming they’ll “wing it.” Nine out of ten times, this ends in failure. So, plan your pitch ahead of time, delivering it in a professional manner.
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