brandiD has been working in partnership with a lot of wonderful Pittsburgh-based organizations including Google Pittsburgh, The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University, and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh to develop the Connecting Urban Entrepreneurs (CUE) Program. We’re helping these amazing small business owners to not only develop websites, but fully developed brands and business development skills.
One area we discussed extensively was their “elevator pitch” those all-important two or three sentences (or brief phrase) that you give in reply when someone says, “tell me about your business,” or asks “what do you do?” Here’s our top five tips for giving a succinct and memorable view of your business.
1. Be Authentic.
YOU are your company. Express your values—the things that you are truly passionate about—rather than listing facts about your business, and your pitch will feel more genuine. Don’t get caught up in describing the physical location of the business or other details too soon. Get to the HEART of the business.
Example: Instead of “I own a restaurant in Homewood,” say “I own a restaurant with authentic Louisiana-style cooking that is bringing a passion for live music back to this city.”
2. Be a Problem Solver.
Tell us what problem your business can solve. Help us to understand WHY you created it and WHO you are serving. Make us feel like you can fill a void in our lives.
3. Keep it Short.
This is why we call it an elevator pitch. You really only get a few short sentences of introduction and possibly the opportunity to answer one or two follow up questions. Get the most important information out first and know when to stop talking. Placing too long of a demand on their time can make your listener uncomfortable and unlikely to engage with you again. It’s better to let them come to you asking for additional information.
4. Have a Call to Action and a Way to Follow Up.
Keep business cards at the ready, or if they have their smart phone out, suggest that they pull up your website. Make it easy for them to get connected with you, and consider an incentive for doing so. Examples of this could be putting a 20% discount coupon on the back of your business card, or offering a free gift for website visitors who give you their email address.
5. Practice. Practice. Practice.
No one gives the perfect pitch the first time. Try your pitch out on some friends who are willing to give you honest feedback. Talking about yourself and your business can feel awkward at first, so rehearse it until it feels more natural. Evaluate the conversation when it’s over, and make notes for things to improve the next time.
What’s your elevator pitch? Would love for you to share it in the comments below.