brandiD has the opportunity to work with amazing small business owners from a range of industries and backgrounds. While we often help entrepreneurs develop their presence and impact online, we also help our clients more fully develop their personal brand and identity. One area we always discuss extensively is the “elevator pitch.”
Most entrepreneurs struggle with this deceptively short but all-important way of distinguishing their brands. So we’ve compiled our top tips for crafting a succinct and memorable view of your business.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
Your “elevator pitch” is the 30-second summary of your business and your professional experiences you give in response when someone says, “Tell me about your business,” or asks “What do you do?”
This all-important two or three sentence response (or brief phrase) is also often referred to as a unique value proposition (UVP) or unique selling proposition. It’s what makes you different from your competitors and helps professional connections and prospective clients understand why you’re the right person for the job.
Why your elevator pitch matters
There’s no doubt that being armed with a solid elevator pitch can give you the confidence you need to meet and network with potential customers, industry leaders, and other influencers in your space. But beyond that, your elevator pitch gives your connections a more concrete understanding of your business and how you can help them or others like them.
It makes you memorable, which can open doors to new leads and professional opportunities. Beyond that, having a firm understanding of your elevator pitch will help you narrow your focus so you can network to the right audience and attract the right kinds of leads for your business.
5 Elevator Pitch Tips for Entrepreneurs
Here’s our top five tips for giving a succinct and memorable view of your business with a winning elevator pitch.
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.
Your elevator pitch is a reflection of your unique style and approach but it’s also a culmination of your past experiences, professional roles, and ‘zone of genius’. When you express your values authentically, people will understand how what you provide is uniquely your own.
For 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. Why are you–and you alone–qualified to solve the problems your ideal prospect is struggling with?
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 smartphone out, suggest that they pull up your website. Your card and website are both reflections of your brand, so make sure the language you’re using in your pitch is used across all marketing collateral and social channels.
Make it easy for prospects to connect with you, and consider an incentive for doing so. For examples, include a 20% discount coupon on the back of your business card or offer 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.
Steps to a better elevator pitch
If you’re just getting started with your elevator pitch or know you need to improve what you have today, it can feel overwhelming. Start by brainstorming answers to these prompts:
- Who do I want to serve in my business and what do I love about my work?
- What are the major pain points my clients (or customers) are experiencing that I can help with?
- What makes me different and uniquely qualified?
Next, take some of your responses and plug them into a pitch format like this:
“I help [type of customers] solve [major pain point] by [my unique skills and experiences]”
Once you have this positioning statement down, you can refine and improve your statement until you have a strong elevator pitch that uniquely reflects your business.
Do you have an elevator pitch? Share it in the comments below!