What if you had a potential investor or customer standing next to you and you had 30 seconds to sell your idea or business to them? What would you say?
As I work with small business owners at The UPS Store, I encourage them to always have their Elevator Pitch ready. I typically find one of two things — small business owners either know their business or idea well enough to deliver a concise, compelling pitch or they miss the opportunity altogether.
According to a recent survey of 500 small business owners conducted by The UPS Store, more than half of the small business owners surveyed do not have an elevator pitch prepared for their small business. This short but mighty speech is a powerful tool, as it allows you to quickly and persuasively spark interest in your small business with strangers, friends, potential business partners and everyone in between, because you never know who you might encounter. If you were to rank the different ways of connecting with people, what’s more powerful, a request on LinkedIn? A cold call or email? Having a face-to-face opportunity is priceless and you need to be ready to capitalize on it.
Of those small business owners with an elevator pitch prepared, 65 percent say it has been a valuable tool in selling their business, and 85 percent say it is a must-have communications tool for success.
Startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners can follow these simple tips to get their pitch elevator-ready.
1. Write something down.
The very first step in creating a great elevator pitch is getting your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Seeing the words on the page can help you identify gaps and redundancies. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you draft your pitch:
Am I explaining the benefits my business provides? People don’t need to understand the intricacies of your offerings in the first 30 seconds, but they do need to understand how it could make their lives better and what’s in it for them.
Am I inviting further conversation? Though the premise of this tool is built on the idea that these conversations might happen behind the sliding doors of an elevator, the reality is that you can use a good elevator pitch anywhere. At conferences and networking events, you don’t want to be the one forcefully sliding doors shut with an awkward closing statement.
2. Create a value proposition.
When forming an elevator pitch, you should identify a problem or pain point your target customers face, then demonstrate how your business provides a unique solution. You want to clearly communicate your value proposition, by explaining how your product delivers specific benefits that differentiate you from the competition.
3. Ask for input.
More than half of the small business owners we surveyed with elevator pitches prepared have sought out feedback from others. And there’s no reason not to get help when you’re part of the small business community. Your peers can be your greatest resource for feedback and improvement…
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