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Nailing a pitch with the right people can change the future of your business. It can be the difference between securing funding or a new retailer and not.
What makes the perfect pitch? And how do you make sure you’re ready to pitch at a moment's notice? Read on to find out.
A pitch is when you present your business ideas to someone with the aim of them agreeing to work with you. And you can be agreeing on a variety of things, it doesn’t always mean buying or investing – think of pitching as getting people interested in your ideas.
When you give an elevator pitch, you share your business ideas quickly. It’s called an elevator pitch because it should be between 30 to 60 seconds – the amount of time you’d be in an elevator with someone.
Before you can perfect an elevator pitch, you’ll need to understand the fundamentals of a great pitch.
This may sound simple, but it’s easy to miscommunicate the value of your business to someone who doesn’t understand it. Taking the time to think about your business's unique selling point (USP) is important because what you value about your business may not be the same for your customers.
What problem does your business solve and what gap does it fill? Having a clear idea of this will help you communicate the value of your business effectively.
To make sure you’re communicating in the clearest way possible, you need to tailor your pitch to your audience.
If you’re pitching to investors, they’ll be knowledgeable about business but might not be experts in your industry. Over-using jargon and focusing too much on technical details could make your pitch hard to follow.
A phrase that’s commonly used for pitching is: ‘sell the problem, not the solution’. A mistake that’s often made when pitching is focusing too much on what your business solves while your audience doesn’t understand the problem.
But if you’re pitching your product to a wholesaler within your industry, you can assume some knowledge and illustrate how your product fills a gap in the market.
Before going into a pitch, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about your business that you won’t have covered in your pitch.
Here are some questions to ask yourself in preparation for a pitch:
People who invest in your business want to know that their money and time is best placed with you. Being able to show you’re an organised and forward-thinking business owner can help convince them of that.
An effective pitch is a concise pitch. There’s no need to fill a pitch with unnecessary detail, focus on what the audience cares about – the problem and how you’re the solution.
But there’s a skill to covering all the necessary information in a pitch. This is why it’s useful to structure and practise your elevator pitch.
You can’t explain everything about your business in an elevator pitch so you need to be selective. Think of an elevator pitch as the beginning of a new working relationship.
They’re great at giving people a sense of who you are, what you do, and what you want. And they’re useful anytime you need to quickly introduce your business to someone, like at a networking event.
An elevator pitch follows the same fundamentals as a regular pitch. We go into more detail below, along with an elevator pitch example to give you an idea.
Begin by introducing yourself and the name of your business – then the industry and specialisation. For example:
“Hello my name’s Susan and I run a sustainable food packaging company called Friendly Packing”.
This is a short, clear intro that gives all the necessary information.
Then share your USP and remember to focus on the problem before the solution. For example:
“We’ve found that businesses want biodegradable food packaging but are disappointed with products that break too easily and ruin their customer’s orders. Our product is more durable than other products in our industry and is proving popular with our clients.”
Once you’ve explained your business's purpose and value, you’ll want a call to action. This doesn’t need to be asking people to buy, it rarely is with an elevator pitch.
You want to encourage further conversation. Giving out a business card or an email address where they can contact you is a common strategy.
Have you ever done an elevator pitch? Let us know in the comments below.
Zach Hayward-Jones is a Copywriter at Simply Business, with six years of writing experience across entertainment, insurance, and financial services. Zach specialises in covering small business and landlord insurance. He has a particular interest in issues impacting the hospitality industry after spending a number of years working as a pastry chef.
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