What is an elevator pitch?
A unique communication delivered in the format of a brief, hard-hitting speech - an elevator pitch is designed to pique a listener's interest over a period of around 30 seconds. Below are the three steps to ensure that your elevator pitch has the best chance of landing well.
Note that you might want to tailor the first two points below to best suit the context. For example, a potential investor will be more interested in your strong unit economics than a potential client would. A client is more likely to be concerned with how your product either addresses a challenge that they are facing or unlocks an opportunity.
The goal, is to agree for a follow-up conversation with someone who is willing and able to further your aims.
1. Quantify the scale of the project
A statistic that indicates the magnitude (prevalence, value, complexity) of the problem that you are solving is an excellent way to begin your elevator pitch. When selecting a data point, opt for those that are as specific as possible to the problem that your business solves. Pointing out that "the beauty market is expected to grow by 5% p.a. over the next 10 years" is interesting but not action inspiring. To inspire action in the listener, the problem must impact them in a significant way. The clearer the association between problem and listener, the greater the likelihood of positive impact.
For example, if we were to pitch Ithaca to a potential client, we might highlight a fact like: "seed to series b rounds with a professional advisor have a c.70% greater chance of successfully closing than ones that don't, and yet c.85% of these rounds do not engage advisors."
2. Outline your solution
As the underlying purpose of your business, explain how your operation is mapped onto the previously identified problem. Once again, this should be targeted to the audience as the goal is to demonstrate the suitability of your solution and the ease with it can be engaged.
Whether presenting your business as an asset through which a venture capital investor can access an attractive trend or as a tool that a client could use to solve a problem, the solution should be carefully explained. For example, "Ithaca provides a tool through which businesses can access a network of vetted, expert freelance experts to support the delivery of their transaction".
3. Practice delivery
Due to the often informal setting of delivery, an elevator pitch should be fluid and not overly structured. Depending on where, and to whom, you are pitching, the optimal tone might vary. In the UK market, which generally responds best to a polite and humble approach, the best elevator pitches are informative but not overly sales-focused.
A poorly delivered elevator pitch can be jarring and, often, the best way to improve delivery is by practice. Finding people you trust to provide you with feedback is a great initial step, you will also notice that your pitch evolves organically over time as you learn which factors are most influential to your audience.