Every now and then, I would occasionally hear the rants and raves of people who were enrolled in the class I’m currently taking. Among other things, there was one topic that carried a particular feeling of dread among students, and that’s the topic my class is now approaching: The infamous elevator pitch assignment. Indeed, the idea of selling an idea or company to someone in the length of an elevator ride is a daunting task. Knowing the importance of an elevator pitch, Slidebean took a closer look at what goes into a good pitch and created an article with examples and insights for the production of one’s own elevator pitch – examples that I will likely be using as I approach this upcoming project.
One of the nicest things I find about listening to elevator pitches is also one of the things that will be the most challenging for me when actually coming up with a pitch: The struggle to stay concise, and judging by the length of this sentence, I may have my work cut out for me. In a brief amount of time given, one must be able to explain his/her business/product while getting and maintaining the attention of his/her audience. The Slidebean article says to start the pitch with a question, and while I think that may run the risk of a cliche, it still seems like a decent way to capture one’s attention. There was another thing that Slidebean discussed which I found to be an excellent way of getting one’s attention and will serve as an important reminder in my own work on an elevator pitch. However, allow me to make an awkward segue into something slightly unrelated and return to this thought momentarily.
The Slidebean article includes a list of stuff to include in an elevator pitch. As one may expect, this list includes a name, a brief description of the business/product, a target audience, a point(s) of differentiation and a few others. These things are bread and butter when it comes to talking about oneself or one’s product, but who likes someone who talks about him/herself all of the time? Indeed, one point in the Slidebean article says to “Focus On Your Listener,” and that was the point that I think resonated with me the most. One has to talk about his/her product or business and why it’s awesome, but not just why it’s awesome, rather why it’s awesome for you. At the end of the day, it’s the customer’s money who decides which startups succeed or fail, so one has to be mindful of why a customer would want to buy into a product or business. This is the mechanism that I found to be effective in keeping an audience’s attention, and as previously mentioned, this is something that I think will help my partner and I as we take on this project.
In sum, to call elevator pitches an important aspect to a startup (or any business/product, for that matter) is an understatement. They also seem to live up to the fear I’ve heard about from people who were previously in the class. However, the syllabus for the class says the next assigned blog post is meant to be a reflection on elevator pitches, implying that we will have completed the elevator pitch assignment by the time of that blog post. With that in mind, I suppose the following post will contain more refined thoughts on elevator pitches and my experience in making such a pitch. Stay tuned!
“This elevator goes straight to the top of the line!
Everybody’s talking about it.
This elevator don’t stop till we learn how to fight!
Everybody’s talking about it, why don’t we shout about it?!”