Elevator pitch examples are commonplace in the entrepreneurial world, underlining the epitome of what it takes to win the heart of investors.
Entrepreneurs know that the most important part of starting a business is securing investors – in fact, according to the Small Business Administration, it is crucial to calculate startup costs in order to attract investors (2023).
You will likely pitch your business hundreds of times at networking events, meetings with banking professionals, speaking with venture capitalists, and talking to friends and family.
Preparing your elevator speech upfront will help you tackle all of these meetings with confidence.
Read on for tips on how to write an elevator pitch and examples to effectively sell your idea and find seed money to launch.
- What is an elevator pitch?
- What to say in your elevator pitch
- What not to say during your pitch
- Tips for making your pitch memorable
- What to do after your pitch
- Templates for writing your pitch
Let’s dive right in!
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief yet compelling summary of your background and qualifications.
It is a summary of your business plan for businesses, including who you are and what you can do for customers. When considering how to write an elevator pitch, looking at elevator pitch examples can provide insight on how to communicate your business idea and the market need it fills in 60 seconds or less.
The phrase “elevator pitch” comes from the idea of being able to describe your business in the time it takes for an elevator ride.
Over the years, people have taken this idea and made it better, showing how a first impression can make a big difference.
What to Say in Your Elevator Pitch
Your pitch should cover a few basic topics, including:
- Your background
- A description of your business
- How you are different
- Your benefit to potential clients
- Call to action
Start your pitch with a brief introduction. You don’t have to go into a detailed breakdown of your resume, but you should establish why you are qualified to run this business.
For example, if you are opening a restaurant, include your years of experience as a chef or restaurant manager.
A Description of Your Business
This should be interesting. Rather than simply stating that you’re opening a restaurant, go into detail on your type of cuisine and how it fits into the local restaurant scene.
How You are Different
This is your chance to hook investors. Communicate the attributes of your business that stand out. Are you the only restaurant of its type in your area? Are you hiring a renowned chef who is a hot commodity?
When you were developing your business plan, you should have determined your unique value. Summarize this.
Your Benefit to Potential Clients
In this part of your pitch, highlight your benefit to your customers. Detail the problems that your business will solve for customers. It could be a unique process or a product that will change how your customers run their businesses. Cover how you add value to clients.
Call to Action
Finish your elevator pitch with a call to action. This can be an awkward part of the pitch because you don’t want to appear too eager. But you should end by asking for a phone call or even a short request for feedback on your idea.
Be prepared with business cards and take the card of the person to whom you’re talking.
Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch Delivery
Getting your elevator pitch right is as much about how you say it as what you say. This section is all about the little tweaks that can make your pitch more appealing to potential investors.
While looking at other elevator pitch examples can help, adding a personal touch can really make your pitch shine.
Here’s some tips to help you perfect your delivery:
- Tailor your pitch
- Use storytelling techniques
- Use positive body language
- Handle questions and objections
- Seek professional help
- Monitor and adapt
Practicing is key to a great pitch. It’s good to rehearse in front of a mirror or with friends who can give you helpful feedback. Recording and watching your pitch can show you what needs to be fixed. Aim to come across as confident and to the point.
Tailor Your Pitch
Every investor is unique and might be looking for different things. Making small changes to your pitch to suit who you’re talking to can go a long way. A little research on your audience can be very helpful.
Use Storytelling Techniques
People connect with stories more than just facts. Adding a short story that shows the problem your business solves or the opportunity it creates can make your pitch memorable.
Use Positive Body Language
How you present yourself matters. Eye contact, open gestures, and showing that you’re excited about your idea can help engage your audience.
Handle Questions and Objections
Be ready for questions and handle them confidently. This shows that you know your stuff, both about your business and the market.
Seek Professional Help
Think about getting help from a pitch coach or a public speaking group to get better at delivering your pitch. Their feedback can be very useful.
Monitor and Adapt
Get feedback on your pitches, see what’s working and what’s not, and be ready to make changes.
The business world is always changing, and your pitch should too.
By working on how you deliver your pitch, you improve your chances of grabbing investors’ attention and getting the funding you need to start your business.
Continuous practice, feedback, and being willing to adapt can not only improve your pitch but also help you grow as an entrepreneur.
How to Write an Elevator Pitch?
Writing an effective elevator pitch involves a clear and concise message that can be delivered quickly, yet is compelling enough to interest the listener in what you’re offering. Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting your elevator pitch:
- Identify Your Goal: Start by deciding what the objective of your pitch is. Do you want to introduce your business, propose a project, or are you seeking a job or networking opportunity?
- Explain What You Do: Begin your pitch by describing what your business, product, or service does. Focus on the problems that you solve and how you help people. If you’re seeking a job or networking, focus on your professional skills and what you can offer.
- Communicate Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Clearly articulate what makes you, your idea, or your organization different and valuable. Be specific about what sets you apart from the competition.
- Engage with a Question: This can be an effective way to involve your listener and spark a conversation. Make sure the question is relevant and thought-provoking.
- Be Succinct: An effective elevator pitch should be concise, ideally under 30 seconds. You need to be able to deliver it smoothly without rushing, within the time it would take for an elevator ride.
- Tell a Story or Give an Example: A short story or example can make your pitch more compelling and memorable. It should illustrate your point and be relatable to your audience.
- Practice Your Pitch: It’s important to practice your pitch until it feels natural. You should be able to deliver it smoothly and confidently without sounding like you’re reading from a script.
- Tailor Your Pitch: Be prepared to adjust your pitch for different audiences. The pitch you give to a potential investor, for example, might be slightly different from the one you give to a potential customer or employer.
- End with a Call to Action: Your pitch should end with a request or an invitation for further conversation. Be clear about what you want the listener to do next.
- Prepare for Responses: Be ready to answer questions or provide additional information. The goal of your pitch is to open a dialogue, so be prepared for where that conversation could lead.
Keep in mind: the key to a successful elevator pitch is to make it engaging, clear, and concise, while also conveying your enthusiasm and the value of what you’re offering.
What Not to Do When Making Your Pitch
Elevator pitches should be short and sweet.
They should be intriguing and make the investor want to hear more about your business. When determining how to write an elevator pitch, you should avoid the following:
- Being overly wordy
- Using jargon
- Being too general
- Focusing too much on yourself
- Seeming desperate
Being Overly Wordy
Your pitch is the chance to sell your company to investors in a short period of time. Being overly wordy puts you at risk of losing your audience. If you’ve practiced your elevator speech and keep going over 60 seconds, reread it and see what you can remove. Find ways to rewrite sentences, making them easier to understand.
When your business is your passion, it’s easy to assume that everyone has the same knowledge base. But the people you’re pitching might not be familiar with your industry. For an elevator pitch, keep all of your terminology simple. Assume that the people listening don’t know anything about your line of work.
Being Too General
Elevator pitches serve as a sales tool.
Before you can begin marketing to customers, you have to market to the people who can help you launch the business. Investors will quickly decide if you are worth the risk. Your pitch should be specific.
Define the problem and then tell investors how you are going to solve it.
Focusing Too Much on Yourself
Although you want to establish your credibility, you shouldn’t spend too much of your pitch focusing on yourself. This isn’t the time to tell a long story about what inspired you to start your business. Unless it’s interesting and relevant to your business’s unique value, you should only include enough detail to establish yourself as the right person to run your business.
When speaking with potential investors, you should be confident and collected.
You don’t want to seem like you’re begging for money. Putting too much emphasis on investors can be off-putting. If your pitch is interesting enough, then people will follow up.
Don’t put so much pressure on closing the sale, and instead, highlight your company’s value.
When to Use an Elevator Pitch
Here are the key locations where you can use your elevator pitch:
- Job Searching: Use your elevator pitch at job fairs, career expos, and online in your LinkedIn summary or Twitter bio. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to hiring managers and company representatives.
- Networking Events: At networking events and mixers, or professional association programs, have your pitch ready to share with those you meet.
- Job Interviews: Use it during job interviews, especially when asked about yourself. It serves as a super-condensed version of your response.
Making Your Pitch Memorable
Exploring various elevator pitch examples can provide a better understanding of how to make your pitch memorable and effective.
Whether you’re going to a meeting with banking professionals or working the room at a networking event, you want to prepare.
Become familiar with your business plan, including your target market and marketing strategies. Know your competitors and where you fit into the market.
Being prepared will help you effectively answer investor questions with confidence. However, don’t stick to a script. People respond more favorably when you connect with them.
If you approach your pitch like a discussion rather than a rehearsed speech, you will be able to connect to investors.
Memorizing a script can make you seem stiff or inauthentic.
If an investor is interested in your business, they might stop you to ask follow-up questions. Answer these questions with confidence. If you can’t immediately answer the person’s question, jot it down and follow up with an answer later.
This makes you seem more competent than making up a baseless answer on the spot.
Know your audience.
You can change your elevator pitch based on your audience. If you pitch to a group of investors who are familiar with your industry, show how you stand out in the market.
These people might know specifics about the problem that your company solves. If you pitch to people who don’t know about your industry, you might need to establish the problem for them.
What to Do After Your Pitch
Once your pitch has ended, use the time to respond to questions from the investor.
Additionally, use this time to clarify the next steps in the process. If your contact is not interested, simply thank them for their time. Bring business cards with you for people who are interested and hand them out.
If someone has indicated potential interest, follow up with them within 24 hours.
Showcasing the Top 3 Elevator Pitch Examples
Some companies have established a reputation for having great elevator pitches. Many of these entrepreneurs have gone on to build some of the most recognizable brands in the world.
Below are some elevator pitch examples from successful companies that managed to capture the attention of investors:
The elevator pitch example of Airbnb illustrates how effectively communicating a common problem can captivate investors’ attention. As detailed on Slidebean (2023), the founders of Airbnb managed to raise over $500,000 in startup capital based on their pitch.
They were effective in setting up a common travel problem that speaks to people who like to travel.
Airbnb’s slide deck clearly illustrated a gap in the field of lodging that was not acknowledged in the travel industry.
Kangogift elevator pitch example demonstrates the power of a simple, clear message in resonating with potential investors.
It is a software company that helps build company morale by offering tools that let employers recognize hard-working employees.
As part of the initial pitch, the founders included the following tagline: “We make it easy to say ‘thank you at work.” This simple sentence effectively communicates the company’s unique value.
Buffer’s elevator pitch example shows how clarifying a unique position in a crowded market can be a game-changer when seeking investments.
Venngage covered the social media platform Buffer’s successful elevator pitch (2023). It details how the company was having trouble standing out in the crowded market of social media.
To communicate how its platform was different, Buffer’s founders created the following infographic comparing the platform to competitors.
Buffer cleared up confusion about its platform by diagramming its place in the market.
By clearing the confusion about how their platform was different than competitors, Buffer executives successfully raised over $500,000 to start the company.
Elevator Pitch Templates
If you are having trouble narrowing your business plan down to a 60-second elevator pitch, take advantage of these templates. Many have questions that you can answer to hone your pitch and identify your unique value.
- Venngage offers templates for slide decks that you can use to create a quick pitch for business meetings.
- Strategy Peak has PDF templates that you can use to compose the first draft of your elevator pitch. Once written, you can read through it and change things to create interest.
- MindTools includes templates for writing your pitch along with exercises you can do to enhance your public speaking skills.
Perfecting your pitch could prove to be the key to your company’s success. By knowing your company’s story and value and communicating it to potential investors, you can raise money more successfully.
Become familiar with your business plan and find your hook to craft the perfect elevator pitch.
In conclusion, learning to create a good elevator pitch is a key step for every entrepreneur to move from just having a business idea to actually getting the funding needed to start.
By looking at different elevator pitch examples, one can learn both what to say and how to say it to win over investors.
The process from making the pitch to saying it with confidence is all about continuous improvement.
Every interaction, every piece of feedback, and every change made gets you closer to having that perfect pitch that grabs attention and sticks in people’s minds.
By taking inspiration from powerful elevator pitch examples and mixing it with a unique business story, an entrepreneur is well on their way to turning a small startup into a successful business.