The Elevator Pitch – fab or fad?

Last week I had the privilege of judging a StartUp business competition at Planet2010.  The LaunchPad concept was to find the very best business ideas and give 6 finalists 5 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges – Dragon’s Den style.  It was a master-class in the value of having a sassy elevator pitch.  3 of the finalists stood out, not because their ideas were necessarily the best, but because they could quickly and articulately describe their business concept and establish an immediate value proposition that got our attention.

You’ve probably heard of the “elevator pitch” concept – basically you have to be able to confidently describe your business idea, product or service in under 30 seconds (something you can deliver in the time span of an elevator ride).    Initially a technique used by entrepreneurs when pitching for funding from an angel investor or venture capitalist, the elevator pitch is now an essential tool for business owners, sales people and even job seekers.

The internet abounds with resources on this topic – most is fairly “American” and “hard-sell”, as this popular YouTube video demonstrates.   Here is a good, but somewhat serious checklist.

For me — at its most simple — an elevator pitch describes what your business does, the problem you are solving and what you are selling.   If you’re at a BBQ and an attractive person you don’t know, (but want to impress) asks you what you do – your answer is really your business elevator pitch.

So if you’re not sure you could impress that mysterious BBQ guest in describing your business – now might be a great time to think about developing an elevator pitch.  You can use the “content” in conversations, in print, on your website – even when recruiting new staff.  It’s your best way of describing what you do and why someone should buy from you.

So – do you have an elevator pitch?  What is it? How did you go about developing it?  Your views and comments as always are welcomed!

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