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What Is an Elevator Pitch and Why Every Business Owner Needs One

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

What is an Elevator Pitch?

The term Elevator Pitch is used to describe a brief speech that summarises a business, product, service or project. The name comes from the idea that the speech should be delivered in the short time it takes to catch an elevator (lift) to your destination, usually 30-60 seconds.

An elevator pitch is something you can prepare and practice to put your best foot forward when introducing your business and attracting new customers through word of mouth. Use it when talking to someone you’ve just met as well as friends, family and associates to help them clearly understand what you do and why you do it. You just never where your next customer will come from. Your ideal customer could be your new associate or a friend of a friend and if well thought out, your conversation with them could result in a future sale.

If you don't like the term Elevator Pitch, don't worry, just call it something else that resonates with you. Call it your business summary, your business introduction or your intro spiel. The term itself doesn't matter, it's the thoughtful preparation and delivery of what you say and how you say it that does.

Why is an Elevator Pitch Important?

If you don’t have a prepared elevator pitch, you are potentially losing the opportunity to attract new business. When someone asks you what you do, do you stumble through and find it hard to describe? Do you struggle to give an answer that someone from outside your industry would understand? Perhaps your friends and family describe you to other people as “yeah I think she works in fashion or something, I don't really know”.

Here is an example of an unprepared answer to ‘What do you do?’

“Um, ah well it’s quite complicated to describe what I do but I have a small business where we buy second hand material which we cut up and sew into all different items. It’s not your typical clothing store though. We can make anything and everything. It really depends what we feel inspired to make. I’ve been doing this for 20 years but I’m finding staying afloat in business is getting harder with so much overseas production happening and cost cutting by major retailers. People are looking for cheap over quality and just don't appreciate the time it takes to make well made clothes, which is coming at the cost of local jobs and businesses. Our shop is in Northcote and I’m thinking about opening another store. We have all sorts of items for sale and we don’t just sell clothes. You’d really have to come in and see for yourself what we do.”

And here is a carefully thought out elevator pitch in response to the same question.

“I own xyz fashion. We make ecofriendly clothing from second hand clothes and material offcuts. We have some of the most amazing patterns and textures that you won’t find in any chain store. Every item is handmade here in our Melbourne sewing room and sold from our shop in Northcote, as well as directly from our Instagram page and our website. We’re proud supporters of ethical fashion and our customers are the kind of people who love wearing unique, one of a kind statement pieces. We also really appeal to people who care about reducing their impact on the planet. If you look at our Instagram page, you’ll be able to see all of the clothing from our current collection and the story behind each piece.”

Which sounds more compelling to you?

Next time someone asks you what you do, be prepared and give them your Elevator Pitch.

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