Making your elevator pitch work

June 24, 2010

LEBANON/Stuck in an elevator with a well-known investor, but not sure how to make the most of your two minute ride?

Becky Reuber, a professor of strategic management at Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, has a few tips on how to craft an effective elevator pitch.

Here are Reuber’s four main points you need to get across to get investor attention:

1. What is your product/service?

Don’t launch into a technical explanation of how your product works, said Reuber. Keep it concise and to the point. For example: I make a tool that allows carpenters to hammer nails in hard to reach places.

2. Why are buyers going to buy it?

“The number one concern that people are going to be interested in is, do you have a compelling value proposition for a target market that you understand,” said Reuber.

She pointed out that you can tell someone your market is a billion people, but that alone means nothing. It’s far more valuable to be able to say: these three people purchased my product for this specific reason, and there is an entire market of people out there just like them who will want my product instead of the one offered by the competition.

3. Is it going to make money?

“You have to show that you can make (your product), or provide a service, for less money than you sell it for,” said Reuber, who noted the higher the margin, the better.

4. Do you have the patents, intellectual property or other means to fight off the competition?

“The first thing that’s gonna happen is you’re gonna have imitators come in and you’re gonna have existing competitors move into your space,” said Reuber.

In order to be successful, you need to express how you are going to stay in the lead in the marketplace. Reuber advised, “(launching a business) may be hard at the beginning, but it will only get harder once the competition starts entering.”

Lisa Gabriele, a senior producer with Canada’s CBC television program “Dragons’ Den“, said it’s important to be both passionate and well-prepared when pitching your business to investors.

Here Gabriele tells Reuters what she looks for when casting entrepreneurs to appear on the show:

Check out these pitches from real entrepreneurs at the auditions to see how they stack up:

Phil Bojanovski, Gametime Scoreboard:

Ali McEwen, Baby on Board Apparel:

Kim Nolet, Electric Nolet Scooters:

2 comments

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[...] “The first thing that’s gonna happen is you’re gonna have imitators come in and you’re gonna have existing competitors move into your space,” said Reuber. via blogs.reuters.com [...]

Reuber’s points are great.

And I’d say we use elevator pitches even more frequently than “once in a lifetime” opportunities. For instance, they’re very relevant for small businesses at business networking events.

Here’s the quick and easy method I use to write my elevator pitches. http://ht.ly/245g9

Posted by TangibleWords | Report as abusive

Great ideas and I will use them. You should suggest all of the examples you used above should attend their local Toastmaster Groups. They will learn to give their pitch without all the “ahs”. When they use the filler words or sounds, it makes the hearer wonder if they really are sold on their product or if they are searching for something good to say about it. Just an observation from a first time hearer of their pitch.
Thanks, Jon at Edgemaster Mobile Sharpening.

Posted by JonAHolmquist | Report as abusive