Are you ‘Elevator Pitch’ ready?

The sensibility of investing in start-ups is something that Indian celebrities are warming up to. This is good news.

Now, picture this: You have an amazing start-up in the making and are bursting at the seams with all the energy in realising your vision. One pleasant day you find yourself in an elevator and you turn to see Sachin Tendulkar riding the same car. You tell him you have a cool idea you’re working on and he wants to hear more. You start explaining and half way through the elevator car stops and Mr. Tendulkar has to get off. He wishes you good luck and is on his way. You never got to finish your brilliant idea.

To make sure you’re in control of such a scenario you would benefit from having an elevator pitch ready and practised.

elevator pitch

So, what is an ‘elevator pitch’? A description of your start-up in 60 seconds or less. In other words, an ice-breaker, something that would take the conversation and interest further. The elevator pitch needs to have the following qualities:

Precise and Focused: The pitch needs to capture the very essence, the core, of your idea. Since you only have a limited time, it is best to high light what you want known. Almost every pitch you make, unless its a practice one, will be made with an agenda in mind. Make the agenda known. There is no need to be shy about what you are looking for. If it’s funding you seek, talent, promotion or simply feedback, make it clear. It’s always best to let the listener know what you expect from them.

Catchy: Since the pitch, by definition is short, keep it simple. But you want to make sure that it catches attention. One easy way is to equate it to a existing product or concept. This also helps grasp the concept faster. For ex: “…. like an Uber for e-commerce”. Remember, not to force this equation. If you can’t summarise it with a current product, thats fine too. The idea is to leave the audience wanting for more.

Composed: As it is with any presentation, the way you deliver is just as important as the actual idea. You don’t want to sound forced or rehearsed. It helps immensely if you’ve internalised the idea. Practice enough to make yourself comfortable with the pitch. A tip to remember is, never get thrown off guard. Anticipate interruptions in your elevator pitch, however brief it may be. It is not a given that you will be allowed un-interrupted time to finish your pitch.

From an investor’s perspective, an elevator pitch is a key test: “Can the entrepreneur understand her own ideas clearly enough to explain in sixty seconds? Can she communicate well? Can she get me and others excited about her idea?”

Have you readied and practiced your elevator pitch? If not, then this is the right time to get on it.