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Mastering the elevator pitch to sell your idea in under 1-minute

The elevator pitch is a short description of your company. This pitch should last as long as an elevator ride, which is between 15 seconds and a couple of minutes. However, on most occasions, your elevator pitch shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds.​

Delivering an effective elevator pitch has become increasingly important among start-up founders as VCs and angel investors get bombarded with start-up pitches. The idea is that, once you have identified your target (an investor), you get his or her attention in as little as 30 seconds.​

To craft a good elevator pitch, you should take the following things into consideration:

Define the goal of your pitch – What do you want to get out of this? Is it a meeting? An opinion? Think about this before crafting your message.​

Explain briefly but clearly what you do – Can you be concise and still express the core idea of your start-up?​ What is your value proposition?

Communicate your USP – Are you able to identify one or two key differentiators for your start-up?​

Engage the listener with one good question – What is the next step after you pitched your idea? Ask for it!​

When To Use It? This could follow your “Twitter Pitch” or can be used when you know that the listener is open for pitches. I personally recommend not going on for 30 (or even worse 60) seconds when you first meet someone, especially at an event. An alternative, if you feel like the twitter punchline is not enough, is to think about a 15-second elevator pitch​.

The framework for elevator pitches to help you get to the point quickly while still clearly communicating key information to the listener is:​

For (customers) that have (a problem) we provide (a solution).​

Here’s an example from Pana, a Techstars company:​

For hiring managers that don’t want to spend time booking or reimbursing travel, Pana is a chat-based travel concierge that allows candidates to book travel without the hassle of reimbursement or scheduling.​

There are a few things to notice from Pana’s pitch:​

They use everyday language - no jargon.​

It’s one sentence.​

If you time how long it takes to read aloud, it’s roughly 10 seconds.​

End your pitch with what you want from your audience, anything from investment, a purchase, advice or a useful contact.


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