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The “elevator pitch” to an investor

January 8th, 2008 · 6 Comments

Every entrepreneur has heard they need to have an “elevator pitch”.   So what is that?   What does that really mean?   Most entrepreneurs want to drone on for 30 minutes talking about their business opportunities almost in the hopes that a VC or group of investors will say…..”OK, OK…I give.   I’ll invest if you will just shut up!”.  

News Flash….that is not how it works.   I’ll talk about the perfect investor pitch another time….for now, let’s talk about the elevator pitch.

The Elevator Pitch is supposed to be a 30 second sound bite.   It is the sizzle.  So when an entrepreneur is at a cocktail party or in an elevator, they can give a nugget about their opportunity so if the person they are talking to is an investor, they will respond in any of the following ways:

“Wow, that is really interesting, I’d like to learn more.   I may be able to help you with capital and resources.  Here’s my card, call my office and set up an appointment.”  OR
“Hey, I was just reading about that stuf…you’ve figured it out.   Are you looking for money to grow your business? Why don’t you meet me and some of my friends for lunch on Tuesday so we can learn more.” OR
“Hmmm….   Got a few minutes?  Let’s get a refresh and step over here to this table where it is a little quieter and we can talk more.”
“Very interesting.   Are you raising money?  I’m part of the Network of Business Angels and Investors….NBAI.  (www.nbai.net)  We hold regular events where companies pitch to our investor group.   I’d like to nominate you to the screening committee.   Here’s my card, send me your executive summary so I can pass it along.” 🙂

What you don’t want to hear…..

“Oh I forgot something…let me get off at the next floor so I can wait for another elevator.”
“Oh, sorry…  I see someone I haven’t seen in years I need to go talk to….right now!”
“Oh, look….they just refreshed the fried chicken gizzard tray….love these things….talk to you later.”

Here is an example of the perfect type of elevator pitch I found on YouTube.  
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfYhukL5D9o

Even if you don’t have the handy device, you can get it from the way the entrepreneur is polite, with confidence, and gets to the point as to what the problem is and how they solve it.  The investor does the math in his / her head to say this could be something big.   He thinks to himself, “Wow….this could be big.  We’ll work through the management and go to market issues when we meet.  Right now…I just get it and want to learn more.”   Mission Accomplished.

The elevator pitch is the best way to get momentum going to raise money when you are early stage.   Every alumni event, football tailgate, chamber networking meeting, rotary club, elevator….   pitch the elevator pitch, perfect it and start setting appointments with your future investors.

 Sean The Bear lays it out in this humorous video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq0tan49rmc  4 easy steps to get invited into the board room instead of tossed out the back door!

 UPDATE:   Podcast for this topic with insights from famed interviewer of the stars and the powerful, Gayl Murphy can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/karen-rands the 3/21/08 episode.

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Tags: Entrepreneur Biz-Buzz · Entrepreneurs Seeking Capital Corner · Podcasts

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 fundcafe // Jul 17, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    check out the Training Conference on Raising Capital at http://www.investorinspector.com/

  • 2 Tomas Sakima // Nov 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I’m always hearing about preparing an “elevator pitch” but nobody really tells you how to do that effectively. This helps but is there more info?

  • 3 ebsblog // Dec 2, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Tomas, I have a couple of videos out on my youtube channel (http://youtube.com/karenrands ) that may help. Also we include development of your elevator pitch for a pitch event, networking, and for conversational investor qualification settings as part of our Entrepreneur Mastery Program. You can get info about that program at http://launchfn.com click on the tab for entrepreneur capital mastery

  • 4 Liu Hikaren // Dec 10, 2010 at 8:10 am

    OK Link but not really appropriate for this elevator pitch post.

  • 5 Iris U // Dec 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    I find the topic of elevator pitches very interesting and your information insightful. Thanks!

  • 6 Wendy Keewan // Mar 24, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Love the videos…. funny perspective on elevator pitches but right to the point

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