by Fahad Alrajhi, president, Fahad Alrajhi Group
Whether you have an established business or are trying to start a new one, you’ll likely need an investor. One of the best ways to score the opportunity to work with a potential investor is with a perfectly executed elevator pitch.
However, chances are that the investor has heard dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands of pitches from other eager entrepreneurs. What’s the best way to get an investor’s attention? Stand out from the rest, of course. And believe it or not, this is not a difficult thing to achieve.
Our team hears and creates elevator pitches day in/day out, both in our role as investors in companies from around the globe and as we help startups and growing companies connect with funding sources. We know what goes into writing and delivering a well-crafted pitch.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a concise and compelling summary of yourself, a product or a business that is sharable in 30-60 seconds or roughly the length of an elevator ride. Hence the name elevator pitch. This summary is used to sell anyone, including a potential investor, employer or business partner, on the idea of working with you. It is up to you to identify what makes your business valuable and worth investing in over others.
Your elevator pitch should break down your business idea in such a way that it leaves investors curious and wanting more. Having a solid elevator pitch shows the listener that you are capable of taking the lead. An investor pitch should always answer these key questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- What do you want?
- What does your business opportunity offer?
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can make your elevator pitch more impactful.
Know your numbers and strategy
This tip is a given. Whenever you encounter potential investors, you always want to put your best foot forward, whether it’s with your clothes or your elevator pitch. The secret to crafting a strong pitch begins with jotting down the most important details about your business, service or product.
Define your goals, what audience you serve and what your company has accomplished. Next, narrow those facts down to the essentials. Lastly, include an attention-getter such as a fascinating fact or statistic to help engage your listener and invite them to inquire more.
Show that you are passionate
Every entrepreneur starts their pitch by introducing themselves and explaining what they do. One alternative to a straightforward introduction is to opt for an emotional appeal. Think about what needs and pain points your company addresses and incorporate those emotions into your opening.
If you can inspire your listener to reflect on their desires and stressors, you can keep them listening longer. Additionally, if you’re more comfortable with the standard introduction, it doesn’t hurt to weave an emotional appeal into your overall pitch.
Slow it down
A natural reaction to getting the opportunity to pitch your idea is to be nervous. However, nerves and the limited time you have to make an impact can cause you to trip over your words and not make sense. In doing so, you may appear unprepared, too eager or worse, unintelligible. They might have such a hard time understanding you that they miss crucial details regarding what you’re trying to offer.
When delivering an elevator pitch, something to consider is making a conscious effort to deliver your pitch at a slower speed. Try taking relaxed, deep breaths before introducing yourself and asking if it’s ok to deliver your pitch. Another strategy is to practice your pitch and write it down in abbreviated bullet points. This enables you to get more comfortable with your pitch, resulting in a more natural tone and delivery.
Communicate your USP
The real test is convincing the investor that you have something different. Remember that they hear tens of pitches on a daily basis. You have to articulate what’s different and unique about your product or company. We call this the unique selling proposition, or USP. There is an “it” factor that exists for each business, and we highly recommend discovering what that is for your company. Including this in your elevator pitch sets you apart from other entrepreneurs vying for the attention of a potential investor.
Use plain language
Many entrepreneurs think that the best way to impress a potential investor is to load up their pitch with a bunch of jargon. It is quite the opposite! When crafting your elevator pitch, try tailoring your language and word use. It can help you connect with your intended audience more effectively. Not to mention, your potential investor may not be as knowledgeable as you are in your industry.
A good rule of thumb for having an engaging and potentially successful pitch is to ensure that the average person with no industry knowledge can easily grasp your goals. This means zeroing in on and enhancing the facts to provide numbers and context in a digestible way. For example, “We just enrolled 75,000 new users last quarter, which was more than (comparable company)’s pace.”
Start working on your pitch now
Luck favors the prepared, and you never know when the opportunity to pitch yourself or your business may present itself. So, to increase your chances of successfully snagging an investor, it is paramount that you have talking points about your hot business venture ready.
Despite what its name suggests, elevator pitches aren’t just limited to elevator meetings. They are also beneficial at networking events or chance meetings; even more reason to have your pitch mapped out now.
Create multiple versions of your pitch
Every investor you encounter won’t be in the same industry or have the same reach. Because of this, it is crucial that you create multiple versions of your pitch and make it specific to each audience. Everyone you meet plays a significant role in your journey to successfully land an investor or gain visibility for your product or service.
Delivering a successful elevator pitch is possible; the secret is to stand out from the crowd of fellow eager entrepreneurs. With these tips, you can strengthen your elevator pitch into one that successfully engages potential investors and earns you the funding you desire.
Fahad Al-Rajhi is an entrepreneur, business owner, and stock portfolio manager and shareholder of successful companies and has extensive experience in founding and leading businesses in industry sectors including real estate, retail, media and advertising, and education. He is the President of Fahad Alrajhi Group, Unique Vision Group, and is the Chairman of Next Generation School, Elabelz, and Alrajhi Seventh.