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The elevator pitch can help 21 July, 2006

Posted by varoom in Executive Summary.
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The elevator pitch

This is probably a US originated technique but it remains a valuable exercise in refining your messages for use in an executive summary or for when you get the chance to pitch your idea to someone in a hurry.

The elevator pitch: Imagine you have an idea that needs the support of someone who holds the power to make it happen for you. Suppose this person is incredibly busy and very difficult to get in to see, but you are lucky enough to get in the lift with them on the way to the 10th floor of the building.

You have 1-2 minutes to pitch your idea and convince them to support your proposal.

Are you ready for the challenge? Can you make your proposal interesting enough to keep their attention and convincing enough for them to be persuaded in the 2 minutes you have?

In a similar way to the executive summary, of your business plan, you need to be able to convey the key points of the proposal but do not have the time or space to go into greater detail. After reading the executive summary the reader will have all the information necessary to decide if they are interested and, if so, continue reading the business plan.

In the elevator pitch all you want is to persuade them that your proposal warrants further discussion or review, it’s unlikely that you will get a decision but your target is to get them to ask for more detail. So just like in golf, you don’t aim to get a hole in one but placed just close enough to sink it at the next attempt.

So in preparing your elevator pitch you need to decide what it is that you want, funding, resources, technology…..?

Working backwards from that point what information do you need to convey? How much is really needed to make a decision to continue with the proposal, what benefits will this proposal bring? Timescales, market potential, sales/profit potential, technology benefits are all key subjects. The key thing to remember, with a tight time budget, you must get all the points across in as few words as possible.

The summary should have a beginning, middle and an ending…..Obvious really.

But what kinds of things go in the Beginning?

In the beginning you should introduce the market, market size and growth opportunities and some information about your idea. In this section it would be good to see the financial prospects for the business over a period of time assuming you gain a certain market share.

Then you should describe the product, technology or service you propose. How it differentiates with the other products in the market, if any competing products exist, and what value the customer sees in your product. The price position could be described here if it is a key part of your strategy.

Next you should describe what you need to be successful in the market and how the reader will benefit if they agree to your proposal.

The ending should summarise what you want from the reader.

Practise your elevator pitch and then go back to the executive summary and refine further.

Varoom.

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