When you're a founder, it's your job to perfect your business' "elevator pitch" -- that is, explaining who you are, what you do, and what your goals are in 60 seconds or less. Whether you're speaking with an investor or a potential customer, it's absolutely critical for you to succinctly tell your company story. Any longer than a minute, and you could risk losing a future business opportunity.
But breaking down your hard work into a clear and compelling pitch isn't easy when you're familiar with the details. Seven entrepreneurs from FounderSociety share their top tips for perfecting the delivery of the elevator pitch, as well as what to include to be able to sufficiently tell your story.
1. Get your foot in the door first.
Don't share everything your company does when telling your story to someone who knows nothing about it. Write down your pitch and then scale it back to provide just enough information to gain his interest. Then, once you have him intrigued, dive deeper into the "why," "how," and "what" of your company. --Antonio Calabrese, Boonle
2. Put it on a notecard.
Put the top three to five bullet points about your business on a notecard and carry it around to networking events. Try different variations on those bullet points and then take the top two points as your final pitch. --Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli
3. Focus on your purpose, not your history.
Distill the concept of your business down to its core, and work from there. What's your mission statement? Your unique selling point? What market do you serve? Investors and partners aren't really interested in the intricate details of how your company was founded -- they're interested in the "why" and the "how" of it. Why should they be interested, and how can you help them? --Steven Buchwald, Buchwald & Associates
4. Make it "grandparent-proof."
Pretend you are speaking to your grandmother (or grandfather). Simplify as much as possible and try to avoid any industry jargon. Focus on why you're doing what you're doing, and what differentiates you from everyone else out there. --Nellie Morris, Purpose Generation
5. Relentlessly simplify.
Our team actually uses this mantra for UX design as well, but it definitely applies to an elevator pitch/story. If you approached 10 random people on the street and told them your story, would they understand? It's easier to work hard to get it to that level of simplicity, then add back in details for audiences that understand your space, than vice versa. --Aaron Sloup, Lantern
6. Ditch the details and keep it concise.
Answer these three points, ideally in three sentences: What problem are you trying to solve, what facts around the issue or experience best convey your story, and how do your solution and/or company solve the issue? --Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
7. Remember that no one is as passionate as you.
Always keep it simple, bearing in mind that no one is going to be as passionate about your story as you will be. Here's a great practice: Write out your story in full, then create bullet points in chronological order. Take out every bullet except for the beginning, the problem, the solution, the tipping point (if you have one), and the end. After a while, you can add more "color" as you get more comfortable with the foundation of your story. --Thomas Edwards, The Professional Wingman