5 Tips for a Winning Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is an absolute essential for any innovative technology Startup: it is your business handshake. A strong elevator pitch sets a marker in the minds of those you meet of what your business is about. How you deliver the pitch will help form their first impressions of your character, aptitude and credibility as a Founder.

A winning elevator pitch is memorable; it inspires interest and opens the door to further conversation. Here are our top five tips to creating one:

1. Maximise Impact

To maximise impact we have to answer the question: why should I care? Humans and pretty basic creatures. Our problems generally boil down to an unmet need or an unresolved concern, risk or threat: so a lack of something. Test your assumptions. Is this a common problem or a universal one? Is it relatable, or is it more niche, yet acutely experienced? The more your pitch resonates with a broad and diverse audience, the greater chance it will have impact.

2. Cut the B.S.

The universal rule of communication applies here. Formulate your pitch as a succinct statement: ideally a single sentence. No more than 2-3 sentences max. There is this problem; this is how I/we solve it. Use as few words as possible. A strong elevator pitch will make the right people want to ask questions and learn more.

3. Check accessibility

As Founders, we tend to forget we’re experts on our own business. Can everyone understand your elevator pitch or could only an expert (like you) understand it? Test it on a child or young person: do they get it? If not make it simpler. Test it on an older relative. Is the language technical or unnecessarily complicated? If so then translate it into layperson’s terms. Even if you’re pitching as a Business to Business (B2B), you will need to explain your business to people outside your sector: funders, supporters, potential partners. For tech Founders and innovators, this can be a particular challenge. Never assume people are fully conversant with technology.

4. Practice Repeatedly

Say it in front of a mirror. Say it with a presentation deck. Say it on camera: film yourself saying it and watch it back. Say it out loud to friends and family, providing you feel comfortable to share and you’re not giving too much away. Practice saying and writing it until it is 100% embedded in your mind, it flows naturally and feels natural to say. Feature and headline it on your website. This will help it to feel natural and less contrived.

5. Iterate & Adapt

Recognise that your elevator pitch is a crystallised statement of what your business is and so should not remain static or constant. Any pitch will necessarily adapt and evolve with your business. You will need a baseline/MVP version from Day 1 but iterative updates indicate a healthy, agile, responsive strategic approach. A confident Founder who is further along in their journey can aim to slightly adapt or tweak their elevator pitch ‘on the fly’: the key is having a consistent simple core message.

Practicing what we preach

We’re constantly honing and refining our elevator pitch. Check out our Home page for our current elevator pitch and let us know if you think we can improve on it.

Test Our Skills

If you’re an aspiring technology innovation Startup, send us a link to your website and we’ll suggest a ‘beta-version’ elevator pitch for you to use as a starting point to develop your own.