Successful elevator pitches avoid mistakes such as being vague and not explaining your niche market.
An elevator pitch is one of the most important tools in an entrepreneur’s arsenal. A well-crafted elevator pitch can help secure the funding your business needs to grow. A poor elevator pitch, however, will only get you a lot of polite (or perhaps not so polite) refusals.
Here are three common mistakes entrepreneurs make, and how to avoid them:
Mistake 1: Focusing on features rather than on how your organization is different.
For example, saying something like: “My accounting business offers customers a 15 percent discount if they sign up before March 1,” focuses on features and not the competition. A better approach would be: “Unlike other accounting services, we motivate clients to work with us by giving a discount to those who sign up by March 1 every year.”
Mistake 2: Not explaining your niche market (in hopes of attracting more customers if you remain as broad as possible).
Even more of mistake is not having a niche market at all. Assuming you have one, absolutely include it in the elevator pitch. For example, instead of saying: “Our restaurant serves dishes anyone can enjoy,” say something more like: “We focus on serving food that people with Celiac disease can enjoy, and even better, it appeals to everyone.”
Mistake 3: Not explaining with specificity what problem your product or service solves.
For example, you could say: “A lot of people have Celiac disease, and they can eat safely at our restaurant.” That’s fine, and something you absolutely need to establish (see Mistake 2). However, you still need to be more specific in your next statements. Use figures and facts when possible. For instance, say something like: “One in every 133 people has Celiac disease, and they can’t eat common foods such as wheat and many cereals that have gluten. It’s easy for gluten to sneak into food, which limits their dining-out options. Our restaurant prepares delicious meals that everyone, especially people with Celiac disease, can safely enjoy.”