Business Plan Elevator Pitch

Create a pitch that would interest investors when you only have seconds to speak.

Business Plan Elevator PitchBusiness Plan Elevator Pitch Template

After years of refinement, we’ve developed a business plan elevator pitch template that will help you define your business in terms investors want to hear. In fact, some who have used this template have reported that suddenly they figured out why ‘nobody was hearing me.’ Follow this template and you’ll be heard!

The introduction of any business plan should start with a written version of your elevator pitch. The term “elevator pitch” refers to your answer to the hypothetical question, “If you found yourself in an elevator with a wealthy investor who might have an interest in your company, what would you say about your company in the time it takes the elevator to go from the top floor to the lobby?” Your elevator pitch should be memorized and practiced often. Its primary purpose is to get someone to want to talk to you again after the elevator ride is over. Similarly, if your introduction starts with a written version of your elevator pitch, it should entice someone to read more or call you in for a meeting.

Your introduction should start with a written version of your business plan elevator pitch. The term “elevator pitch” refers to your answer to the hypothetical question, “If you found yourself in an elevator with a wealthy investor who might have an interest in your company, what would you say about your company in the time it takes the elevator to go from the top floor to the lobby?” Your elevator pitch should be memorized and practiced often. Its primary purpose is to get someone to want to talk to you again after the elevator ride is over. Similarly, if your introduction starts with a written version of your elevator pitch, it should entice someone to read more or call you in for a meeting.

Because it’s so important, we’ll take extra care to walk you through writing your elevator pitch. This step-by-step structure and the examples that follow will help you with the process.

Your Elevator Pitch Should Include:

  • The Problem Your Business Solves
  • Who Has the Problem
  • How Big the Market for the Solution Is
  • Your Qualifications to Run this Business

Easy to Follow Elevator Pitch Template

Before you start to create your own elevator pitch, read through this entire section, including the examples at the end. Then, by following the elevator pitch template below, you’ll be able to create a compelling elevator pitch for your business in no time. Start with a clear mind and a blank sheet of paper. As you’ll see, each of the steps below asks you to write a very specific sentence or two, or in some cases, simply fill in the blanks of the sentence provided. For fill-in-the-blank sentences, the portions you are to supply are bracketed [like this].

  1. [Name of your company] provides [your products or services] for [describe the specific segment of the market you will serve] who [describe the problem this solves for them].
  2. [Enter one sentence that tells why this business is needed and by whom.]
  3. [Make a statement about the size and/or growth trend of the industry.]
  4. [Write a sentence or two, no more, to address your qualifications to run the business.)
  5. [Make an honest, upbeat, substantive and credible claim about the business potential in terms of sales or profitability.]

Important Considerations

Below are sample elevator pitches for two companies: WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores and JD Software Solutions. For each company, you’ll find a “good” example and a “bad” example of an Elevator Pitch. The good examples follow the formula above. Notice that this elevator pitch template works very well even with two completely different businesses. The poor examples demonstrate common mistakes in elevator pitches. Read these examples and the critiques that follow, to avoid the common pitfalls. When you are finished with your elevator pitch, make sure you’ve followed the formula above and eliminated the common mistakes. It should have a similar tone to the “good” examples in this section.

Elevator Pitch Examples

WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores

Good Example:

Each WhirlyBird Yogurt store will offer 10 flavors of yogurt and 25 toppings to people within a five-mile radius of their carefully selected locations, ideal for people who want a healthy meal or snack. As an example, now the 300,000 people who live and work in Meadowbrook won’t have to drive more than five minutes to get great yogurt, served by friendly people in a sparkling clean store. Frozen yogurt has been the fastest growing category in over-the-counter snack foods for the past 3 years, with year-over-year growth rates of 17%. WhirlyBird’s founder, Ronald Smith, has 10 years experience as a regional manager of quick-service restaurants, where he learned how to run efficient, profitable stores. With that experience, Mr. Smith is confident about opening WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores at the rate of 1 every 6 months and building a business that is profitable from year one and surpasses $25 million in revenue within 5 years.

Bad Example:

WhirlyBird Yogurt Stores will be poised to take over the competition because our products are the most healthy and nutritious available. The difference is gluten-free products that don’t have the toxins found in other yogurts. All of our yogurts contain two forms of live bacteria: bulgaricus and thermophilus. Our founder, Ron Smith, has been eating it for years and credits that with his ability to run three marathons a year at age 45. As more people learn about the detoxifying powers of bacteria-rich yogurt, WhirlyBird’s business will soar.

Critique:

The pitch assumes that the reader is as informed, health-conscious and passionate about yogurt as is the founder. Nothing is mentioned about the size or growth of the health-conscious market versus the segment of people who just like to eat things that taste good. It is admirable that the founder runs so many marathons, but has this person ever run a business? The elevator pitch doesn’t say.

JD Software Solutions

Good Example:

JD Software provides custom online commerce and back-office solutions to businesses with less than $10 million in sales that can’t afford the high prices of big-name consulting firms. These business customers will be eager to drive their sales and improve efficiency, now that it can be accomplished with a fraction of the time and money required by the big-name firms. Our founder, John DelMonte, has 8 years’ experience as a senior project manager for EDS, where he learned how to manage projects from start to finish using skilled independent contractors. With a market of over 8,000 small businesses in San Diego with revenue ranging from $1 million and $10 million, JD Software Solutions will be cash-flow positive and profitable in less than 12 months.

Bad Example:

Technology is moving fast and JD Software Solutions is on the leading edge. All of our developers are Web2.0 certified and we have been developing Cloud applications that work asynchronously since Ajax was first introduced. We can save clients thousands of dollars using MySQL or if they’re tied to Oracle or SQL Server, we can implement open source middleware to perform data transformations in real time. We have that experience. Since the customer actually saves money over alternatives, selling will not be difficult and the potential of our business is unlimited.

Critique:

The pitch doesn’t tell about the problem that the business solves for its customers, who its customers will be, or how the founder is qualified to run a business. It also contains vague claims, such as, “JD Software Solutions is on the leading edge.” Based on this elevator pitch, the reader would understand that the company has qualified software engineers, but a lender or investor wants to know that the founders can run a business.

Follow this business plan elevator pitch formula and you’ll start turning heads immediately!

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