By Rieva Lesonsky
How do you explain your business in 30 seconds or less? Can you even do it? Sometimes that’s all the time a small business owner has to get someone interested in your business. Whether you’re touting your services to a small business loan officer or new client, or trying to raise seed capital, you need to be clear and concise as to what exactly your business does and why the person should care.
This is sometimes difficult for innovative businesses, since it can be hard to define what you do in terms everyone will understand. But it’s really not that complicated. To create your 30-second pitch, start by writing down key points about your business. Don’t think too hard; just write down everything that comes to mind. Use the most descriptive words you can. Then go back and try and put the words together in a creative way. If you struggle with writing, find someone you trust and ask them to join you in a brainstorming session.
As you create your pitch, you want the person who’s hearing it to be intrigued enough to learn more, and not confused about what your business does. Here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Is your 30-second pitch overwhelming? You might be so excited about your business that you add too many details, talk too fast or ramble on without making sense.
- Is the need for your business clear? If speaking to a potential business investor or bank lender, you’ll want to explain clearly why there is a market for your product or service. If talking to a potential customer, you want to explain how your business can help them with a problem or need.
- Why is your idea new and innovative or at least different from your competitors? If speaking to a potential business investor or lender, explain why your business idea will survive when others haven’t. (This is especially important if you are one of the first in your area to jump on a trend.) If speaking to a prospective client, explain what makes your business better than others in the same industry. What are you bringing to the table that your competitors aren’t?
- Did you talk up the people you have on your team? If you have an extremely experienced staff or veteran partners whose know-how makes success a no-brainer, make sure you get the message across to prospective lenders and investors. If talking to prospective clients, emphasize how your team will make their experience with your business better.
Practice your elevator pitch on people unfamiliar with your industry, such as friends or family. Better yet, make an appointment with a local Small Business Development Center, SCORE or SBA counselor and try your pitch out on an expert.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports