The elevator pitch – it’s a cliché – but clichés exist for a reason; they are tried and tested. It’s that precious 30 seconds in an elevator, with the Muzac soothing the otherwise steel grey, bland atmosphere, when the head of a major investment firm gets in. They push the button to the tenth floor; yours is the twelfth. You have 30 seconds together in the elevator; 30 seconds to impress them with your Tech startup idea.
Unless you have access to the stalker’s bible, the chances of you meeting the aforesaid investor in an elevator are very slim. However, by going to the right networking events, you will come across so many opportunities to pitch your idea to impress an investor.
Now, if that thought is frightening you’re not alone. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel some sense of trepidation; but you know what – get over it. You’re in the hustling business now not just the tech startup business; you have to hustle to win.
With 90% of startups failing, investors are not in the game of losing money. They want to back winners – they don’t have the time to deal with anyone else. Will they give you 30 seconds of their time? Sure they will. 30 seconds is gone in the blink of an eye – and so are great ideas.
No-one wants to be the investor that missed out on the next unicorn (A Tech Play with a $1bn valuation). Equally no-one wants to waste their time. It’s just like mining for gold – gold miners have to excavate and wade through at least 2.8 tons of earth and slurry to find enough gold to make a single wedding ring. Investors are no different.
Investor teams wade through copious amounts of pitches, pitch decks, business plans to find that elusive golden nugget they truly want to invest in. There is noise, confusion and hype – everywhere. Tech startups have to be on top of their game. The elevator pitch has to be slick; passionate; energetic. It has to encapsulate the complete essence and the scale of the startup opportunity in only 30 seconds. That’s tough! So what makes a great elevator pitch?
First, don’t view the pitch as getting an investor to invest there and then in the elevator. Excite them with possibilities; possibilities that sufficiently whet their appetite to get you a second meeting, probably over coffee.
Second, carefully plan your content using easy to understand English – forget the techno speak where possible.
Third, rehearse, re-rehearse and then rehearse some more until your pitch flows naturally; it mustn’t sound formulaic or false.
Four, structure your pitch – take investors on a journey – and here’s is a little hidden gem to help you – The Gaddie Pitch.
Named after the Melbourne based marketeer Anthony Gaddie, his elevator pitch structure is as simple as it is powerful, and comprises three simple lead-ins.
You know how….
Well what we do is…
This structure should be considered in the following way :
- You know how…. Summarise your customers’ problem. Note the word “problem”. Customers pay for problems to be solved.
- Well what we do is … Summarise your solution – concentrate on the actual benefits your startup can provide to your customers.
- In fact … How has your idea been validated? Facebook likes and twitter followers are all well and good – but to investors, people actually paying for your service represents true validation!
So next time you are have the opportunity to deliver your elevator pitch – make it stand out; make it exciting; make it sing. Don’t just be the Muzac blending into the steel grey, bland background; be the conductor of the orchestra heading to the Sydney Opera House!