Sales: The importance of the one-minute pitch

| Print |  Email
Friday, June 01, 2007

BusinessPitch.jpg“We are here to make happy fish. Happy fish are profitable fish.” Did that statement get your attention? Presented at the University of Oregon’s New Venture Championships recently, it’s an example of an elevator pitch. An effective one should capture the listener’s attention, make her interested in hearing more and take up no more than a minute of her time. Or the amount of time you’d have in an elevator ride.

Distilling your business plan in advance into a one-minute pitch is a good way to be prepared for a chance meeting with someone who could help your business grow. “There’s going to be that opportunity, short in nature, to inform someone,” says Randy Swangard, managing director of UO’s Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.

Bernie Hansen, founder and manager of Business Diagnostics LLC, a consulting company in Tri-Cities, Wash., says a good elevator pitch is a concise, clear summary of a company. “It’s like a good joke,” he says, easy to tell and understand but most importantly, “the listener should remember enough to reasonably communicate it to a third party.”

A pitch should communicate the following about your business, and do it in 60 seconds:  

Identity: This can be as straightforward as a simple introduction or as elaborate as setting a specific scene in the listener’s mind. Keep the introduction short to allow plenty of time to dive into the main argument — why the captive audience should be interested in your company.

Purpose: “Be very clear on what are the essential elements of the business,” says Hansen. Keep explanations simple, as time is limited. Technical terms and jargon can come in subsequent meetings. “Detail will only trip someone up,” says Hansen. However, remember to include what he terms “take-aways,” key information you want a person to know. Simple metaphors can save time and help an audience make a quick connection.

Business plan: The speaker needs to be convincing and credible to allow the listener to understand and repeat the message. This is an opportunity to explain the necessity of your company’s product in the marketplace. Swangard says it’s important to outline your company’s potential to solve a specific problem. Time permitting, briefly define your company’s business model. Swangard says you need to explain, “Why is it that you can do this when no one else can?”

Financial needs: Now it’s time to drive your request home by clearly stating how much money you need and how you’ll spend it. “We are looking for $500,000 to expand statewide,” gives an investor a better idea of their contribution’s value than, “We need $500,000.”

A unique edge: This is what Swangard calls the “secret sauce.” “It’s something unique that gives you a competitive edge,” he says. “No one bets on the horse, they bet on the jockey.” At the conclusion of the pitch, your audience should understand why your company deserves an investment. If you’ve been successful, you should have a business card in your pocket before the elevator doors close. 

— Colleen Moran


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Live, Work, Play: Amen Teter

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Catching up with Amen Teter, Portland-based global director of action sports for Octagon Olympics & Action sports talent agency.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

Playoffs pay off for the Ducks

The Latest
Friday, January 02, 2015
oregon-ducks-logo-helmet-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The University of Oregon football team looked unstoppable on the field Jan. 1 — and the university is reaping the benefits of the new postseason format.


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS