An elevator pitch is a short description of what your business is about, supposedly short enough to say in the time a lift goes to the next floor (because we all talk to people in lifts), well, maybe not, but we might meet someone who could help us along the journey only to find we don’t have time to go into the details but need to grab their attention.
This is actually quite a useful and important thing to have ready when you think about it. Our little business is something we put our heart and soul into it and we can sit for hours talking about the details and inspirations, but reality is, we don’t have business leaders getting their secretaries to phone us up and book an hours appointment at the local coffee shop to talk about my dreams. Reality is, we might actually be standing at the elevator when we realise the person standing next to me is that one investor or business person that could give me a helping hand along the way. We literally have a few sentences.
The Enterprise team have a simple template to follow for writing your pitch.
1. Who is behind the company? (What is the company Values?)
2. What is my product?
3. What are the key benefits?
4. Who is my market?
5. What is my competition and how do I differ?
One mind map later I was ready to start writing, and this is what I came up with…
Betty Virago is a traditional doll maker who provides dolls, doll making supplies and workshops to inspire the current and future generations of doll makers.
Unlike mass produced dolls that often come with unobtainable bodies and overly made up faces, our soft bodied natural looking dolls are made to look like the children who might own them.
Our materials, where possible, are locally sourced, keeping our carbon footprint as low as possible and our techniques blend both old and new skills to create dolls suitable for boys as well as girls.
Aren’t you pleased?
I think it’s quite a nice bit of writing, it says what I’m planning on doing, and yet…
I just couldn’t imagine my down-to-earth self speaking this well thought out worded speach to a friend, never mind a stranger. It feels rather cold, not at all something I’d want to listen to.
But what could I say?
What do I do?
I make dolls.
But saying I make dolls just kept bringing images of zombie boys “I like turtles” comment.
This is where I’m starting to see the value of a business plan. A document that forces me to consider every aspect of my business and forcing me to sit down and pull out all the ideas I’m used to keeping in my head and examine each one.
What do I want to do?
Make dolls and share doll making skills with others
Because there is just something magical in making a doll for someone over buying a mass produced doll.
There is something special in having a doll, made just for you, and something magical in the relationship between child and doll.
Now how do I put that into words?
I’ve never put much thought into a business plan before, I know what I want so why do I need to write it down? It’s all here in my head. the truth is, I’ve tried writing them, but I come to the money section and get stuck. How do I forecast my finances?
The elevator pitch might not be a word for word statement I pour out at any stranger I meet, but it has forced me to get the plan on paper. I know what I want, but keeping it just in my mind hasn’t done me any favours. Getting the plan down on paper, seeing it in black and white, and really thinking about it has shown me new places I can take my goals, and helped me cut back on the parts of the dream that just weren’t working.