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You live and breathe your business, but the minute someone asks you to explain what you do - you're more likely to become tongue tied than answer eloquently. That's why you need to perfect your elevator pitch! It's a short and sweet description you can use to explain your business to potential clients, investors, or your cousin at your family's summer BBQ.

Here are the five easy steps you need to take to create an elevator pitch that will knock the socks off anyone who hears it:

1. Distill Your Business’ Essence

It can be hard to get down to the nitty gritty of what your business does in a few words, so brainstorm by writing down ideas on a sheet of paper. Once you’re done, circle all the words that stand out to you as essential for describing what you do.

2. Craft Your Pitch

Once you have the core ideas in place, you can start writing. One great way to simplify your pitch is to use a formula. All you have to do is fill in the blanks below with your company’s details:

[your company name]
is the
[your company type]
[your competitive advantage].

Once you’re done, it should read something like ‘Don’s Bait and Tackle is the fishing supply store that has the meatiest worms,’ or ‘Mary’s Bake Shop is the bakery that sells the best organic pies you’ll ever eat.’

When you have this core concept down, you can add to it if your business is more complex or if you have multiple competitive advantages you want to get across.

3. Ditch Jargon

Try to simplify what you do as much as possible so people not in your industry will be able to understand your pitch. Rather than use terms only people in your field understand, use words that clearly convey what you do. For example, rather than saying your technology company has the best SCM software (supply chain management), you might say your company finds ways technology can help businesses work more efficiently.

4. Make It Personal

Find a way to relate your business to the person you’re addressing. If you work in social media, ask them if their company has social media accounts before delivering your pitch. Or consider tweaking your elevator pitch to appeal to different types of audiences. For example, you might want to emphasize your company’s profitability when speaking to a potential investor, but want to focus on your excellent service standards when pitching a new customer.

5. Practice

You’ve written down your elevator speech and tested it out on colleagues and friends, but would you be prepared if you ran into a potential client right now? Practice your speech until you can recite it in your sleep. You never know when you’re going to need it.

Learn how to get your business ready for outside investors alongside your elevator pitch.

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