Can You Talk Your Way Into $10,000 For Your Business?

The B.E. Elevator Pitch Competition gives you a chance to prove it�but avoid these mistakes

market you’re going to be a part of. Show them you’ve done the research and didn’t just pull the idea out of a hat.

A weak organizational structure: You want to make sure that you have a strong opening—something that will get the judges’ attention right away. From there you should talk about the business, the industry of the business, how you’re going to market the business, and then close it out strong. Marketing is essential. A great idea can only go so far by itself. You should be able to explain what mediums you’re going to use to promote your business and include any possible partnerships.

Rambling on: Get to the point. Be clear and concise and don’t try to memorize everything you’re going to say. Instead, create an outline in your head and just bullet-point the areas you want to hit. It’s okay to ad lib. You should also time yourself because you want to make the most of the two minutes. If you have to take things out, then do so, and avoid unnecessary detail. Your goal is not to create a sales pitch but to hook the audience and judges by explaining how your product or business solves a problem or fills a void.

By not committing these errors, Evans successfully pitched his business before a live audience, including a panel of judges, and won a state-of-the-art laptop computer and other products and services from Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference sponsors. Black Enterprise and conference sponsors have up the ante for the 2010 edition: This year’s winner will receive a $10,000 cash, in addition to other prizes. (Click here for more information, including contest rules.)

“This is one of the largest prizes we’ve ever given to an elevator pitch contestant,” says Robinson.  “In light of the current economic times, where capital can be hard to come by, this is a substantial amount of money to help someone who may be just starting out or is looking to take their business to the next level. It will be interesting to see who comes out and fights for it.”

The first thing you have to do to get your elevator pitch off the ground floor is register for the 2010 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by ExxonMobil and submit your entry! Why should you register and submit an elevator pitch? How’s $10,000 in cold hard cash sound? Click on the Events tab at the top of the page, select Entrepreneurs Conference, register for the conference, submit your elevator pitch, then meet us in Atlanta at the Marriott Marquis, May 16-19, and show us that your pitch is on point!

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