Anatomy of an Elevator Pitch

Okay, so 30-60 seconds may not seem like a lot of time. But in the confines of an elevator, it’s an eternity. And in pitching your business to someone, it’s ample time to show them what you’ve got. Of course, every word and second counts.

To win anyone over with the perfect pitch starts well before you step inside an elevator, a boardroom or take center stage. Avoid being lost for words or leaving money on the table by mastering these 5 P’s to the perfect pitch.

1. Preparation

Doing your research is a must for anyone looking to convince someone about anything. Know your stuff and come correct with the information. (Don’t just arbitrarily drop stats and facts.) From the ins and out of your industry (i.e., How large is it? Where/How does your business fit within in?) to statistics on the problem your product or service looks to solve.

2. Purpose

Who are you? What does your service, product, or business offer? If you are already in business, briefly note how profitable or impactful it is to date; if not, provide realistic estimates related to your business’ performance. Think: Results. Also include what you look to do, especially if this speaks to how the listener(s) can be of support to you.

3. Potential

Your pitch is not about what the listener can do for you, but rather it’s to illustrate how you and your business can be of help to them (consider your audience as potential customers). Think: What is the problem that your product or service solves? Or better yet, what’s in it for them?

4. Punctuality

Being brief is an understatement here. Think: Get in and get out. But it’s not about rushing; it’s about delivering a pitch that’s quick, simple and to the point. Pace yourself; speak clear and fluently. The goal is to win someone over in at least 30-60 seconds, not run them off or have them walking away asking, “What the heck was that?”

5. Presentation

This is neither the time to freestyle nor to approach someone with a memorized speech. Bottom line: Come ready to play. In crafting your pitch, start from a macro of what you want to say, and then reel it in with bullet points in order to create a micro (unscripted) message to work from. For some it easier said than done, but make it enjoyable. Aim for being calm, cool and collected. Who wants to give money to someone who looks like they’re about to implode from nervousness? The more familiar you can become with the information, the less anxious and better focused you’ll be in order to nail it.

Whether it’s an angel investor offering $10,000 or $10, give them all you’ve got. You never know who can help and how. If you truly believe in your idea and are passionate about seeing it come to fruition, then you’ll forget fear and have no qualms about asking for what you want.

So, are you ready to pitch your business and enter for a chance to win $10,000?

Enter here for the Black Enterprise Elevator Pitch Competition; the winner will receive $10,000 to help jump start their business. The competition is during our annual Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo, taking place May 22-25, 2011 in Atlanta Georgia. Visit for more details. As an incentive BE is offering you a discount on early registration: Just enter code BEDG295 and receive $200 off.