Elevator Pitches and Decks – A Helpful Guide

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Imagine this scenario –

You’re at the airport, having small talk with a person who finds you interesting. Oh, you find you two are on the same flight as well. Great!

After exchanging pleasantries, he asks you – What does your company do?

Other variations of that question include:

  • What’s your product / service idea?
  • What do you do?

The other person obviously wants to learn more.

Where do you start? What do you say? What do you show? What is it that you would do that makes the person understand exactly what you do – and in a minute or less?

That’s just one example of a scenario where you want to be ready with a couple sentences that wrap up the idea of what you do. You want to always be prepared to talk about you and your business.

Maybe you can afford to mess up this time, because it was unexpected.

But what would you do when you happen to run into someone who could turn into a big potential client or an investor in an elevator?

You have to learn the art of being spontaneous. Your business depends on it. And to be spontaneous, you have to do your homework and prepare. Yes, prepare to be spontaneous.

There’s nothing to worry about though. We have got your back.

We know exactly what you need to do to be ready to sell your business idea 24/7 – Create an Elevator Pitch and Pitch Deck.

And in this blog post, we are going to do exactly that – Elevator Pitches and Decks – oh my!

Let’s get started.

Elevator Pitch

In this section, we are going to understand everything there is to know about the elevator pitch. By the end of it, you will have a clear, short, prepared speech you can use every time someone asks what you and your company do.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is nothing but a brief, persuasive speech that can be delivered to entice the listener to want to know more about your company, product, idea, project, and/or even yourself.

The pitch should be interesting, memorable, and succinct for the listeners. It also needs to explain what exactly your company does that makes it unique.

When to Use an Elevator Pitch?

This is a great question. The concept of the elevator pitch comes from the idea of pitching your idea to the investor or a client inside an elevator – a ride that lasts for around 20-30 seconds.

There’s a misconception around creating elevator pitches. People think that elevator pitches are only for salespeople. Not true.

There are so many examples where you might need to deliver an elevator pitch:

  • As a business owner to potential clients or customers
  • Sell an idea to an investor
  • Tell the market about the new initiative you are leading
  • Answer people who are curious to know what you do for a living
  • Wrap up your business in a nutshell in public

How to Craft an Elevator Pitch?

So, you know what an elevator pitch is and how one can use it. It’s time you know who to create an elevator pitch. Let’s get started.

Step 1: What is Your Goal?

It is very important to know who you are creating an elevator pitch for.

As we already mentioned, elevator pitches can be made for different purposes and goals. The same elevator pitch doesn’t work everywhere. So, figure out the objective of creating the pitch.

Is it to tell potential clients what services and products you offer? Is it to pitch a great idea to an executive? Is it just to explain what you do for a living?

Your objective is what everything else will revolve around.

We’ve discussed finding your target audience for your brand and business multiple times before, so this should not be a surprise for readers here.

For those who haven’t been to the website before, check out a couple of the posts:

Step 2: What Do You Do?

Always start with what your company does. Lay a great foundation for the conversation to begin from. Make sure you include what problems you solve through the company and how you help people improve their lives. Adding a statistic about the problem and how your company approaches the problem is a huge bonus. This step is mostly about thinking what you want the person or the audience to remember most about you.

Quick Tip: Write a pitch that excites you first. If you are not excited about the pitch, your audience won’t be excited either. Create a pitch that brings a smile to your face, include things you are proud of and want people to know. The energy is contagious and will make your audience remember you for all the right reasons.

Step 3: What is Your USP?

The elevator pitch needs to communicate the unique selling proposition (USP) of your company or idea. Nothing is going to sell more than your uniqueness.

The market is full of brands selling the same stuff and marketing the same thing over and over again. Your audience’s eyes will sparkle the moment they see something unique in the market. The moment you communicate what your company is all about and what you do, you will have to follow that up with your USP.

Step 4: Engage Audiences with a Question

You need to keep the audience engaged. There’s no point in having a one-way conversation. Much easier said than done, but one of the keys is to turn it on them. Get their minds moving.

Ask questions that really intrigue the audience and make them instantly engage with you. These questions can be open-ended, instead of a simple ‘yes or no’ answer. The listener will start thinking about your product / service and how it can help their lives. But be prepared, because there is one con to this.

Your audience may have lots of questions, so make sure you do your homework and are prepared by knowing your company and market inside-out. You must have satisfying answers for them. If it’s your own business, you should already have all this knowledge.

Step 5: Merge and Optimize

By now, you have all the important sections of the elevator pitch ready. It is time to put them all together and come up with a unique and interesting elevator pitch.

Read it out aloud and see how long it takes you to get through it. It shouldn’t be more than 30 seconds. If the elevator is stopping on other floors for others to get off the elevator, it also allows time for a question or two. If your audience is asking questions, that’s great because it shows they’re genuinely interested.

Keep things short, sweet and simple!

Now, when you get off the elevator, your goal is for your audience to invite you to their office and give them a longer pitch, which will include your pitch deck.

Pitch Deck

While an elevator pitch is something that you can convey verbally, getting the idea across requires a little more effort. Investors or clients need to have something they can read and understand your idea in-depth. This is exactly where pitch decks are handy.

What is a Pitch Deck?

A Pitch deck is a presentation that business owners put together to be able to help the investors understand their ideas and projects with more clarity.

Pitch decks are usually about 20 to 30 slides in the presentation which covers all major components of any business operation. The pitch deck is text and visually rich to keep your audiences focused.

The most successful pitch decks are:

  1. Simple
  2. Compelling
  3. Actionable

What are the Types of Pitch Decks?

These are some of the most common types of pitch decks you will be making in your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Investors Pitch Deck (Seed Round)

This is the very first pitch deck you will create seeking funding from investors in the first round, the seed / angel funding round. This pitch deck is no more than 10-12 slides and can be presented in 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Investors Pitch Deck (Series A/B/C Rounds)

This pitch deck still has the core idea involved, but will also have more information about the performance of the company after it was funded in the first round. The investors will want to know if you are financially healthy and leading the company the right way. Are you showing growth and need more money to scale faster? These are pitched to bigger investors.

3. Pre-Read / Leave Behind Decks

These are the pitch decks you send ahead of time or leave after the meeting has taken place. These are generally 3-5 slides long. It has information related to challenges your company faces, the ideas you have, launch strategy, team, and requested funding. The leave behind will be a detailed handout of what you have in your pitch deck in the meeting.

How to Create a Pitch Deck?

To create a pitch deck, you will have to focus on the most important components of running a business. Most pitch decks you will find or create will have the following sections in them.

1. Problem

The problem is the gap in the market you are trying to fill with your product / service ideas. The investors must be able to relate to it. If not, the investors should at least know that there will be an opportunity for good return-on-investment (ROI) down the line.

2. Solution

The solution is your idea you want to be funded for. The solution has to be concise and clear. Also, make sure the solution is scalable. The solution should make sense in the present market condition and should really matter at the moment.

3. Market

The market that your product or service is going after is a very important part of the pitch deck. The investors are looking to make investments in a big market because a small market will definitely impact the ROI.

4. Product / Service

This slide will show how your product / service looks and how it functions. Also, mention what your current clients, if any, have to say about it. Add some description and quotes on how people find it easy to use. If you don’t have any current clients because you don’t have a final product yet, try to get letters of interest or future commitments based off prototypes you might have.

5. Traction

This slide will show how successful you have been with the product and the growth of the business. Investors are really looking forward to this so make sure you have great business growth. If you don’t have it, it might be best to skip this section. You don’t want to highlight slow adoption, but if they ask about the numbers, you should still discuss it. Have your reasons why your numbers are not what you expected and how you plan to change things with additional investments.

6. Team

Investors would like to know who is in the driver’s seat. They want to know the team that is leading the entire business. Execution is key to business success. Therefore, having a great team on paper is necessary.

Do take a look at the previous post where I discuss building teams in the same Producers vs. Entrepreneur series – Building a Team.

7. Competition

How do you compete with other brands in the market? How are you stronger than them and what challenges do you face when competing with them? Have the answers ready in this slide.

8. Financials

Shoot for a 3-year projection because investors want to know where your team is headed. It will give a great idea to the investor about how grounded your team is. Don’t try to overdeliver.

9. Amount Being Raised

Finally, you’ll want to put forward a number. Be strategic here. Give a range of funding you want to raise and what the low and high ranges get your company. What do those amounts allow you to do?

Pitch Deck Software

There are many software available online that can help you create high-quality pitch decks. Some of the popular ones that I’ve used:

  1. Apple Keynote – Free as part of my Mac and can create visually appealing decks.
  2. Slidebean – A great platform to create decks and geared towards entrepreneurs and startups. They have a good slate of Free templates. They have Free and Paid plans.
  3. Google Slides – Free and has some decent templates too. Similar to PowerPoint.
  4. Microsoft Powerpoint – It’s very popular, but I prefer Keynote any day.
  5. Canva – Great for design templates overall.

Wrapping Up

There you have it. I hope you got a good idea of how to create an elevator pitch and create a pitch deck for your business.

One final reminder, because you don’t know when opportunity comes knocking –

Always be ready to present it 24/7!

Let’s recap some of the key things in the article.

Key Elements in an Elevator Pitch

You know you need an elevator pitch that you need to have prepared when the opportunity presents itself. Here are the key elements and questions that you’ll want to answer for your audiences:

1. What is your goal?
2. What do you do?
3. What is your unique selling proposition?
4. Engage audiences with a question
5. Merge and optimize

Successful Pitch Decks Are 3 Things

You presenting your pitch deck to potential investors or clients. What are 3 keys to pitch decks that will get those investors or clients interested in you and your business?

1. Simple
2. Compelling
3. Actionable

3 Different Types of Pitch Decks

The most common types of pitch decks for different stages of your entrepreneurial journey.

1. Investors Pitch Deck – Seed Round
2. Investors Pitch Deck – Series A/B/C Rounds
3. Pre-Read / Leave Behind Deck

9 Important Parts of the Pitch Deck

99% of pitch decks have these 9 components:

1. The Problem
2. The Solution – hopefully you
3. Market
4. Product / Service
5. Traction
6. Team
7. Competition
8. Financials
9. Amount being Raised