You CAN write an elevator pitch for your small business
I’ve spent a lot of time working with small business clients who sell ideas, knowledge, or experiences. Sometimes I’ve helping them market something difficult to understand, like marketing legal services or marketing a CPA firm. Sometimes, the message is as simple as, “come to our event and have fun.” Either way, it is always my goal to make the marketing communication message easy to understand.
However, some people seem to delight in the complexity of their business. I get frustrated when I meet someone who tells me that there is no way they could ever explain their business in a 30-second elevator pitch. Baloney. Of course you can. You can’t explain EVERYTHING about your business in an elevator pitch, but you can explain your business. The trick is to pick out the most interesting part of your business, the part that will get someone to ask a follow up question, and talk about that. Instead, what Mr. Complicated usually does is say something like, “I provide data doomaflaggie services. It’s hard to explain. Nobody understands it.” Well ok then, I guess I won’t ask a follow-up question. Nice meeting you. Or my other favorite – consultant-speak. “We consult on management process control situations.” Like what? How do I know when to call you? Or recommend you?
These elevator pitch examples might sound extreme, but I guarantee they’re not. Small business owners are often so wrapped up in what they do that they can barely explain it to someone else. I get that what you do may be technical and sophisticated, but giving an elevator pitch that can be easily understood by someone outside your industry will not make you sound stupid. In fact, it will make you sound smarter. Because it’s easy to rely on jargon. It’s hard to speak plain English. For tips on writing your elevator pitch, see How to write the perfect elevator pitch for your small business.
If you think coming up with a clear explanation of what you do is too hard, try reading Start with Why by Simon Sinek. Reading this book will show you a new way of thinking about and talking about what you do for a living!