Posts Tagged ‘elevator pitch’

Lack of security can break your business

Take security seriously before it takes hold of you

Take security seriously before it takes hold of you

When you meet someone at a drinks party and they start telling you about their business when you have asked them the “So, what do you do?” question, it’s very rare that someone can give you an ‘elevator pitch‘. You know, the classic way of being able to describe your business idea to a potential investor between floors in a lift?

More often than not, people mumble their way through a vague explanation to you in that slightly embarrassed British way, which comes out something like this: “‘Oh, I’m something to do with hydraulics in the food industry”. Or, “Oh, I’ve got my own business which does web stuff. It’s all very complicated and dull“.

Bang! The conversation ends for a moment when the people in the conversation shuffle their feet and their minds desperately trying to think up another subject to talk about which is not the weather.

But it’s so refreshing when someone says exactly what they do in a quick, easy to understand way. You’re engaged and interested.

I met one such chap the other day at a drinks party, John Hulme (if you’re a Twitterer he’s @ukcarserv), who had his elevator pitch down to a tee. “I’ve set up my own business which can save you up to 60% on the cost of getting your car serviced“. I was engaged. Most of us have cars and most of us balk at the price of getting them serviced, particularly when we take them to a main dealer. “How much..?

John has set up a good web site ( and has spent months setting up a network of approved garages. He went live, got some free publicity through the BBC’s Money Programme and then got attacked by some malicious software which blocked his web site and became black listed by all of the search engines.

Where does your business go from there? John’s whole proposition is a web-based business which you need to trust that they will save you money. But when your web site gets attacked like that, you lose not only your investment of blood, sweat, tears, time and cash, you lose the trust in your business.

Fortunately, there does seem to be a happy ending to this story. John’s web site is up and running now. He’s got rid of the malicious software and you can now use his web site to get a quote on your car servicing. You can even get a quote to have your motorbike serviced through his UKBikeServ web site.

But, at the moment when he was going to get some free publicity from the BBC, his web site was down. That’s painful and that’s why security is so important. Take it seriously because there are some pretty nasty people out there who have no scruples in making people like John and his business appear less than the decent, honest businessman they are, with a great proposition.


Explaining What You Do – 5 Top Tips

05/08/2009 1 comment
Being clear about what you do helps you and your prospects

Being clear about what you do helps you and your prospects

Most people in business have heard of the ‘elevator pitch‘ which is an a summary of your product, service or idea which you deliver to people that you want to invest with you. The elevator pitch may sound like a piece of business jargon but the principle behind it is sound.

If you can’t explain to someone what you do in a concise and clear manner which makes it easy to understand for the person that asked you the question then you should stop what you are doing and work it out now. Without this clear understanding about your business, idea or project then you put yourself in a weak position from which you will lose opportunities to sell, influence and connect with people.

It’s no good saying that what you do is very complicated and it can’t be explained in a sentence. People don’t have the patience to listen to long winded explanations and, in a competitive world, you will be replaced by someone else quickly who can explain what they do quickly.

When you have worked your pitch out, it has an amazing effect on your marketing and how your team think about their work and where the business is going. Your pitch will then influence how you write copy on your web site, it will affect how you write your emails, it will affect how you express yourself on your stand at shows and how you differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Prospective clients will know whether it is worth talking to you and you will know whether it is worth talking further with them. Your elevator pitch will save you time and help you to either sell more, gain investment or gain important contacts.

Here are my five top tips for working out your elevator pitch:

  1. Ask yourself what you are good at. Not what you want to do but what you are really strong at doing.
  2. Recall moments when you felt as though you were in your element when working with previous or existing clients.
  3. Reduce your ideas and words from the previous point into one or two clear, easy to read sentences.
  4. Test your elevator pitch out with some existing clients or prospects and note the difference in how they react to it.
  5. Practice what your pitch out loud and then practice, practice, practice until you know it off by heart.

Our business is going through this exercise right now. Our strap-line says ‘Digital Communications Agency‘ but it does not tell people what we do. It hides our deep skills and experience in a particular area and it affects how we explain what we do and how we can help. This is changing as I write and we will soon have a new, clear way of quickly explaining to people what we do.