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The Science of Appealing Elevator Pitches for Your Retail Startup Funding

Business - 10th February 2020
By Pixelfield team

We entrepreneurs tend to shy away from the word “science.” Unless of course, we are in some “scientific” field. But most of us are not. We are business owners who are busy doing all that we can to market and grow our companies. When someone speaks of the “science” of an elevator pitch, then, what exactly does this mean?

Let’s look at this word “science” for a minute. Science is, quite simply, a reliance on facts and data to come to conclusions. And it involves research and/or experimentation. And so, almost anything can have a scientific basis – even elevator pitches.

The science behind elevator pitches? It is clearly knowing what has been shown to work for others. And, yes, there has been some research on this.

Defining the Elevator Pitch

Common Question at a Social Gathering:

“What do you do?”

“Well, I am just starting up my own retail business – women’s career clothing.”

“Oh, that sounds exciting. Good luck.” (end of conversation)

Elevator Pitch at a Social Gathering:

“What do you do?”

“I solve female dress problems in this new more casual work environment. And I do it for women on a budget. In fact, I am about to open my own retail store to solve this problem for as many as possible.”

“Well, that sounds exciting. Exactly what kinds of budget clothing will you be selling?”

“Oh, the clothing is not “budget” stuff. But how items can be paired and mixed means women can get by on far less than they thought. Here’s my card with contact information. I would love to show anyone how to look amazing on a tight budget.”

Obviously, the second conversation is far more engaging and fully explains the problem, in just a few sentences, and how this entrepreneur can solve it. Mission accomplished. 

And that is really the definition of an elevator pitch. What is the problem that you want to solve and how will you solve it?

The Evolution of the Elevator Pitch

The short 30-second or so elevator pitch is something every entrepreneur should have in her “pocket,” to respond to this oft-asked question.

But the notion of this “elevator” pitch has expanded. It is now the term for the pitches that startup entrepreneurs make to potential funders – traditional lenders, individual angel investors, crowdfunding efforts, etc. “It is longer, obviously more detailed, and can make the difference between interest and engagement or rejection”, says Melanie Sovann, a content specialist at TrustMyPaper.

Based upon research of what really works, here are the components of a successful investor-focused elevator pitch.

  • Identify the Primary Problem You Are Solving

Women are entering or re-entering career fields without a lot of money for wardrobe. They are stay-at-home moms who have been out for a while. They are college graduates who have student debt and living expenses. They need to accumulate a wardrobe quickly and on a tight budget.

  • How are You Solving It?

Your retail startup combines a budget-friendly clothing line along with a multitude of ideas of how 3-4 items can be mixed and combined to “look” like several different outfits, along with just a few accessory changes. Women can get 5 days of outfits with just these 3-4 purchases. (Enter a video or slideshow to demonstrate how this is done.)

  • What’s Your Competition and How Are You Different?

Lots of female clothing retailers out there. But Your uniqueness is the counseling and examples you are able to show to customers, as they consider their purchases. Most other clothing retailers do not do this. And maybe you have a VR tool on your site that allows a customer to virtually try on these mixes and match outfits. Using the latest technology for your niche is a big plus. You are actually a clothing retailer and an image counselor rolled into one.

  • The Cost

Never go into an extended pitch without the numbers. And this is part of the “science” of an elevator pitch. “You must have a clear picture of how much you need to launch or expand”, says Estelle Liotard, head of content marketing at Studicus. If you have watched any episodes of “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den,” then you will see that every “pitcher” has a specific figure in mind. It is based upon research and a lot of “number crunching.”

  • What Do You Offer Investors?

Exactly what will an investor receive for his/her investment? Are you willing to give a piece of your company? Are you willing to give a percentage of your profits? Think long and hard about this. If you want to maintain total control, then you do not want to give away a piece of your company. On the other hand, the investor needs to know what projected return he/she can expect for the investment. If you need some outside financial counseling assistance to get these numbers, then get it. You cannot risk sounding like an amateur here.

  • The Extras in Your Pitch

You have a template for constructing the pitch. Now you need to embed those additional “amplifiers” that will intrigue, surprise, compel, and engage. Your pitch should not be dull and boring. Consider any or all of the following:

  • Begin with a startling or intriguing statement that brings investors to attention immediately. If you are that clothing retailer, mention the amount of student loan debt that college graduates have as they enter the career world ($1.5 trillion, averaging over $30,000 per student). How do they handle this, their living expenses and the costs of a wardrobe for the world of work?
  • Add emotional appeal. Choose emotions that are most relevant to your business niche. For the clothing retailer, it may be fear and anxiety that women feel regarding their appearance when they enter or re-enter the workforce.
  • A physical demonstration is a must. Show the investors what your products/services can do.
  • Demonstrate authority through confidence and your back story. What makes you an expert here? Have you been engaged in image counseling, for example? Provide your credentials, knowledge, and experience in the niche.
  • Repeat your main message at least three times during your pitch.
  • Show contrast. How much would an average woman spend purchasing 5 different and separate outfits vs. how much she will spend using your products and recommendations?
  • Tell a single story. Show how your product/service provided exactly what an individual customer needed. Use visuals.

The Wrap

Getting funding for a startup is no easy feat. The competition is huge. You must find ways to stand out with the perfect elevator pitch. Use these scientifically proven tips and tactics, and your chances will be much greater.

Byline

Dorian Martin is a young, enthusiastic writer, who uses the power of the written word to educate, entertain, and inform. His favorite topics to cover go from digital marketing to pursuing your life-long passions. He works as a writer at WowGrade. He also runs a personal blog about business and marketing NotBusinessAsUsual. In addition, he works as an editor at BestEssayEducation. 

We entrepreneurs tend to shy away from the word “science.” Unless of course, we are in some “scientific” field. But most of us are not. We are business owners who are busy doing all that we can to market and grow our companies. When someone speaks of the “science” of an elevator pitch, then, what exactly does this mean?

Let’s look at this word “science” for a minute. Science is, quite simply, a reliance on facts and data to come to conclusions. And it involves research and/or experimentation. And so, almost anything can have a scientific basis – even elevator pitches.

The science behind elevator pitches? It is clearly knowing what has been shown to work for others. And, yes, there has been some research on this.

Defining the Elevator Pitch

Common Question at a Social Gathering:

“What do you do?”

“Well, I am just starting up my own retail business – women’s career clothing.”

“Oh, that sounds exciting. Good luck.” (end of conversation)

Elevator Pitch at a Social Gathering:

“What do you do?”

“I solve female dress problems in this new more casual work environment. And I do it for women on a budget. In fact, I am about to open my own retail store to solve this problem for as many as possible.”

“Well, that sounds exciting. Exactly what kinds of budget clothing will you be selling?”

“Oh, the clothing is not “budget” stuff. But how items can be paired and mixed means women can get by on far less than they thought. Here’s my card with contact information. I would love to show anyone how to look amazing on a tight budget.”

Obviously, the second conversation is far more engaging and fully explains the problem, in just a few sentences, and how this entrepreneur can solve it. Mission accomplished. 

And that is really the definition of an elevator pitch. What is the problem that you want to solve and how will you solve it?

The Evolution of the Elevator Pitch

The short 30-second or so elevator pitch is something every entrepreneur should have in her “pocket,” to respond to this oft-asked question.

But the notion of this “elevator” pitch has expanded. It is now the term for the pitches that startup entrepreneurs make to potential funders – traditional lenders, individual angel investors, crowdfunding efforts, etc. “It is longer, obviously more detailed, and can make the difference between interest and engagement or rejection”, says Melanie Sovann, a content specialist at TrustMyPaper.

Based upon research of what really works, here are the components of a successful investor-focused elevator pitch.

  1. Identify the Primary Problem You Are Solving

Women are entering or re-entering career fields without a lot of money for wardrobe. They are stay-at-home moms who have been out for a while. They are college graduates who have student debt and living expenses. They need to accumulate a wardrobe quickly and on a tight budget.

  1. How are You Solving It?

Your retail startup combines a budget-friendly clothing line along with a multitude of ideas of how 3-4 items can be mixed and combined to “look” like several different outfits, along with just a few accessory changes. Women can get 5 days of outfits with just these 3-4 purchases. (Enter a video or slideshow to demonstrate how this is done.)

  1. What’s Your Competition and How Are You Different?

Lots of female clothing retailers out there. But Your uniqueness is the counseling and examples you are able to show to customers, as they consider their purchases. Most other clothing retailers do not do this. And maybe you have a VR tool on your site that allows a customer to virtually try on these mixes and match outfits. Using the latest technology for your niche is a big plus. You are actually a clothing retailer and an image counselor rolled into one.

  1. The Cost

Never go into an extended pitch without the numbers. And this is part of the “science” of an elevator pitch. “You must have a clear picture of how much you need to launch or expand”, says Estelle Liotard, head of content marketing at Studicus. If you have watched any episodes of “Shark Tank” or “Dragon’s Den,” then you will see that every “pitcher” has a specific figure in mind. It is based upon research and a lot of “number crunching.”

  1. What Do You Offer Investors?

Exactly what will an investor receive for his/her investment? Are you willing to give a piece of your company? Are you willing to give a percentage of your profits? Think long and hard about this. If you want to maintain total control, then you do not want to give away a piece of your company. On the other hand, the investor needs to know what projected return he/she can expect for the investment. If you need some outside financial counseling assistance to get these numbers, then get it. You cannot risk sounding like an amateur here.

  1. The Extras in Your Pitch

You have a template for constructing the pitch. Now you need to embed those additional “amplifiers” that will intrigue, surprise, compel, and engage. Your pitch should not be dull and boring. Consider any or all of the following:

  • Begin with a startling or intriguing statement that brings investors to attention immediately. If you are that clothing retailer, mention the amount of student loan debt that college graduates have as they enter the career world ($1.5 trillion, averaging over $30,000 per student). How do they handle this, their living expenses and the costs of a wardrobe for the world of work?
  • Add emotional appeal. Choose emotions that are most relevant to your business niche. For the clothing retailer, it may be fear and anxiety that women feel regarding their appearance when they enter or re-enter the workforce.
  • A physical demonstration is a must. Show the investors what your products/services can do.
  • Demonstrate authority through confidence and your back story. What makes you an expert here? Have you been engaged in image counseling, for example? Provide your credentials, knowledge, and experience in the niche.
  • Repeat your main message at least three times during your pitch.
  • Show contrast. How much would an average woman spend purchasing 5 different and separate outfits vs. how much she will spend using your products and recommendations?
  • Tell a single story. Show how your product/service provided exactly what an individual customer needed. Use visuals.

The Wrap

Getting funding for a startup is no easy feat. The competition is huge. You must find ways to stand out with the perfect elevator pitch. Use these scientifically proven tips and tactics, and your chances will be much greater.

Byline
Dorian Martin is a young, enthusiastic writer, who uses the power of the written word to educate, entertain, and inform. His favorite topics to cover go from digital marketing to pursuing your life-long passions. He works as a writer at WowGrade. He also runs a personal blog about business and marketing NotBusinessAsUsual. In addition, he works as an editor at BestEssayEducation

Dorian Martin is a young, enthusiastic writer, who uses the power of the written word to educate, entertain, and inform. His favorite topics to cover go from digital marketing to pursuing your life-long passions. He works as a writer at WowGrade. He also runs a personal blog about business and marketing NotBusinessAsUsual. In addition, he works as an editor at BestEssayEducation. 

Pixelfield team
Written by
Pixelfield team
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