Developing Your Elevator Speech

Small business owners understand that in order to put your business on the path to success, a comprehensive business plan and a marketing plan are critical.  “Winging it” doesn’t bring results, nor is it a productive use of your precious time.  Both of these plans, if done correctly, can establish a measured approach to growing your business as well as methods to assess how well your business decisions are achieving the desired results.

One element of the marketing plan is referred to as the elevator speech, a brief but hard-hitting verbal bulletin board that describes your company’s expertise in 30 seconds or so.  Why is it important?  Simply put, over the course of a normal business week, you will have many, many opportunities to describe your company and what it offers.  You may actually find yourself on an elevator with a contracting officer, an elected official or other government customer.  Being prepared for these opportunities may make the difference between a business deal and just another missed opportunity.  The elevator speech needs to be thoughtfully created, rehearsed, and skillfully modified on the fly to make the greatest impact on your listener.  Our friends at the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) have created an outline of the elevator speech that I believe is very effective.  Here’s the outline of items that need to be addressed:

  • Who and what you are
  • What you specialize in
  • What you do
  • Why you are the best at what you do
  • What you want (a call to action)
  • Keep it brief!  Talk solutions that your company brings to the table.

If you haven’t given much thought to your elevator speech, take a 3 x 5 card and jot down the elements that address the outline questions above, then rehearse it.  I know it sounds silly, but a few rehearsals will help you to polish the speech so that the first impressions are lasting.  Again, you will be surprised at the number of opportunities that will materialize in your normal business activity where you can put the elevator speech to use.  Be prepared!

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