Home Going Up! How to Ride An Elevator Pitch to New Heights

Going Up! How to Ride An Elevator Pitch to New Heights

As a leader in the Pittsburgh investment scene, long-time entrepreneur Mel Pirchesky is now using his experience to coach startups on fundraising and business strategies. According to his company Eagle Ventures, Pirchesky has raised over $45 million in his 35 years of structuring deals. In a recent guest post on the site Pittsburgh Ventures, Pirchesky breaks the art of the elevator pitch – a tool every young entrepreneur needs to learn to use – into an exact science tailored for the best results.

An elevator pitch is a term used to describe a short (usually about 60 seconds, or the time it takes to ride in an elevator) description or pitch of a product one is trying to sell or raise funding for. Pirchesky says an effective elevator pitch is more valuable than a well-written business plan. After all, who’s going to read a business plan when the pitch didn’t hook them?

“Elevator pitches have two components – the first ten or fifteen seconds and the remaining forty-five or fifty,” Pirchesky writes. “The objective of the first ten or fifteen seconds is to have your prospective investors want to listen to the next forty-five or fifty seconds differently, more intently than they would have otherwise.”

Pirchesky adds that the first section of the pitch should include two things – what it is that you or your company does, and something that adds validity to your or your company’s value proposition. Finally, he suggests that you avoid trying to fill your pitch with too much information, to stay away from buzzwords and jargon, and to continually iterate and revise the pitch until all of the money is in the bank.

If there is a great deal to be had, and no investors are biting, the problem isn’t a lack of available funds – it’s in how the deal is being communicated, Pirchesky says.

“The key to effective, successful fundraising is to have your prospective investors hear what you say and understand the significance of what you say to depths of their bones,” he says.

Photo by Flickr user Gideon.

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