Ads are everywhere and as a result, we often ignore them until something really grabs our attention. Business ideas are no different, and that is why every good entrepreneur has a refined and attention-grabbing elevator pitch. Much like a film trailer peeks viewers interest for the film release, an elevator pitch should do the same; it should be quickly understood, relatable, and leave the “audience” eager to find out more about your product or service.

To craft a fantastic elevator pitch a number of components are needed. It should contain a hook to draw the audience in, a problem that needs solving, a proposed solution, a proof of concept, and finally a call to action. If all aspects are implemented correctly with passion and confidence then you should have the undivided attention of your audience, keen to learn more about your offering. An elevator pitch should only last 30 seconds, so packing it all can be tough, however, if you nail it, you can look like a superstar and leave your competitors fumbling in the dust.

The Hook

the hook is potentially the most important part, as it is unlikely the listener will continue to pay attention to you if your introduction isn’t relevant to them. Which is why it is important to develop a variety of ways to connect with your prospect. One good strategy is to start with a rhetorical question.

For example, if you were to create an app for local tour guides, you can start with a question along the lines of “Have you ever arrived in a city, wanting to know the best-hidden spots, but you don’t have the local knowledge of the area?”. This not only paints a visual picture for the audience of the situation but also encourages them to recall a time when they have potentially needed the service that you are about to explain.

When considering the hook, it is important to factor in who your audience is. Appealing to them is the most important factor because they need to feel invested, with the possibility of finding a solution to a problem they can relate to. Thus, if you ask your audience a question, and the answer is no, then you are either pitching to the wrong audience or you have found a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist, which is about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

A problem that needs solving

Every business should aim to solve a problem, that is their “value-add” and is how they make a profit. Following your hook, you should briefly explain why this is the situation. Following along the lines of the previous hypothetical pitch for tour guides, you could present the problem with a clear “problem-solution” statement that packs a one-two punch, “Guides such as Lonely Planet are outdated and knowing the best-hidden gems requires real knowledge from locals”. By explaining the current environment and how there is something missing or in the way, you validate the need for your solution and slipped in a hint as for how to fix it.

A proposed solution

By explaining what you have to offer, it should solve or facilitate the solution to the aforementioned problem. If we look at the tour guide app example, we would expect to hear a description of the service and how it will help us solve our poor access to local knowledge. For example “Local Guide is an app which immediately connects you to locals who know their area so you can find the best places anywhere in the world”.

A proof of concept

Being able to demonstrate that your idea or service works to solve the problem is essential for building credibility. Presenting an idea to an audience with no evidence that it works or without social proof can be a near impossible sale. As a result, it is incredibly important for a business to demonstrate some traction or social proof in the target market. If we take our Local Guide example, we might say something along the lines of “We currently have 10,000 members on our pre-sign up page ready to take part”. This demonstrates a desire for the service you are offering, giving your audience confidence in your solution. If you don’t have something as impressive? Connect your product or service to leaders in the industry.

A call to action

This can vary dramatically as it is personal for every business and can differ depending on the stage of the business. For a young startup, you might want to advance your Minimal Viable Product, or even raise the funds to produce it in the first place. On the other hand, for a much more advanced startup or company, you might be applying to investors to scale your company, potentially seeking investment in the millions.