You enter an elevator that has a few other people on it, and one of them recognizes you, and asks, “Hey, I heard you have a new business. Tell me about it.”
The elevator rises and you will be getting off at the next floor so you only have a few moments to reply. How do you quickly answer this question, knowing that the others will hear your answer too? Do you fumble and mumble something like “it’s all good”…which doesn’t really say anything? Or do you quickly reply with a succinct sentence or two to describe your new business before you…or they…have to leave the elevator?
For a similar scenario, we as SCORE mentors, often advise our clients to prepare what to say ahead of time. It is called an Elevator Pitch (EP). Readiness equates to Confidence. Like a mission statement for your business, the EP should be short and descriptive. Each and every inquiry from someone is an opportunity for you to network, to inform, to market, to inspire, to recruit potential business to your new endeavor. By preparing, you can approach these opportunities in that light.
An EP example might be: “I found a gap in retail that I can fill with my new (fill in the blank) that will launch this Spring.” Or “After a lot of research, I am excited to offer clients (fill in the blank) to help save them money, and promote business spirit downtown.”
Your answer can lead them to ask more questions. “Really? What’s it called? Where is it located?” etc. Your answers then linger with the elevator group as you get off the elevator and thank them for asking.
As an entrepreneur, you have invested a lot of time, energy, finances and creativity in your new endeavor, so take advantage of every opportunity to promote it free of charge. The scenario above can happen in the grocery store, where everyone in the aisle (and maybe an aisle over) will overhear what you say, and can then be informed to share what they heard with others.
Your positive words make an impact. As a result, you also will feel positive about the confident way you answered, because you prepared ahead of time with what words to say.
The Elevator Pitch concept can be used, conversely, if you are between jobs and still thinking about what avenue lies ahead for you. Perhaps it is not in starting a business, but instead, thinking about a new career direction for yourself. Again, positive wording makes a difference to anyone who might hear your words. Do you say “can you believe they laid me off at X company after all the years I gave them?” or perhaps do you turn the situation to your advantage by saying “I am really looking forward to new ways to use my life skills in a new direction”. Those who overhear those words come away with a positive impression of you rather than a negative one.
The EP takes practice. Play with words that feel comfortable to you. Such positive self-talk interestingly becomes your positive mind thoughts. We can become what we say out loud. With practice, our Elevator Pitch becomes natural in a reply and we are not caught off-guard with how to respond to an inquiry.
SCORE mentors can help with this type of practice, with other resources, with nonjudgmental listening, and ask questions you may not have thought to consider as you prepare your business beginning, or transition to new business growth and career.
Our SCORE services are free and confidential, with each SCORE mentor adhering to a Code of Ethics, which builds trust in our client relationships. If you are a potential client, or someone who has talent and experience who could assist as a SCORE mentor, we invite you to contact Tip of the Mitt SCORE for more information.