Note on the Elevator Pitch: A Brief, Verbal Overview of Your Startup Business

by: James D. Price, Christine Slocumb

Publication Date: July 3, 2009
Length: 5 pages
Product ID#: 1-428-848

Core Disciplines: Communications, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Marketing/Sales

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Teaching Note

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The brief, verbal, executive overview of the startup business – the so-called elevator pitch – has achieved something approaching mythical status in U.S. commerce as scores of annual pitch competitions pit entrepreneurs against one another before panels of VC judges. For entrepreneurs, the honed elevator pitch is a crucial communication tool, not just for these competitions, but in order to be prepared for discussions with key executives, customers, influencers and potential investors. This note provides a formulaic approach to developing a compelling elevator pitch.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Recognize that the purpose of an elevator pitch is to provide a rapid, verbal, clear, concise, and consistent positioning statement for a startup.
  • Identify the key components of an elevator pitch and create one.
  • Understand that a good elevator pitch is formulaic, yet can be presented in a way that is compelling and spontaneous if prepared and rehearsed properly.