The Art of Pitching: Mastering the Entrepreneurial Elevator Pitch

The Art of Pitching: Mastering the Entrepreneurial Elevator Pitch

The Art of Pitching: Mastering the Entrepreneurial Elevator Pitch banner

The first step to becoming an entrepreneur is believing in yourself and in your ideas; the second step is to convince others to believe in you as well. The reality of the matter is, you don’t usually have a lot of time to sell an investor or a customer on your idea. Oftentimes, you are given mere moments to clearly and concisely make your pitch. This process is known as the elevator pitch, and mastering it is an art form in and of itself.

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short summary used to describe an idea, product or brand, according to Indeed. Ideally, an elevator pitch should last no longer than 30 seconds—or, for as long as it takes to complete an elevator ride. As an entrepreneur, you may need to craft an elevator pitch that describes a new product you are working on or an idea you may have. Or, you may simply need to make an elevator pitch about yourself and the brand you are trying to create.

Its Role Within Entrepreneurship

Those working to launch a start-up or establish a small business will find that developing a concise and compelling elevator pitch is vital to their success. An elevator pitch is often used to generate interest among potential investors, which can play a crucial role in your endeavor.

Key Elements of a Persuasive Elevator Pitch

A great elevator pitch should have several key components to be persuasive and effective. These are the elements you should work into your elevator pitch:

Starting With a Hook

You don’t have a lot of time to work with, so you have to make every word of your elevator pitch count. Starting with a hook that grabs the attention of your audience and simultaneously introduces the product, idea or brand will allow you to make an impact right away.

Identifying the Problem

Quickly move from your hook to the challenge being faced. Your product, service or brand will ideally improve upon an existing situation, so make it a point to highlight what the problem is that will be addressed.

Presenting Your Unique Solution

Now that the problem is clear, your audience is going to be left wanting a solution. This is the meat of your elevator pitch, and you should make sure to present your solution in a way that is clear and concise. Showcase how your product, service, idea or brand stands apart from other solutions that may be on the market.

Highlighting Your Value Proposition

Weave in your value proposition so your audience knows why you are the right entrepreneur to invest in. This takes a certain level of confidence, but it’s absolutely integral to your overall success—so don’t be shy.

Engaging the Audience With a Call to Action

Finally, wrap your pitch up quickly with a call to action. Ask the investors to provide funding for your start-up business. Encourage that business to hire you as a consultant for the job. Whatever it is you are selling, make sure you ask for it at the end in a way that is compelling and enticing.

Real-Life Elevator Pitch Examples

When it comes to writing your own elevator pitch, it’s important to know you don’t have to go it alone. Sometimes, using a template or elevator pitch example can give you the structure and inspiration you need to develop your own memorable pitch.

These are some of the best real-life elevator pitch examples, and they serve as an excellent guide for any aspiring entrepreneur who is looking to craft their own unique pitch.


Elon Musk gave one of the most iconic elevator pitches of all time to a group of investors in Beijing, China in 2014. According to Visme, the pitch went like this:

“What we are trying to do with Tesla is to change the world by bringing electric cars—sustainable transport—to the world and showing people that an electric car can be fun and sexy and fast and long-range. But to succeed in that, we need people to take a chance on the company. We need people who are willing to be early adopters of new technology.”

In this example, the hook was the idea of sustainable transport and the possibility that you could make electric cars accessible to the general public, and the call-to-action inspired investors to take an early look at this developing technology and become pioneers in the electric automobile industry.


In 2009, the world was reeling from an economic crisis and the hospitality sector had been hit hard. Airbnb, a fledgling company that was an early pioneer in the crowdsourcing sector, was trying to get investors to help make travel more affordable, accessible and inviting for the masses.

According to Slidebean, their elevator pitch from their original pitch deck went like this:

“Most tourists booking online care about price- and hotels are one of the highest costs for when traveling.

On the other hand, platforms like Couchsurfing have proven that more than half a million people are willing to lend their couches or spare bedrooms.

We have created a platform that connects travelers with locals, letting them rent our rooms, or even entire places. Travelers save money, and locals can monetize their empty rooms- we just take a 10% commission.”

This pitch focuses on how Airbnb has crafted an entirely new concept, based on an idea that has already been successful. It is quick to highlight the appealing nature of their company, and how easy it will be for investors to generate a return.


When DoorDash made its first elevator pitch in 2013, its founders took a leap of faith by crafting an elevator pitch that lasted more than two minutes. While it was a bit on the longer side, its hook was so catchy that they were able to keep the attention of potential investors throughout the duration of the pitch.

This was the hook they used:

“Hi, we’re DoorDash, and we enable every restaurant to deliver. For customers, we offer restaurant food delivery in under 45 minutes, and for restaurant owners, we provide our own drivers, and we manage the logistics of delivery.”

It clearly stated the purpose of the app—to make convenient delivery service available to every restaurant, regardless of size and location. Then, it quickly outlines how the app will benefit both customers and restaurant owners, ultimately showcasing its universal appeal to prospective investors. Once they had the attention of investors, they were able to outline how their app was different and why it was a necessary addition to the modern gig economy.

Tailoring Your Pitch

You may begin the process by writing a universal elevator pitch, but you may find that over time, you need to tailor the pitch to meet the unique needs of the event and audience itself. Writing a versatile pitch that can easily be edited to accommodate a different event or audience will give you the confidence you need to walk into any room ready to make that pitch.

  • Networking events – If you are at a networking event for a particular industry, you may need to have a shorter version of your pitch ready to go in order to quickly introduce yourself and your idea to the attendees at the event.
  • Job interviews – At a job interview, you may use your elevator pitch as a way to introduce yourself, your brand and your professional goals. Within a job interview, you may be more willing to use industry jargon proving your expertise in that particular area.
  • Sales meetings – In a sales meeting, your elevator pitch should focus heavily on the product, what makes it unique and how it will resolve an existing problem. Emphasize your call to action, and motivate them to make a swift decision regarding this opportunity.

Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

Sometimes, writing the first draft of your elevator pitch is the hardest part. Even if you feel like your first try is not your best effort, the hardest part is behind you. Now, you can get to work refining and perfecting your pitch, and before you know it, you will have a shiny gem of a pitch that is ready for even the toughest audience.

These are a few ways you can perfect your pitch:

  • Clarity and conciseness – Make every word count. Choose powerful words to minimize the amount of time you spend making your pitch.
  • Practice, practice, practice – Practice your elevator pitch in front of a mirror to see how it sounds and looks when you present it. Then, practice it as often as possible in front of friends and family members.
  • Confidence and body language – Remember that delivery is everything. You need to say every word in your elevator pitch with poise and confidence so your audience believes in you as much as you believe in yourself.

Become an Entrepreneurial Leader at Johnson & Wales University

At Johnson & Wales University, you have the opportunity to combine your innovative ideas and your passions with proven business strategies through our Online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration – Entrepreneurship degree program. With a curriculum that focuses on the best strategies for small businesses and start-ups, this degree program provides you with a foundation you can build upon throughout your entire career as an innovative entrepreneur.

For more information about completing your degree online, fill out the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected].

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