Business 04 January 2018
When you're diving into starting a business, you will quickly notice how every thought, every decision, and every conversation you have is driven by the product or service you are starting to build from the ground up.
You may find yourself skipping out on social activities so that you can hunker down and do research for your company. You may even decide to break your lease and move back home to your parent's house so you can use the cash you would normally spend on rent, on bootstrapping your new idea.
But one thing you might not be able to control is how much you find yourself talking about your start-up to your family members, your friends, your dentist, and even potential investors you meet at a networking event. It will become your favorite thing to talk about and phrases like, “Can I pick your brain" or “What do you think of this idea?" will flow out of your mouth without you even realizing what you are saying and who you are saying it to.
So if you're in the business start-up zone and you're looking to impress an investor, spill the behind-the-scenes of the company to a close friend, or let a first date know how much of a badass female entrepreneur you are, here are tips on how to refine your elevator pitch to meet your audience's needs.
Finding yourself standing in front of a table of investors can be a frightening and also empowering thing. Chances are you have worked your butt off to get a business plan ready, a product or service outline to present, and even some press surrounding your start-up to show off to them. It might be a groundbreaking meeting, but if anything, it is a chance for you to clearly explain your business idea and the impact it will have on your target audience.
For this, it's important to get personal while also staying on track. Begin the pitch with an anecdote of what drove you to start this business and how the problem your business is going to solve is something near and dear to you. Then go on with the answers to these questions, “Why you? Why now? Why this?"
Providing a short pitch, answering those questions first, will allow potential investors to understand why you're starting this business and what makes you quailed to lead it down the path of success.
When you're catching up with your close circle of friends, either over brunch, the phone, or a group text, people might share what they've been up to lately. If all you can think about responding is, “I've been up to too much stuff with starting this business," you might want to bite your tongue or erase the text and think of something more useful and practical to say.
It's okay to vent about the struggles you're having with your business to your friends, but don't forget to also boast about the positives and the wins you've experienced too.
If you find that you've already handed your friends your elevator pitch one too many times and got them excited about what your business is going to be, it's time to refine the pitch so that when you talk to them, you're providing them with updates on your business so that they can give you feedback and also help keep you motivated and inspired.
This pitch should include just one problem you've faced that week and then two wins or positives you have acquired so that you can get in the habit of celebrating success. By also stating those important things, you'll be able to help your friends better understand your business idea, why it matters, and how it's going to change the industry that you are breaking into.
3. A First Date
One of the most annoying questions for an entrepreneur on a first date is the question of, “what do you do for a living?" Perhaps you're working a 9-5 job, a part-time gig, or a handful of part-time gigs, while also creating magic on the side for your new business, and the answer to that question can be complicated.
Or, maybe you've recently quit your full-time job to pursue your own business and you fear that by saying that to your date, they'll give you a stern talking about how you're going to drain your savings and be out of the workforce for too long.
Either way, it's important to come at your date with a confident answer as to “what do you do for a living?" and the best place to start is with a quick elevator pitch for your business.
Unlike the one you gave to investors or friends, who might be the same demographic as potential customers for your business, your goal with this pitch is to excite and impress your date.
Start with a sentence or two about the problem you're looking to solve, the audience you want to target, and the unique feature of your business. Add in another sentence about your background and experience, so you're date can get a feel for how rad you are, with a final sentence about why you're the right person to start this business.
This pitch will not only eliminate your date's questions on whether or not you're a serious entrepreneur but will also get them feeling intimidated and certain that you are one strong and fierce female sitting across from them on this date.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!