Do You Make These Elevator Pitch Mistakes?

How strong is your pitch? First impressions can make all the difference, and the success you find is often reflected in how well you pitch your business. The following are common mistakes to avoid when communicating to others about your business.

Some audiences will not need a full pitch, but the same principles apply when trying to avoid mistakes related to describing what you have to offer.

When aiming to get people on board with your business strategically, entrepreneurs need to pitch to:

  • Banks for capital
  • Potential partners and investors
  • Future clientele
  • Future staff hires
  • Contracted workers
  • Suppliers


How would you tell a friend or acquaintance about your favorite movie in 30 seconds?

What would you tell them specifically?

What would you say that would make them want to
see the film that weekend? Maybe even go home and search for it on Netflix or Amazon?

Think about the detail and passion you would use when telling your friend about this great movie.

You only have 30 seconds because both of you must return to your offices and continue working.

How do you pass on the urgency to watch the movie? It’s pretty simple.

You communicate the main idea, the overarching theme, with passion and
quickness – this is called concise selling.

That’s right, you have just sold the movie. You’ve convinced your friend to watch it, and it only took 30 seconds.

Likewise, you can do the same with your business.

Make sure you have a value proposition statement that draws the attention of your hearer in less than 30 seconds.

While it sounds simple, so many entrepreneurs fumble the ball.

The need for capital or support supersedes the condition of the potential investor.

The urgent need clouds the entrepreneur’s mind, causing them to think the investor requires the entire backstory of the business in the elevator. Not so.

The elevator pitch is a 30-second interaction where you’ll have the opportunity to plant seeds of intrigue and interest in the potential investor’s mind.

The potential investor should want to hear more about your business at a later date and time because of the intrigue you have created.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs forsake the power of an effective elevator pitch and ramble on and on.

This tactic makes the potential investor want to run and run fast. As
as soon as the elevator door opens, they bolt. Instead of intriguing the investor, the eager and often desperate entrepreneur has scared the investor.

Therefore, spend some time honing your elevator pitch and avoid these most common elevator pitch mishaps.

Below is a shortlist including eight professional tips of what potential investors do not want to hear in a 30-second elevator pitch.


  1. Insist On Leading With The Story Of The Company
    In 30 seconds, there is no time for the entrepreneur to tell the entire story of the business. When encountering an investor in transit, you cannot share your whole story.

    First of all, the investor is in transit, which means their focus is likely to be on their destination. The entrepreneur, as earnest as one might be, is an interruption. Sometimes, an unwelcome interruption.

    Regard the investor’s time and agenda with respect, and kindly offer your 30-second pitch. By doing so, you will plant intrigue and interest. The investor may even give you contact information to arrange a future meeting – this is the mark of success.
  2. Rely On Marketing Content And Emotion Vs. Facts
    The best interruptions are the ones that evoke emotion. People remember what made them feel a particular kind of way. So it is with the entrepreneur’s elevator speech. It should jar the investor. The investor should want to know more about it.

    That’s all the entrepreneur needs to accomplish. Avoid statistics and specific data – that’s for another more organized time. During the elevator speech, make the emotional connection and leave the potential investor with a colorful marketing piece as a reminder – this will aid in getting an official meeting.
  3. Build Up For The Punchline At The End
    The old southern fishermen used to say, “hook ‘em and reel ‘em.” For the
    entrepreneur’s purposes, begin with a hook statement that causes the investor to pause, even if just for a moment.

    The pause suggests that the entrepreneur has struck an emotion – hooked. Then, layer on the value proposition that stimulates interest in the mind of the investor – reeled.

    If done well, the entrepreneur will lock in a meeting, enabling them to explain the details and establish a rapport. “Hook ‘em and reel ‘em.”
  4. Highlight Features Rather Than Differentiators
    Let’s reflect on the movie example from earlier. What did you tell your friend in the elevator or at the water cooler about the movie? What made them want to go to the theatre after work or go home and search for it on Netflix?

    It was the primary feature that communicated the main idea or theme.
    The moviemaker created a visual that struck you, and now you are echoing that emotion.

    Do the same with a potential investor. Avoid communicating why your business is different or better.

    Every business owner thinks their business is unique, even if it is not. Tell the investor about the main features, what generates traction in the marketplace.

    Acknowledge the present competition facing the business so the investor will understand your competence. However, make sure to couple competitive acknowledgment with the features of your business. Again, more interest explodes, and a meeting should follow.
  5. Focus On The Solution And Your Team
    Wise investors make their investments in the right people more so than a great product.

    Ensure the investor knows vital but straightforward information about you and the great team of people working with you. Boast a bit about prior accomplishments so that the investors can paint an upward trajectory of success in their minds. Investors want to invest funds where trends are going, not where they have been. So concisely communicate the problem your business solves.
  6. Speak Efficiently And Cordially
    Remember, as an entrepreneur giving an elevator speech, you’ve got only 30 seconds.

    Therefore, speak swiftly, confidently, and cordially. Carry yourself professionally and aim for likability. Your tone and posture should communicate commitment and purpose, but the warmth of your words will help investors want to continue the conversation. People generally want to talk further with people who draw them in and don’t irritate them.
  7. Neglect To Ask For Any Specific Next Step
    Avoiding inquiries can seem counterproductive, but it is intuitive. The elevator pitch is not the time or place to ask for money.

    It is the time and place to generate intrigue and interest. You will not close the deal in the elevator.

    When done correctly, it will be easy to ask for a follow-up meeting or lunch. You want a follow-up meeting, but you will only talk for a limited amount of time in this follow-up encounter.

    You want the investor to do as much talking as possible – this is when the investor asks questions, probes the details, and becomes invested.

    Once interest is invested in your idea, investors generally examine how they can partner, leverage, or possibly own a portion of your business.
  8. Come Unprepared With No Written Documents
    Coaches often tell their athletes to “Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready.” Simply put, be prepared at all times.

    Do not show up to an elevator pitch without a colorful marketing speech or to a follow-up meeting without an executive summary extracted from your comprehensive business plan.

    Make sure your investor knows your business is not a dream, but a bona fide reality.


The pitch can be phenomenal but thwarted by poor delivery. Here are some tips to help deliver your elevator pitch with confidence.

  1. Avoid starting with your name. Instead, catch their attention with what you are working on, then leave them a name they can search online for later.
  2. Stand still. Avoid swaying or rocking from side to side.
  3. Do not talk about the technology behind your business. Focus on the issue that technology solves.
  4. Speak swiftly, but not too fast. Be clear and concise.
  5. Be focused and do not ramble.
  6. Do not sound desperate. You are offering a tremendous profitable opportunity.
  7. Avoid speaking with jargon. Use definitive words that translate meaning across multiple industries.

In short, communicate clearly and confidently. You should enjoy the experience as much as the hearer. If you are not having fun and enjoying the elevator pitch, neither is the potential investor. Be positive and offer the opportunity-seeking only for a follow-up meeting where dialogue can transpire.

Delivering a great elevator pitch does not need to be a complex undertaking, but it does require preparation. Practice, practice, and practice again. It should roll off your tongue easily. The elevator pitch should be a fun and compelling experience for both the entrepreneur and the investor.

Get the contact information for a follow-up meeting and get ready to grow your business. “Hook ‘em and reel ‘em.”

Contact to learn how to make the perfect pitch.