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The Entrepreneurial Mind

What's your 'elevator pitch'?

You never know when you might run across a potential investor or customer, Cornwall writes. So you always need to be prepared to give a clear and concise pitch of your business.

By Guest blogger / April 30, 2013

Student Hector Guevara, 16, (L) is interviewed by Lucia Donat during work readiness training at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles, Calif.

Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters/File

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Entrepreneurs need to be ready to pitch any time, anywhere.

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Jeff is the Jack C. Massey Chair in Entrepreneurship and Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

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Jake Jorgovan, an alumnus from Belmont’s Entrepreneurship program, is always ready to give his pitch.

“At the most random situations, I will find myself giving a pitch,” says Jorgovan. “Out at drinks with friends, or just out socializing and suddenly I run into someone who is a contact directly in the space that I am working in. It can catch you off guard sometimes, but you should have your elevator pitch prepared and not be afraid to deliver it anytime of day.”

Jorgovan has become an expert at pitching through a lot of practice.  While in school at Belmont, he participated in every business plan pitch competition he could.  He had lots of success, winning Belmont’s campus business plan competition and the business plan event at Collegiate DECA during his college years.  He also was honored as the recipient of the 2011 Nashville Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the third place winner of the 2011 Global Student Entrepreneur Award. 

Jorgovan is now working on his second venture since graduating from our program.  He is currently founder and CEO of Virtual Physical Therapy.

Here are the five tips Jorgovan offers to young Belmont entrepreneurs who, as an alumnus, he advises and mentors:

1. Present a clear case of the problem and the solution. This is the most important part of the pitch.  If the audience does not believe there is a problem, or fails to understand your solution, then nothing else you present beyond that will matter.

2. Present with passion.  Don’t just run through the entire pitch in a monotone voice with no excitement.   If do not sound excited about your venture, your audience won’t be excited about it either.

3. Work on your delivery. Learn how to use your voice to help emphasize key points.  Slow down and emphasize your most important points so the audience knows that is what is important.  Make it seem as if you are talking to each person in the room by using eye contact.

4. Know the audience.  Each pitch should be tailored to whom you are presenting to.  If it is a business plan competition, tailor your pitch specifically to the judging criteria. If it is an investor pitch, talk about the issues important to investors and be clear about the return they might gain from investing in your business.  If it is a sales pitch, tailor it to the value proposition you offer to the customer.  “There is no one size fits all pitch presentation,” says Jorgovan.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice.  The more times you can run through your pitch, the more effective you become. “Try it in front of your mom, dad, sister, neighbor, dog, or whoever will give you the time of day,” recommends Jorgovan.

You never know when you might run across a potential investor or customer.  So you always need to be prepared to give a clear and concise pitch of your business.

As I tell my students, “Life’s a pitch. Be ready!”

 

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on www.drjeffcornwall.com.

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