The elevator pitch must be concise and include the following elements: (1) position the company in the mind of the investor, (2) identify the company and its key product or service, (3) define the competitive advantage or unique selling proposition and (4) provoke interest and follow-on questions.
Thereafter, presuming and hoping that a longer conversation ensues, the pitcher should be prepared to (5) define the problem that exists, (6) explain how existing products and services are insufficient, (7) define the target market size and growth rate, (8) discuss existing competitors and how your company differentiates itself, (9) explain the business model, (10) define the milestones moving forward, and (11) provide an approximate amount of investment being sought.
As for keeping the pitch brief, start by writing down 10-15 one-sentence expressions of the key points that could be made for the business opportunity and then work diligently to first prioritize them (what are the three to five most important points), make the statements concise and impactful (check your thesaurus to improve the choice of words for maximizing the effect of the words chosen), and then work to get the initial pitch down to 30 seconds or less. Practice, practice, practice.
One should be prepared to deliver subsequent verbal information “packets” that are longer (perhaps even up to two minutes) that may focus on, for instance, the revenue model, technology to be deployed, market size and characteristics, etc. The particular supportive packet to be delivered will depend upon the question being asked.
As for generating follow-on questions it is useful to have in mind how a novel might be written; that is, disclosing some starting information initially but keeping back until the proper question is asked the greater and hopefully more interesting details. Said in another way, be patient with the delivery of information and don’t explode at the beginning of the pitch with too many details. Constructing the visual image requires that an organizing mental platform for the receiver’s mind (skeleton) be constructed first upon which muscle (details) can be attached in subsequent layers of conversation. It may seem a bit complex to think this through, but it is well worth the effort.
All questions and contributions are welcome.