The early stages of a startup are a whirlwind of activities and decisions, from product development to marketing strategy. Two things that often come up in conversations about startup planning are the elevator pitch and the business plan. While both are important, knowing which to focus on first can give your startup a strong start. Here’s a rundown by business plan writers on the Elevator Pitch vs Business Plan debate, and what your startup needs first.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a succinct, persuasive speech that you can deliver in the time it takes to ride an elevator—roughly 30 to 60 seconds. The pitch should articulate what your business does, who it serves, and why it matters. The goal is to capture the listener’s interest and make them want to learn more. Elevator pitches are ideal for networking events, chance meetings with potential investors, or quick introductions to other key players in your industry.
What is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines the objectives of your business and the strategies you’ll employ to achieve them. It includes market analysis, financial projections, marketing strategies, and more. Business plans serve multiple purposes: guiding your business, attracting investors, and acting as a roadmap for your team.
The Argument for Starting with an Elevator Pitch
Creating an elevator pitch first can be beneficial for several reasons:
- Clarity of Thought: If you can’t explain your business idea concisely, you might not understand it well enough. Crafting a pitch helps refine your concept and focus your thoughts.
- Quick Feedback: A well-crafted pitch can be shared easily and quickly, allowing you to gather valuable feedback without investing too much time.
- Networking: Whether you’re at an industry event or a casual gathering, you never know when you’ll run into a potential investor or collaborator. Having a pitch ready means you’re always prepared.
The Argument for Starting with a Business Plan
- Comprehensive Understanding: Writing a business plan forces you to think through every aspect of your business, from market analysis to financial projections, giving you a robust understanding of what you’re undertaking.
- Investor Readiness: If you’re seeking substantial funding, a compelling elevator pitch might get you a meeting, but a solid business plan will be necessary to secure investment.
- Team Alignment: A detailed business plan serves as a strategic guide for your team, ensuring that everyone is aligned with the startup’s objectives and how to achieve them.
Both the elevator pitch and business plan are essential tools for your startup, but the order in which you develop them can depend on your immediate needs. If you’re in the ideation stage or are networking intensively, start with an elevator pitch. If you’re moving towards seeking serious investment or want to solidify your internal strategy, a detailed business plan should be your priority. Remember, these two elements are interconnected—a strong elevator pitch will often serve as the executive summary of your eventual business plan.