Friday, October 19, 2012

Pitchcraft: The 4 Magic Elements of an Elevator Pitch

This morning I ran a workshop for my local Wharton alumni networking group on the art of the elevator pitch. In the spirit of Halloween, I called the workshop, "Pitchcraft: The 4 Magic Elements of an Elevator Pitch". (N.B. I have since learned that the title, "Pitchcraft", has been trademarked and is owned by Katherine Sands, who first used the term in 2001. I called my talk "Pitchcraft" because the talk was very close to Halloween and I'm a Harry Potter fan.)

Elevator pitches became popular during the dot-com boom. Entrepreneurs only have 30 to 60 seconds to make a great first impression on potential investors. That's about the same amount of time it takes to ride in an elevator, hence, The Elevator Pitch. (Note, a typical TV commercial lasts 30 seconds).

Do you have an elevator pitch? I developed mine at a workshop similar to the one I ran today and came away with a pitch that got results. As soon as I tried it out at networking events, I could see the light go on in the listener's eyes. That is what we are all aiming for. If you don't see that light of understanding, rewrite and edit your pitch.

If you'd like a copy of my one-page "Pitchcraft" handout, contact me at: I'll send it to you for free. I'd also be happy to work with you on developing and polishing your pitch.

Here's my pitch:

I am Wyn Lydecker, owner of Upstart Business Planning. I craft business plans that answer the questions investors, lenders and customers ask most often. While investors typically fund only 1% of business plans, 60% of the plans I’ve done have raised some sort of capital – ranging from $35,000 in debt to $10 million in equity. I work with inventors or entrepreneurs who need an expansion or start-up plan.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why I Love Teaching Entrepreneurs

Last night I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker in an adult education course at Norwalk Community College on writing a business plan. The course is being taught by an attorney, Cliff Ennico, who has a couple of decades of counseling entrepreneurs, in addition to owning his own businesses. Cliff also was the co-host of MoneyHunt, a PBS TV show, that was somewhat like today's Shark Tank.

I've got to say that I was blown away by the ideas that Cliff's students (all women) have for businesses. When I heard their executive summaries, I thought, "This is what makes our country so great, people with entrepreneurial spirit and great ideas that fill needs."

I was also glad to see that these women were going to the trouble of taking a class that would teach them the basics of starting a business and writing a business plan. The plan is your road map to success and also your marketing tool to raise start-up capital. The planning process is valuable because it makes you think through the details.

You can learn more about Cliff and what he does for business owners at his website: