Business Planning: Presenting Your Elevator Pitch Online

By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck

After you get the wording of your in-person introduction down pat, shrink your that part of your business plan’s message for presentation online, which is where many people are apt to first encounter your business description. Cover the following points:

  • Convey what your business does, its target market, and what makes it distinct and credible.
  • Include keywords that those looking for businesses like yours are apt to use in their search terms. The Google Keyword Planner tool offers the example of a business selling men’s athletic footwear that might use such key terms as “men’s sports shoes,” “men’s sneakers,” and “men’s tennis shoes,” as well as brand and product names.
  • Convey a sense of your brand promise.
  • Keep it short. Twitter limits user bios to 160 characters, and that’s a good length to keep in mind for introductions you use across other networks as well. See the nearby sidebar on shrinking attention spans for information on why shorter is better in today’s environment.

As proof it can be done with 140 characters — or far fewer — here are Twitter introductions from a few of the decade’s unicorns, those highly publicized start-ups whose valuation soared above the billion-dollar level. Each begins with the @ sign that precedes Twitter usernames:

  • @Airbnb: Airbnb is the world’s largest community-driven hospitality company. With unique listings in 190 countries, travelers can belong anywhere.
  • @Spotify: Music for every moment. Play, discover, and share for free. Need support? We’re happy to help at @SpotifyCares.
  • @SurveyMonkey: We’re the world’s leading provider of web-based survey solutions, helping people gather the insights they need to make more informed decisions.

Although the format and length of your in-person and online introductions will differ, be careful that both convey the same message about what your business is, does, and stands for. Also, be sure that both are consistent with the facts and experience people will encounter when they take the next step by venturing through your front door, into the pages of your website, or beyond the cover of your business plan.