Richard Branson: This is what they mean by an elevator pitch

The Virgin Group founder reflects on one of the more memorable pitches he ever received and hands out a few tips to those wanting to improve their own…

"One of the best pitches I ever received was from a man who owned an elevator installation business. He knew that people frequently gave me their "elevator pitch" and thought it would be more efficient and fun to be in an actual elevator. While the idea wasn’t ultimately viable, it made me smile - I’m sure he has gone on to great things," recalls Richard Branson in a recent Daily Monitor blog.

"Of course, facts and figures are important. If you have data that supports your potential business, that’s great - but remember not to drown people in numbers (my eyes tend to glaze over as soon as too many stats are rolled out during a pitch). If you don’t have any supporting data available for your idea, you have to sell people on your vision and your dream."

With Virgin Media Business’s annual Pitch to Rich competition set to take place later this summer, resulting in the winners across three categories gaining access to a million pound prize pot, Richard is set to see more than his fair share of pitches before the year is out.

So what are his top tips for any entrepreneurs wishing to impress?

"As I have written previously, the first step toward delivering a great pitch is to keep it human, since far too many presentations and speeches can turn artificial and wooden quite quickly. Let your passion shine through by being yourself and allowing your points to come across naturally. Use humour to connect with your audience and demonstrate your creativity.

"A great pitch can do many things. It can convince potential investors and clients that you are worth taking a chance on. It can also help you recruit top talent that can help your business expand. These are essential ingredients for a successful venture. Keep in mind that people want to invest in people. So talk about your previous successes. 

"For instance, if you have succeeded in a business once before, people will believe that you can do it again. If not, highlight your skills and connections: What abilities of yours will help make this business a reality? What deals or partnerships have you put in place to help execute your vision?"

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