How Entrepreneur Steve Jobs' Elevator Pitch Stole John Sculley From Pepsi During Early Days of Apple
Find Angel Funding & Venture Capital for Business Startups, Entrepreneurs, & First Time Founders – Episode 2
After you pick the business idea you want to explore, it is time to go to work. The next step is for an entrepreneur is to build an elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short, concise way of describing your business to outsiders who have no idea about you or your business. It is a prepared mini-speech designed to spark interest in potential investors, customers, and employees. A good elevator pitch is succinct, intriguing, and memorable. A great elevator pitch makes your listener want to learn more. An amazing elevator pitch makes your listener drop everything and join you. More on this later.
Imagine you are riding in an elevator with someone for 30-60 seconds. Can you describe your business idea to that person before the elevator ride is over? I recommend you focus on the five W’s plus how.
-Who you are
-What you are doing
-Why you are doing it and why you should care
-Where you will do this
-When this will happen
-How you are going to do it
Perfecting your elevator pitch takes time and will likely change, especially if you have not finalized your business idea. At this stage, I definitely think it is beneficial to leave room for flexibility and pivoting. The earlier you work out the kinks of your business idea the better. Changes down the road typically cost more time, money, and effort.
I have one more quick suggestion for all of you entrepreneurs out there. It is easy for thoughts to change or even slip away if you keep them in your head. This will not happen if you write them down. Document all your thoughts about your business idea in a journal, or even better on your Smartphone. Then you can revisit your thoughts, and document potential changes or ideas, so you can create the perfect elevator pitch for your billion-dollar idea.
Would you like a little more convincing about the importance of an elevator pitch? Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, made one of the more famous elevator pitches to John Sculley of Pepsi.
Back in 1983, John Sculley was the president of Pepsi. He was a very highly paid executive sitting atop of one of PepsiCo's most important divisions, and the youngest president in Pepsi's history.
Sculley had dedicated his career to Pepsi, and was widely believed to be a serious contender to become PepsiCo's chairman one day. Sculley constantly turned down offers from other companies. Then Steve Jobs reached him.
Apple was looking for a CEO. Steve Jobs needed someone to run the company while he focused on product development. Although Sculley was intrigued by Apple's rise to become a Fortune 500 company in only six years, he said he was not interested.
Sculley eventually agreed to meet Jobs. Initially, he was taken aback by how young he was. Steve was only 27, but he and Sculley had a lot in common. Both were detail-oriented perfectionists, and both liked to build companies.
However, Sculley was shocked by Apple's headquarters. It looked like the branch office of an insurance company. Completely unimpressive. Sculley also noticed he was the only person wearing a suit, as all the Apple employees were dressed less formally than the maintenance staff at Pepsi.
Jobs told Sculley that Apple was going to be the most important computer company in the world because it was going to put the technological power of corporations into the hands of the individual.
Sculley was impressed with Jobs. Jobs was fascinated by Pepsi's marketing. However, at the end of the meeting, Sculley reiterated that he was not interested in leaving Pepsi.
Jobs persisted. Eventually, Jobs had one more opportunity to pitch Sculley. During the pitch, Jobs looked Sculley in the eyes and said, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?"
That challenge hit Sculley like a fist in the stomach. That one sentence that haunted him. It gnawed at Sculley. It would not let him sleep. It was so powerful, it finally convinced him to leave Pepsi behind and join Apple. Today, that elevator pitch is considered one of the best elevator pitches in history.
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Disclaimer: This does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation of any security or any other product or service. We are not offering legal, investment, tax, or medical advice.
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