The elevator speech, so named because you should be able to describe your business and get the listener to want to hear more in the time an elevator ride takes, is a skill every small business owner needs to know.
There are numerous articles on the internet about how to best craft a short statement. One such article, How to Tell Your Business Story in 60 Seconds or Less, appeared last month on Enterpreneur.com. The author suggests a four-step approach to your pitch, by answering the following questions:
1. What do you do?
2. What problem do you solve?
3. How is your product or service different?
4. Why should I care?
The elevator speech comes in handy at any networking opportunity–conferences, business meetings and casual conversation with everyone you meet.
I know what you are thinking–”oh, no, not Twitter again.” But yes, I believe that small businesses need to keep up with new technology and marketing to survive. I confess that I had to be rather forcefully encouraged to join Twitter. We are all busy enough with the numerous other tasks associated with running our own businesses without having to adapt to new technology. The most common objections I hear is that Twitter seems like a waste of time, or that it might be too easy to get addicted to following the constant messages and leave no time for other work. We all have read the news stories about how Twitter is about sharing every detail of people’s lives, and few of us care about what someone ate for lunch or what errand they are running. I am here to share with you that while it needs to be managed, Twitter is far more than a diversion.
How To Get Started on Twitter
There are numerous sites that explain how-to get started on Twitter, but I recommend a great starter guide over at Small Business Trends . Jim Kukral explains “How and Why to Use Twitter for Small Businesses” and includes a ten-minute video which shows you exactly how to sign on and “tweet.”
After the Basic Twitter Lesson
This week, over at Twittips, Mark Hayward guest posts “20 Must Read Beginner Tips for Small Business Owners.” Mark, like myself, Jim Kukral and numerous small business owners, all initially dismissed Twitter as of being no value, but we all quickly changed our minds. Mark suggests there is a learning curve to get through before you find the marketing and social value. I encourage you to read the entire post, it is filled with valuable tips and suggestions.
More Advanced Twitter Tips from Small Business Owners Like Us
You can find more (137!) advanced suggestions from actual successful business users compiled by the folks over at Small Business Trends. You can learn about how best to manage and categorize the flow of information, and some of the ways Twitter has proven successful for their small businesses.
Please give it a try, and let me know what you think.
Earlier this week, the New York Times posted an article online entitled “Mom-and-Pop Operators Turn to Social Media.” According to the Times, small business owners now outnumber big companies using the microblogging service as a free marketing tool to promote their products and services.
The Times noted that Twitter has become the sole source of marketing for many small business owners that have no ad budget. According to the Times, these small businesses do not have websites and had no intentions of starting an e-commerce business. Nevertheless Twitter has become a very valuable tool that allows small businesses to expand their customer bases, find suppliers and allows the owners to connect with their customers in a way they could only do in person prior to signing on to Twitter.
One great idea discussed in the article is the ability to “tweet” promotions and discount offers directly to your “followers.” This can be easily done right from your phone and instantly reach your clients, who will re-tweet the offers to their friends and family.
Here on Long Island, a small business would either only be able to affordably reach out to their small community weekly in a local neighborhood paper, or include an ad in one of those fat bundled envelopes or coupon books that many of us simply throw out, or save and never use.
You can learn about Twitter here from Wikipedia, then go to twitter’s home page to join.