The ‘Elevator Pitch’ can lift your business

The Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards (IBA) for 2010 was launched in March. This is the third year for the Awards and early indications are that it will be the biggest yet.

Research carried out by an Auckland University MBA student some years ago indicated that some 64% of New Zealand business did not have a written Business Plan. That percentage may have improved a bit since then, but it is a safe bet that it has some way to go.

'The Elevator Pitch'- IBA 2010 Logo 5cm.jpgMost business research emphasises the importance of planning for business success.

And that is where the Business Awards format comes in to play.

The questions are designed to draw out the sort of information and data that should be available in a Business Plan. If a written plan does not exist, then gathering the information necessary to complete the entry will be a useful start to the planning process.

The IBA 2010 entry starts with a question about your business.

That might seem pretty straightforward but you would be amazed how many entries I have seen where even after reading the whole entry, I still could not understand what it was that the business actually did.

To be fair, being able to state your business succinctly is more difficult than it seems.

The Americans call it your Elevator Pitch – what would you say to a stranger who gets into the lift with you at level 1 and wants to know what you do before he exits at Level 10. That is less than one minute and it takes some clear thinking to summarise it in that time.

A clear statement about your fundamental business purpose and your business model is essential start point for the Business Awards entry, and your Business Plan.

Your business model means the way in which your business earns its income.

For example, is your business a retailer, wholesaler, manufacturer or an Internet Trader? Each of these businesses earns its income by quite different processes and is hence structured differently.

The IBA 2010 entry form next asks about your goals and strategies.

This is a good opportunity to outline the way that your business identifies where it is aiming to be in the next three to five years, and how you have decided to set targets and measure progress. The answer should indicate something about the process used to agree strategic aims including involvement of staff and advisers, and the use of researched information.

The third IBA 2010 question looks at the product and services offering of your business. Is there a competitive advantage for you in the range and type of product offered, or in the quality of services provided? Has your business developed new technology and has this helped boost sales or profitability?

A lot of business research in the last 25 years has emphasised the importance of innovation in business growth – if you have a process in place to encourage and manage innovation this is the place to outline it.

Next time we will look at more of the IBA 2010 questions and their role in helping you improve your business performance.

Chad Wilkie is Executive Director of Ignition Partner, is convenor of Judges for the Indian Business Awards 2010 and is an experienced adviser to businesses on shaping for growth, and structuring deals to achieve growth.

Our Panel of Judges

Chad Wilkie, Executive Director, Ignition Partner Limited (Convenor)

Adrian Dixon, Business Consultant

Chip Dawson, Managing Director, International Business Management Ltd

Dr Claire McGowan, Managing Director, Commercialisation Advisers Ltd

David Hawkins, Associate Professor, Unitec School of Design

Nevil Gibson, Editor-in-Chief, The National Business Review

Steve Corbett, Chief Executive, e-Centre Ltd, Massey University

Tim Livingstone, Senior Partner, UHY Haines Norton, Chartered Accountants

Tony Bacon, Sector and Partner Manager, Vodafone NZ

Vijaya Vaidyanath, Chief Executive, Waitakere City Council

Our Sponsors & Awards

The National Bank of New Zealand (Title Sponsor)

Best Small Business and Supreme Business of the Year

Stamford Plaza Hotel: Best Business Innovation

Patton Limited: Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Millennium Group: Best Restaurant Business

Kalamazoo Group: Best Professional Services Business

GOPIO: Best Exporter to India Business

Radio Tarana: Best Marketing Excellence

Sponsorship available for other categories. Write to

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