So, What Do You Do? Anatomy of a Small Business Elevator Pitch

elevator pitch tips

My friend Jacob Meltzer shakes a lot of hands as the co-owner of Keep It Cut – a chain of men’s hair salons in Arizona. Many of those handshakes are accompanied by his company’s elevator pitch.

Wait. The company’s what pitch?

An elevator pitch is a succinct and persuasive introduction of your business to a potential customer. Essentially, you should be able to sell your business to a stranger in the time between you both entering and exiting the elevator.

Here’s how Jacob pitches Keep It Cut:

Keep It Cut is a men’s hair salon that offers unlimited haircut memberships. So, you can get a single haircut for $19 or you can pay $29 a month and get as many haircuts as you want. You could come in every day if you want. It’s like Netflix, but for hair.

Let’s take a look at some critical elements of that elevator pitch.

A men’s hair salon that offers unlimited haircut memberships.

Boom. Right up front, Jacob makes it very clear who his target customer is. Keep It Cut isn’t for women. It’s a hair salon for men. Sorry, ladies.

In the same breath, Jacob introduces what makes Keep It Cut unique from nearly every haircut place on the market.

Unlimited haircut memberships? Ooooh. That sounds unusual. Please tell me more.

That’s differentiation, Holmes.

You can get a single haircut for $19.  

Co-owners of Keep It Cut (and elevator-pitch pros), Josh Thorsvik and Jacob Meltzer.

This line communicates two key pieces of info:

  • First, it says that you don’t have to be a member to drop in for a cut.
  • Second, it communicates price.

To be totally honest, I rarely hear an elevator pitch that explicitly calls out pricing. In this case, though, it makes a lot of sense.

Most men know roughly how much they pay for a haircut. When a potential Keep It Cut customer hears the price in the elevator pitch, he immediately recognizes that this is a bit more premium than your standard strip mall salon. That weeds out folks who bounce from salon to salon looking for a cheap cut.

Or you can pay $29 a month and get as many haircuts as you want.

I love this little twist. Jacob is happy to cut your hair for $19, but what he really wants is for you to commit to a monthly membership – and the recurring monthly payment that comes with it.

By juxtaposing the price of a single cut with the price of the membership, it really drives home the added value of commitment. Hey, it’s only $10 more. What a deal!

(Wanna learn more about pricing? Read my post on the price of guacamole at Chipotle.)

It’s like Netflix, but for hair.

Monthly memberships are common for yoga studios, small business software, and more. They’re less common for hair salons.

By aligning his unique business model with something more familiar, Jacob builds understanding for folks who may not have connected the dots earlier in the elevator pitch.

Plus, it’s kind of cute and catchy. If you can close your elevator pitch with a memorable line like this, definitely do it!

What’s your elevator pitch?

To recap:

  • Keep it short, concise, and clearly state the name of your company.
  • Avoid buzzwords or internal industry jargon.
  • Have a hook or include an unexpected element that makes your business memorable (in Jacob’s case, that would be the haircut membership.)

If you attend a networking event, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to introduce your business. Hell, go to just about any party and someone will ask “So, what do you do?”

With the right elevator pitch, you’ll know exactly what to say.

Share your elevator pitch in the comments.

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


  1. says

    Matt: How much hair do you need to cut during a month? 😉

    It is indeed an elevator pitch with a twist!

    I want to find an elevator pitch for my business activities that are not pushy. I have an interest and knowledge in new media, business philosophy, and the good life (including tea). I have seen time after time, that I am good at inspiring individuals, small business owners, and members of an organization, to get the idea why they should start their own podcast. I want to put this message on paper (flyer, small brochure), and be able to say it during a ride in the elevator! 😉

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