The elevator pitch is one of the most valuable marketing assets your company will ever have. Being able to convey what you do—what unique value proposition you offer—in 30 seconds or less is critical, because frankly, 30 seconds is all a lot of people will be willing to give you. Candidly, though, my experience is that many business owners aren’t great at offering a concise pitch. The problem isn’t that they don’t know their business well enough, but that they know it almost too well; they struggle to pare things down to the bare essentials, to put themselves in the mindset of the consumer or the investor, who just wants the bare facts.

So how do you distill your company to its essence? How to you provide yourself with a seamless and succinct pitch to generate interest in the business?

Here are some practical steps you can take to hone your 30-second pitch.

Writing a Better Elevator Pitch

Write it down. Don’t do this all in your head. Actually seeing words on paper can provide clarity and further inspiration. You can start by writing down a simple summary of your business and the unique value that it offers. Make sure you’re explaining what benefit you offer to the consumer—what’s in it for them.

Identify pain points. As you brainstorm, think specifically in terms of pain points. What are some of the problems that your consumers have—and how can you posit your product or service as the solution?

Ask for feedback. Share your draft with other people and ask for their assessment; can they identify the value proposition? Do they feel invited into further conversation about your business? Make sure you ask for feedback from people outside your inner circle—people who don’t necessarily understand all the ins and outs of your company.

Read it aloud. Practice giving your elevator pitch out loud, and if it lasts more than 30 seconds, be ruthless in editing it down. Don’t fall into the trap of negotiating with yourself for an additional 10 seconds! Stand on principle!

End with a call to action. Your elevator pitch should be more than just a description of your business. It should end with an invitation to take the next step—to buy the product, to schedule a consultation, to invest, or whatever else you want the listener to do.

Spend some time developing your pitch—and if you need some extra marketing mojo, don’t hesitate to check the ACES sales and marketing page!