Pitches by Analogy (Tips and Gotchas)

Uber for housecleaning. Airbnb for cars. Twitter for the enterprise. LinkedIn for musicians.

Elevator pitches often include analogies to large, successful companies. These analogies can be a great way to communicate ideas quickly and accurately -- just compare "Airbnb for cars" to "We're building a website where people who have cars but don't always use them can rent their cars out by the hour or day. People who need short-term access to cars can browse local listings and bid on vehicles that fit their needs." The longer version is fine, but the 3-word version is punchy and memorable -- and equally informative!.

Analogies are not a panacea, however, and I often see them misused. The most common mistakes include:

In response to these common mistakes, here are some tips for pitching by analogy:

An elevator pitch is a large part of startup's identity. It's how investors will introduce you to other investors, how the press will introduce you to readers, and how users will introduce you to other users. Test your pitch with many people and use their feedback to make it as memorable, concise, and informative as possible.

Tags: Pitching
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