Writing an Elevator Pitch

When you are in the process of developing anything, whether its an application or website, a good place to start is to come up with an elevator pitch.

The idea of an elevator pitch is simple, its about quickly summarising your idea in as few words as possible. Think of it this way, you are in an elevator and a potential investor gets in the lift with you. You want to propose your idea, but you only have 30 seconds to tell them about your idea. You should be able to tell the investor about your idea in the time it takes to enter and exit the elevator. An elevator pitch typically answer and touch upon each of these three questions:

  • What is the idea?
  • Who is it for?
  • Why is it needed?/What is the problem?

Even if you don’t actually have to pitch the idea, answering these questions really lets you get down to the basics of why you are creating and developing the application in question.

After you have answered these questions, the next step is to create a one pager or one page document. The purpose of this document, is to make it easier to visualise the idea. If you were to show the document to someone else who does not know what you are working on, they should be able to understand the product your are working on and developing.

For Track, which is the project I am designing and developing for my final major project, I started off by writing the questions above, and answering them. At this stage, I did not worry about how much I wrote as I just wanted to make sure that I answered the questions in as much detail is possible. I took a picture of what I wrote here. In case you are unable to access the link, I have quoted what I wrote below.

What’s the idea?
Track is a live timetable application/website, providing users with information about trains, such as train times and service information.
Who’s if for?
Track is aimed at those that use the railways frequently, such as students and workers that commute to work and study.
Why is it needed?/What is the problem?
Most of the other train time apps and websites are poorly designed or have unnecessary features and complicated user interfaces.
Train operators are notoriously bad at communicating with customers when there is severe disruption. Track will make it easier for rail users to know when there is any disruption and allow them to plan alternative routes home.

I then took another look at the answers to the questions and refined them, to ensure that I answered the questions with as much detail as possible, to ensure that I get my idea for Track across. I took a picture of the answers to the questions here. In case you are unable to access the link, I have quoted what I wrote below.

What is the idea?
Track is a live timetable application, providing users with information about trains, such as train times, service information, crowding levels and train punctuality. As well as making it easier for rail users to know when there is any disruption on their most frequently used routes to home or to work.
Who is it for?
Track is aimed at frequent rail users, such as students or workers that rely on the railways to get to and from their place of study or work.
Why is it needed?/What is the problem?
Many transport journey planners have complicated user interfaces, unnecessary features and are poorly designed. In addition they also seem to appeal to a broad range of users, as opposed to the most frequent users of the railways. In addition, train operators are notoriously bad at communicating with passengers when there is any disruption.

So that’s it, I’ve created an elevator pitch for my idea. The next step is now to do develop the elevator pitch in to a one page document. As well as conducting some market research to look at other transport planners, both websites and applications, as well as conducting some user research with commuters to find out their expectations when using the railways when they commute.