What is your business? It seems like a simple question, yet so many cannot accurately describe their business. Perhaps the simplest way to think of it is: If you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it.
If I went up someone who had never heard of Count Me In and said, “I’m Nell Merlino, founder of Count Me In. I help women.” Ok… I help women do what? Instead I might say, “Hi, I’m Nell Merlino, the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day and I’m on a mission to get 1 million women-owned businesses to $1 million in revenue.” In just one sentence, I got to the heart of my business simply and understandably.
I know this isn’t always easy. Many of us state who we are along with our job titles. That won’t cut it. A few months ago, I met a writer who pitched herself as “a reporter turned ghost-tweeter and blogger who helped a client double their Twitter followers in two months.” That was memorable. She demonstrated why she’s unique and how she’s been successful. Now that woman works for me.
So, how do you pitch your business? Here are three simple tips to ensure future clients remember you.
1. Know what’s in it for the client.
Valerie Biener, owner of Global Trends in Miami and M3 finalist, helps international designers infiltrate their brands into the U.S. She helps designers realize their own dreams of brand expansion. She knows how to do so because she worked as a fashion editor for 10 years and describes herself as a “voguette.” It’s important to show your credibility. It not only proves you know your business, but also that you have the connections to sell your client’s product.
2. Know why you’re unique.
Why should a client hire you opposed to someone else? As the above example demonstrates, Valerie is unique because of her connections in the fashion industry. She knows where to go and who to talk to. Joy Opfer, owner of Kyler by Joy O Eco Jewelry in San Francisco and M3 winner, sells handmade jewelry created from organic, earth-friendly materials. Her jewelry has been featured in fashion magazines and worn by celebrities. Not only that, she gives back to numerous charities.
3. Show your success.
Don’t be humble. Some of us, especially women, have the tendency to be too humble. If you don’t talk about your achievements, no one else will. If you’re the leader in tech education, explain why. Talking about your success doesn’t make you cocky. It shows that your company is the one to hire. If you’ve won a top award in your field, say it and most of all be excited. Show that you’re passionate with actually saying, “I’m so passionate about this business.” That should come through automatically if you love what you do.
With the holidays approaching, don’t miss out on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 27. Through our partnership with American Express OPEN I am pleased to invite you to join this national movement to help drive business to small businesses. You can visit facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday to learn more, join the movement, spread the word and give a shout out to your favorite local stores and restaurants.
Nell Merlino is the Founder and President of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, the leading national not-for-profit provider of resources for women to grow their micro businesses into million $ enterprises. She is the creative force behind Take Our Daughters to Work Day and the author of “Stepping Out of Line: Lessons for Women Who Want It Their Way in Life, in Love, and at Work,” from Broadway Books.