Last Monday evening, I had the opportunity to join up with a small gathering of entrepreneurs while cruising around San Diego Bay. There were about 15 small business owners in attendance representing a diversity of products and services. I knew only two of the other participants including the friend who invited me in the first place.
As typical with these types of events, the bigger group of 15 often splinters into smaller groups of two, three or four as we mingle around the boat. In the course of making "small-talk", often the question of "so Jim...what is it you do when you’re not out yachting?"...(on a side note: just for clarification...this was definitely NOT my boat...and I’ve never been accused of being a "yachtsman" before...)...
As a response to this question, I’ve developed what is affectionately known as an "elevator speech" with regards to OptiFuse. An elevator speech is basically a brief description of what we do, where we do it, how we got started and why people choose our our products and services to solve their problems. The speech is designed to be very brief...hypothetically lasting only the time it takes to ride an elevator from the ground floor to the top floor.
The company’s "elevator speech" is very important for everyone in a organization to know and be able to articulate when asked. Like it or not, everyone in an organization is a marketing person by helping to create a positive or negative image of their company to the public at-large. Each employee is a company representative even when they are not officially at work, whether it’s playing softball with friends, participating in the local PTA, a Girl Scout leader, or hanging out at the local pub watching their favorite sports team play on the big screen.
Unfortunately, many times people are defined by what they do for a living and/or who they work for. Imagine for a moment people working for the following organizations:
Each of these organizations typically create a preconceived idea of the person who works within the organization. An elevator speech helps to break the stereotype of a particular organization (or re-enforce it) and may help the company to create a more positive image and brand to an "outsider"
- Planned Parenthood
- A local church
- A large Wall St. company
- The IRS or DMV
- A solar energy start-up company
- A community hospital
Take a few minutes to think about your company and what it does. Think about your specific role at your company. Meet with others within your company (this should surely include the company’s management) to discuss the company’s history, objectives and how to best position the company in the community or market.
What are some things that the company does well? What are some future goals of the company?
All of this information should be condensed into a two minute (or less) speech that gives an outsider a great picture of what your company does, stands for, and what you do to support those ideals.
At that point...you have an elevator speech off the top of your head for those future yachting adventures...
"Have you ever taken your car into a mechanic prepared for a large bill only to find out that the only problem was just an open fuse?...well OptiFuse is the company that helps you to replace that fuse and get you back on the road again...hopefully with a lot more money in your pocket than you first thought...
OptiFuse is a manufacturer of automotive and electronic fuses, fuseholders and circuit breakers.
The company is located near San Diego and was founded in 2001 as an alternative to the existing "duopoly" of Bussmann and Littelfuse.
OptiFuse sells its products exclusively through an established network of distributors throughout the world, It is our belief that a well educated and informed sales force is our best approach to servicing our customers.
OptiFuse manufactures many of its own parts but also supplements it product offering by partnering with several specialty fuse manufacturers around the world. By working directly with these manufacturers and with our flat organizational structure, OptiFuse can offer customized solutions to our customers at extremely competitive prices.
This what differentiates us from our competitors; allowing us to become the fastest growing fuse company in the world."
Thank you very much for supporting OptiFuse as we try to work together to spread the word...