“The purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you're with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.” – Seth Godin
We know that talking about ourselves – blowing our own trumpets – can be a daunting idea, but having a good elevator pitch is an essential tool that can help your business thrive and attract potential parents.
What is an elevator pitch?
An ‘elevator pitch’ can be defined simply as a short description of an idea, product or company that helps sum up what it does or what service it offers to its intended audience. It’s a term commonly used in marketing which describes how you would explain the purpose of your business, service, or product. In the case of early years education and childcare an elevator pitch could be used to describe the type of care you provide in a way that interests parents who may be looking for childcare and makes them want to find out more. It’s not just a valuable marketing tool but a way for you to clearly define the vision you have for your setting.
You’ve likely heard elevator pitches in everyday life. Large corporations use them in advertising and marketing as part of their brand. For example, Marks and Spencer describes itself as “the UK’s leading retailer bringing quality, great value food, clothing and homeware to millions of customers around the world”, whilst the BBC says it’s “the world’s leading public service broadcaster. We’re impartial and independent, and every day we create distinctive, world-class programmes and content which inform, educate and entertain millions of people in the UK and around the world.”
Why do I need an elevator pitch?
It depends. Lots of parents will more than likely research several potential childcare providers themselves, but it’s important that you are able to talk confidently about your business and sell yourself should they ask any questions. Having a short summary about your setting and your services is a great way to open a conversation with potential parents and may answer any questions they have.
What do the regulators say?
In England Ofsted expects providers to have a clear vision and strategy for their setting. “Leaders have a clear and ambitious vision for providing high-quality, inclusive care and education to all. This is realised through strong shared values, policies and practice” (Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted-registered provision - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
In Wales all registered childcare and play providers need to have a written Statement of Purpose in line with the regulatory requirements of Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW). “It sets out the vision for the service and your aspirations for meeting the needs of the children you care for. It should clearly demonstrate that you fully understand their needs and demonstrate how, particularly through leadership and management, staffing arrangements, activities, routine, facilities and environment, you will do your best to promote the best possible outcomes for the children.” CIW Guide to Compiling a Statement of Purpose. An elevator pitch once developed can be incorporated into the Statement of Purpose for the setting.
How do I decide what my elevator pitch is?
As we mentioned before, creating an elevator pitch can be a challenge but PACEY can help support you if you are looking to further your practice. Members have access to Business Smart which aims to help you power your practice and make the right kind of decisions that are relevant to your business. Business Smart has everything from how to write business plans to the type and level of marketing you can utilise to attract potential parents.
Developing an elevator pitch and being able to use it confidently can be a great marketing tool. Our Business Smart resources will help you on your way in formulating yours, as well as helping you think about other marketing techniques, like having a Unique Selling Point (USP) and understanding and identifying potential customers.
What do other providers have as their elevator pitches?
Recently we opened the discussion on the PACEY Facebook page, asking our members and followers ‘how would you describe your role as a childcare professional?’. We were inundated with responses, some of which we have shared below. Any of these are, in essence, an elevator pitch. Taking inspiration from fellow childcare professionals is a great way to get the ball rolling with your own.
“Professional and caring home-from-home childcare, who are dedicated to the holistic care of the children in the setting.” Jenny, childminder
“I'm a dedicated qualified professional who loves to provide a curriculum to suit each individual child depending on the children's interests, encouraging them to learn and develop giving them a good start in life.” Tara, childminder
“I offer a safe, secure, loving home environment where children are treated as individuals and as part of my own family. Children’s confidence grows, fantastic friendships are made and in feeling safe, secure and loved they are able to learn new things daily, social emotional development first everything else will follow.” Kirsten, childminder.
These are only a few examples and of course your elevator pitch will be unique to you and your setting. There is no right or wrong way to create your elevator pitch, just remember to keep it brief, to the point and honest.
For more help and support on marketing and building your business, browse the following PACEY resources