By Jennifer Covello
I’m sure if a seasoned PR person is reading this, they are likely screaming “NO!” at my very bold title. Everyone knows you must have an elevator speech if you are a small business owner. You need to have a quick way to tell people what you do at networking events, conferences, or press interviews.
This is a true statement but…
How many of us have been to endless networking events where we hear something like this:
“My business is about helping people discover their passions and live a healthy, happy life so they can be empowered to make positive changes for themselves and others.”
Huh? So what is it that this person actually does? Are they a weight-loss coach? Are they a life-coach? Are they a web designer? (Ok, not likely a web designer, but you get my point.)
Why is it that when we describe our business we have to come up with this fancy schmancy description of what we do? Why can’t we just tell it like it is? I think I know why.
It may be because you think people won’t accept what you do as important, so you need to make it sound like it is important. The other reason is, you really don’t know what you do, so you describe everything you do in the hopes that the potential customer will figure it out (and simultaneously, help you figure it out too).
Think about the last event you attended. Think about how other women business owners described their business. Did you have to ask them a dozen follow up questions to figure it out or did you get it the first time around?
I can remember oodles of events that I attended where I wasn’t sure if someone was trying to help me lose weight or buy their jewelry line. The result? I walked away confused and more importantly, they didn’t get my business. I figured if they don’t know what line of business they were in, how can they help me?
You may have dozens of business cards in your possession that will back up my statement. How many of these little guys say things like “Life Coach. Jewelry Consultant. Divorce Mediator”? Well, which one are you? And why are you making me work so hard to figure it out?
There’s nothing wrong with having multiple passions, but not all of them are your business. If you are a life coach, but you also sell jewelry, great. There’s no need to put both on a business card and there’s no need to tell people about all of your passions in three minutes or less. Know your customer and describe the one thing you do that will help them in that moment.
You may think you are telling people about all the cool things you do, but in reality, you are confusing them and they will have no faith in anything you are doing. Do I really want to work with someone who isn’t sure if she’s a life coach or a jewelry designer? If they can’t figure out who they are and what their business is, how will they help me figure it out?
So what’s a multi-talented mompreneur to do? Simple.
1. Know your product or service and talk about it like you do.
If you sell hand-made jewelry, say so. If you are a social media expert, declare it. Don’t surround your business description with a bunch of words that mean nothing. People don’t have time to figure stuff out anymore. We live in a Twitter world and people are busy (or lazy and need things spelled out for them, but that’s a post for another time). Don’t make people work too hard to learn how you can help them. Just tell them.
2. Stop making what you do sound like you’re curing cancer.
Now before you get your feelings hurt and think I’ve insulted you, I know what you do is important to you, but let’s face it. Unless you truly do have a cure for cancer or can solve the education problems in the U.S, you need to tone it down a bit. Tell people what you do and how you’ve helped others, but don’t exaggerate. You’ll come across as fake and you will lose credibility before the words “awaken people’s passions” come out of your mouth.
3. If you don’t believe in you, no one else will either.
We can all spot an insecure person a mile away. They stumble over their words. They make little eye contact. If you want my business, you’re going to have to make me believe in you and trust you. I’m not going to invest my hard-earned money in someone who can’t articulate what they do with confidence.
Let’s face it. People are busy and they need your help. Did you hear me? People need your help, your gifts, and your talents. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have been blessed with them. Think about it. If you have a passion for making jewelry and this is your business, then speak up! “I make hand-crafted jewelry with precious stones for any occasion.” “I help people overcome their fear of flying.” “I help women understand baseball so they enjoy the game with their family.” (Ok – I know this last one is a bit silly but I just know this is a great business idea for someone, so consider this a freebie!)
In the end, it’s really about knowing who you are and valuing what you do. It’s not about trying to impress other people with all of your talents and skills. It’s not about defending who you are and why you do it. It’s about sharing your gifts with the world to help make people’s lives better.
And isn’t that why you started your business in the first place?
Jennifer Covello is The Purposeful Parent, an award-winning author, blogger, motivational speaker, and creator of Frittabello baby gifts. With her unique perspective on parenting coupled with her sense of humor and vast experience, Jennifer is able to relate to a variety of working women and the daily challenges they face like “SuperMom Syndrome”.
Jennifer has been featured on both radio and TV programs for her insights about her journey from corporate “cubicle dweller” to “mompreneur” and back again. She provides inspiration for all parents to help them succeed at the most important job they will ever have.
Jennifer is a native of Long Island, New York and had a corporate career in IT and Marketing. She holds a B.S. degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in Marketing Management from Pace University, New York.
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