The Best Elevator Pitch of Your Life #Sales #Selling #Entrepreneur #Entrepreneurship #Fintech

 

The elevator pitch seems to be one of those areas that everyone is an expert but no one has perfected it yet. There is all kind of advice out there on how to create your pitch. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to be able to explain your business in a short amount of time, like when you are in an elevator. I did this once years ago and I didn’t even know it was a thing. I got on to an elevator with a person that I noticed was from a prospective client’s company and told her what I did. She said it sounded interesting and for me to give her a call. She didn’t have a card but I remembered her name and called her a few days later. I got voice mail for about two months in a row until the mail box got rerouted to another person because she had left the company. I guess I didn’t do my pitch in the elevator right.

Anyway

The topic came up in my UNCC Entrepreneurship class last month. This semester I decided to do the topic of “elevator pitch” a little differently. Last semester I had each student stand up in front of the class and pitch. I found that a few of the students were so terrified of the prospect of speaking in front of the class that they were losing sleep. The purpose of my class is to study entrepreneurship and not necessarily become one, although I would highly recommend it. So to make a short story much longer I decided to have my students write out their pitch by using a framework versus a script.

Script?

I can’t really tell if I have a thing against scripts or I have developed a business strategy against scripts, but when it comes to elevator pitches one size does not fit all. Sure there are things that you can use in every pitch but the outcome is you need a more agile approach to create the best response. That’s where I developed the framework.

Framework

There are five parts to the framework:

  1. Your name and your company – This has to be quick and a matter of a fact.
  2. What you are known for – This is best put from someone else’s perspective – like a customer.
  3. How you execute – Really Really Really brief. Most people who pitch spend way too much time on this part because it is interesting to the pitcher.
  4. Why you exist – You can read some previous post of “why” or “knowing your why”… Explaining why you do what you do is something that people pitching leave out, but the “why” is the reason people will buy from you.
  5. Call to action – If your pitch doesn’t end with a person reacting to your message you have missed the point.

Stay away from:

  • Leaving your pitch to chance– you have to be prepared and you have to practice
  • Use jargon or trade talk that only you know – get out of your world in tothe person you are pitching to world.
  • Tell them why you like it or why you are sold on it – remember it’s the customer’s world you are trying to enter.
  • Being pushy or manipulative. Those days are over.

Example

I wanted to give you the pitch that I use that gets responses. The number represents each point of the framework. Note that I have four different calls to action depending on who I am pitching to.

My name is (1) Chris Elmore I started a company called AvidXchange. (2) AvidXchange is an accounts payable and payment automator which means we develop software that (3) sits on the front and the back of a company’s accounting system. Our software and services will digitize paper invoice coming into the accounting system and payments leaving the accounting system. The visible outcome of our offering is a paperless accounting process.

We (4) do what we do to help companies use their accounting talent in more meaningful ways because there is no more dealing with paper, data entry or filing. The most interesting aspect of our software and services is that we are able to help companies make payments thought a credit card network which creates rebates and typically eliminate all software fees.

If (5) you are looking for work we are a growing company

If you are looking to invest we have a proven track record

If you have paper in your accounting system we can help

If you want to make electronic payments and earn rebates we are the best in the world

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that startedAvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact usfor more information.

Purchase Orders and AP Automation

argument

Ah the purchase order and the automated invoice. I have been wanting to write about this delicate little dance for so long, and today it my day. The picture denotes a two-party stand-off which if you automate Accounts Payable and purchase orders separately then you will have the same outcome.

I Only Write What I Know

One of the very difficult things about Automating Accounts Payable are assumptions and theories. Both can get you in big trouble in business, and when approaching automation both show themselves on a consistent basis. Assumptions when automating (I am writing about negative assumptions) generally shows up in the vetting process or the initial process of finding an automator. The chief assumption that hurts the most is that the automated process is just like the paper process without paper. It’s not true (and it also another article at another time – unfortunately I don’t have space to write why, but I did write a book about it – The 8 Pitfalls).

Theory, on the other hand seems to impact the PO and Invoice matching process to the point to killing it. First, what I mean by theory is the idea that a process or procedure “should” work a particular way, but the person driving the decision doesn’t have any experience on that process or procedure. Experience is the key. When companies go from paper to an automated Accounts Payable process there is generally no experience with automation. Some organizations try to hedge their inexperience by hiring a consultant or an adding to their team, but that person or group doesn’t have experience with your organization (you need both).

There Is A Light

That’s right, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not an oncoming train. It’s a little practical advice. I have a lot as it pertains to AP Automation and a purchase order process…. lets call them nuggets:

Nugget Number 1 – Make sure both PO and Invoice is automated
Nugget Number 2 – Beware of line item matching
Nugget Number 3 – Three-way matching (PO – Receive – Invoice) is best done in the accounting system

When you automate AP and you don’t have a paperless PO system there is no way you will be able to report and match the PO to the invoice to make sure that it was bill correctly.

Second, beware of line item matching. There is a consistent school of thought that when the PO is created and the invoice shows up the automation service provider will explain that it is a simple match to make sure what was ordered was billed (on the invoice). The problem is the two have to be on the correct line (same place on the PO as the Invoice) and the information has to be exact to enable the software to judge if the invoice is correct based on the PO. There is way too much room for error. Make sure you anticipate this in your vetting process.

Third. I could write a lot about this… but a short piece of advice is to not let your three-way match process out of the accounting system. Find a service provider that will work with your accounting system to get the electronic invoice into the correct section of your accounting system. You don’t want to create a process that exist in two different software platforms.

I hope these were nuggets of goal… more great articles next week!

You Should Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

The Purchase Order Process and Control Freaks 2

contorlfreak2

 

I hope you like the picture above and it doesn’t remind you of your high school boyfriend of girlfriend. Take a look back at my previous post on purchase orders (PO) preventing maverick purchasing, it can give context to what I am writing about today which is the second thing that a PO process is helpful.

A Little Background First

I often talk about the two reason I am writing about. Yesterday I wrote about using PO’s to stop maverick purchasing. Today I am going to write about controlling the order before it becomes an order. The background is; out of the two camps nine times out of ten the company I am working with is more interesting in controlling the purchase before it becomes an expense rather than doing away with maverick purchasing.

Why You Ask?

Well, I don’t really know (this is the hard-hitting writing you come to expect from me). It seems like doing both would be the best approach. however, on these issues companies seem to pick and choose their battles and maverick purchasing is the one they opt out of.

Here Is What It All Means

Ah, the meaning of life… well life as it pertains to PO’s controlling the expense before it becomes an expense. The biggest impact a purchase order process can have is an approval process attach to the request. The steps start when a purchaser wants to buy something. They list out what they want and gets the order approved before it is sent to the vendor. This process has many advantages:

        • The company controls the expense before it is committed
        • Budgets are proactively managed
        • The purchaser has a record of prior approval
        • The invoice does not have to be re-approved (if everything matches)

So What’s The Catch

From a business, manager, process owners perspective, all of the things listed above look great. The idea is if you put a PO process in place that life would be good and the process would run the purchasing business and you would rarely have to look at it… not really tomorrow I am going to write about matching the invoices and the PO and automating the entire process… stay tuned!

You Should Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

The Purchase Order Process and Control Freaks

controlfreaks

People that work closely with me know that I have a few standard lines that I use a lot. One of my favorites is if my wife ever leaves me I am going with her. That is both a treat and a promise all at the same time. Another line that is more appropriate to this article is that I am a technologist that serves accountants, so naturally I am the most paranoid person on the planet. Well I gave that line to someone as they were looking into Accounts Payable Automation and she said… “try being a controller at a police department”. She got me there.

Control?

In what I like to call the “unreal world” which is the world outside of accounting, the use of “control freak” is used in a negative context. In the accounting world being a control freak is a badge of honor, it’s a profession and for the most part being a control freak is the reason for employment.

What Does This Have To Do With Purchase Orders?

Thanks for asking, in corporate america, expense control is an extremely important strategy. Notice that I wrote “strategy”. Expense is not a technique or process it is much more. Expense control can serve to prevent fraud or (even better) can save the company’s cash, which I heard a CEO refer to cash as oxygen.

Expense control is a great reason for using a purchase order process. The control however comes from solving a common problem within the purchasing world… maverick purchasing.

mavrick
The Maverick Purchaser

I don’t know if Tom Cruise was a maverick purchaser… oh yea… a definition. Maverick purchasing is when different parts of the business buy the same product or service from different providers at different prices.  The opposite of maverick purchasing is a single consolidated pricing for everything bought and used through one of a few vendors. Consolidating between one or a few vendors allows the organization the ability to capture their internal buying power.

What Does This Have To Do With PO’s?

Great question! The purchase order process is perfect to mandate which vendors are to be used for certain products. A company can set up lists or catalogues that will tell people where to buy what they need. This works best if the purchase order process is non-paper. Most accounting system have a purchase order process that even helps create the invoices (more to come on this later). Through the process the company can report on exactly what their purchasing power is for certain products and services.

Tomorrow I am going write about the second control that purchase order are perfect for. Stay turned!

You Should Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

Purchase Order History

history

My experience with purchase orders (PO) have been an interesting one. There are some companies that use them to their design, and that design is an integral part of their organization. There are others that think they need a purchase order process when they don’t and others that use a purchase order process that wish they didn’t.

A Little Background

If you are a frequent reader you will know that most of my experience is with middle market companies. With middle market companies questions and misuse of the purchase order seems to be higher than in larger companies. I believe that this is because of a lack of centralized purchasing or a dedicated procurement department in mid to small companies.

Here Is What I Know

Purchase orders have been around a long time. Traditionally purchase orders have been a great way of tracking outstanding expense for the accrual process. PO’s have also served as a way to  calculate cost of goods manufactured and sold.

Outside of those reasons, I have found two very broad reasons to implement a purchase order process.

      1. Dictating Purchases
      2. Pre-Approval

As I wrote these are two very broad reasons to implement a purchase order process. Purchase orders do a  good job of controlling what people buy and when those purchases happen.

The Next Few Days

Over the next few days, I am going to write about each of the above reason for a purchase order process, but the point (you are welcome) is going to culminate in these two reasons being the key to Accounts Payable Automation. Stay tuned!

You Should Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

Lets Talk Purchase Orders and AP Automation

letstalk

I ask Siri everything…. what my schedule is, if I have any texts (my 4-year-old daughter calls it test) or emails. Siri is also my personal assistant when I need to call someone or create an appointment or a reminder.  She is happy to do anything I ask… like where to bury a dead body (ask her – she will tell you).

Here is what I did:

This week I am starting a new series on purchase orders and Accounts Payable (AP) Automation. Naturally, I went to Siri to see what advice she had.

I asked:

“What do you know about purchase orders?” Siri said, “I know?” So I asked again, “What do you know about purchase orders?” She said, “Here is what I found on the web”. A purchase order (PO) is a commercial document and first official offer issued by a buyer to a seller, indicating types, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller will provide to the buyer”

Thanks Siri!

She came through again… it took her a few tries but came through with a good definition. However this week I am going to go beyond wordy definitions. This week I am going to write about:

      • Purchase Order History
      • Reason 1 – Procurement
      • Reason 2 – Control
      • PO and AP Automation

One Last Thing – JOKE

When my son was very young when he would say something that he thought was funny he would announce, “JOKE”!

Here is a story. An invoice walks in a bar and is mad… very mad… kicking tables, cursing, stomping around the bar… the bartender asked, “why are you so mad?” The invoice said, “I’m not mad, I am just P-Oed” JOKE!

You Should Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy