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If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don't have a clear idea.

– David Belasco

I first met the CareCoordinator team while coaching the teams who were participating in Washington University’s Olin Cup business plan competition. When I initially heard their elevator pitch, it went like this...

CareCoordinator is a service company with web-based information management software that captures homecare case information, connects family caregivers and independent case man­agers, and enables users to share information to manage on-site and long-distance homecare.

There is currently no other product that combines these features. By filling this niche, CareCoordinator will enhance communication between individual family members and service agencies so that homecare can be managed more effectively, resulting in less hardship on caregivers and improved care for older adults.

We are an aging society. Older Americans with chronic conditions are living longer. The older we get, the more likely we are to require assistance with activities of daily living (ADL’s). Over 50% of individuals age 84 or older commonly require assistance with their daily activities. Family caregivers are traditionally the ones who provide this assistance; of these, 60% are between the ages of 36 and 65 and 64% have full-time jobs.

CareCoordinator will be distributed through licenses to:

• Business HR departments and employee assistance programs. American businesses lose an estimated $20 billion each year due to lost productivity from employees who are helping a fam­ily member live at home.

• Family caregiver households. There are 14 million caregiver households in the U.S., with over 200,000 in the St. Louis met­ropolitan service area.

• Family members who provide long-distance care for relatives.

There are seven million family members who provide long-distance care to an elderly or disabled loved one. They need access to daily status information and resources so that they can take action even when they are not in the home.

• Hospitals and healthcare providers. For example, Patrick Lee, CEO of Rusk Rehabilitation Center, understands the benefits that CareCoordinator offers and wants to be among the first to utilize it for outpatients.

• Independent case managers and service agencies. There is currently little or no connection between family and profession­al caregivers in 80% of homecare cases.

• Government agencies, e.g. Mid-East or St. Louis Area Agencies on Aging.

• Non-profit organizations who provide assistance to older adults, e.g. the Alzheimer’s Association.

Families can open an account from the website for $100. Or, for the same amount they could open their account through a local care manager who will visit them, provide advice, and help them set it up or she can set it up for them if they live far away. Through the Internet, family members can access current information with professional involvement to help them make decisions, develop a plan and manage changes. We will discount the semi-annual fee to professionals, corporations, and non-profits. We have a strong team experienced in providing servic­es to older adult populations.

We need $87,000 to develop a pilot that we will present to corporations and VC to find the $6 million we need for start-up. Our goals are to average $20,000 a day in sales by our second year and serve over 100,000 customers. Our investors will receive a highly competitive ROI and participate in the selection of the people who will operate and grow the company.

If you evaluate the initial CareCoordinator elevator pitch in terms of The Nine C’s, you will see that there were a number of fundamental problems with it.

First, the initial CareCoordinator elevator pitch was not at all concise. Instead, at 506 words it was much too long. As a result, they were not able to deliver the pitch in two minutes (only the guy in the early FedEx commercials could).

What’s more, in trying to rush through their pitch, the team looked hurried and frazzled, which damaged their credibility.

Second, the initial CareCoordinator elevator pitch wasn’t as clear as it could be. While it was led off by a summary sentence, the list of seven possible target markets made it hard to figure out exactly WHO the customer was. What’s more, and worse, it made them look unfocused.

Third, instead of being conceptual, the CareCoordinator elevator pitch spent much too much time discussing the HOW of the idea and not enough time discussing exactly WHAT they were trying to do and WHY.

Finally, the initial version of the CareCoordinator elevator pitch didn’t mention who made up the team, so they never established their credibility. They never explained why they would be able to do what they wanted to do.

After getting to know the leader of the team, we came up with this revised version...

My name is Hal Oliver and my company, CareCoordinator, is developing an online management tool that helps families and caregivers coordinate homecare efforts and enables older adults to remain in their homes.

A few years ago, I owned a private pay, private duty home-care business. One problem I frequently came across during this time was adult children who were trying to care for their aging parents from a distance or while working full time. They were constantly at risk of losing their jobs because of their need to make phone calls, take unplanned leaves, and reschedule business trips in order to take care of their parents.

What adults with aging parents need is a tool that will enable them to set up and access home-care information, take advan­tage of local professional care managers, and help them make decisions, develop plans, and manage changes.

CareCoordinator’s initial target market will be large corporations with employee assistance programs.

The CareCoordinator team is experienced in providing services to older adult populations. Our team includes a professional care manager, a social worker with expertise in using Internet technology to advance social work practices, a marketing expert, and a president of an older adult education and volun­teer service organization.

CareCoordinator needs $87,000 to develop a prototype that we will present to corporations and Venture Capitalists and that will help us raise the $6 million we need to solve one of the greatest problems of the 21st century; the care and well-being of our aging population.

The revised CareCoordinator elevator pitch was much more consistent with The Nine C’s and as a result was much more effective.

First, and most obviously, the revised CareCoordinator elevator pitch was much more concise; at 249 words, it was only half as long. This meant it could be delivered at a much more measured pace, which helped the pre­senter and the team look more credible.

Second, to help establish the credibility of the team, the revised CareCoordinator elevator pitch very explicitly established the experience the team had with the problem. It turned out that the CareCoordinator had a significant amount of credibility that they never mentioned in the original version of their elevator pitch.

Finally, the revised CareCoordinator elevator pitch was more conceptual. It spent more time talking about the problem they were trying to solve and their experience dealing with it. This also helped to bolster their credibility.

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This document is copyright © 2009 Chris O'Leary and the LIMB Press LLC. It is licensed for personal use only. Any organizational or institutional use must be approved by Chris O'Leary.

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