DENVER —** Imagine you're sharing an elevator with three prominent business leaders. Your business is small but promising, and maybe, if they're interested, they could help you take it to new heights.
How can you pique their interest before they reach their floor?
Hundreds of local business leaders received advice and insight from Broncos employees and former players at the Winning at Business Broncos Business Huddle. (Photos by Taryn Parker)
That was the challenge Thursday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High during the inaugural Winning at Business Broncos Business Huddle.
But the reward was more than just a ticket package to a future game. The true value in the experience was that whether the challengers won or lost, everyone got experience pitching to three experienced leaders: Mac Freeman, Chief Commercial Officer of the Denver Broncos; Pete Casillas, president and publisher of the Denver Business Journal; and Charles Kemp, account manager for Google.
Each competitor, brought into the elevator one at a time, was given 30 seconds to make their pitch.
Laura Thornton, a community relations specialist at a local plumbing company, prepared for the opportunity by giving her pitch to whomever she could at her home.
"[I practiced by] talking to myself a lot, talking to my husband and my children and kind of practicing with them on what an elevator pitch is and how that worked," Thornton said. "And really I just told our story. That's what it was about."
Michael Thompson, an employee at iQmetrix, was the first in line and found out how difficult the time limit was.
"It really goes quick," Thompson said. "You have to explain who you are, what company you work for and what do you do in a very limited time. So it's very hard to do. Again, by doing that, [by] perfect[ing] an elevator pitch, you [can] get that next conversation with whoever you're doing business with."
The business conference was much more than just the elevator pitch contest, though. It also featured booths from the event's sponsors — CenturyLink, Ceridian, Madwire and the Denver Business Journal — offering networking opportunities with other business leaders outside of the Broncos organization. There was also a photo set to provide professional headshots for visitors, and Ring of Fame safety Steve Atwater was available for a meet-and-greet and photos.
Fellow Ring of Famer Rod Smith provided the keynote speech, and his former teammate Ed McCaffrey hosted.
"For business people in different avenues, you can have a home-based business and come here and get some nuggets on how you can expand your business, grow your business, be able to scale your business and even be able to cut back," Smith said. "To me, it's always great to get around successful, like-minded people because you're always going to learn something. And even though I'm a speaker, I'm here to learn. That's what I take from all these types of events."
Smith's speech revolved around customer service and focused on three goals: how to increase number of customers, how to increase the amount of sales per customer and how to retain customers, both in the digital sales realm and in physical stores.
"I think if it will be very valuable for at least one person, then I think I did my job," Smith said.
After Smith's speech, attendees split up for breakout sessions with executive staff members, directors and analysts from the Broncos.
"This was an opportunity for us to share the talent that we have on our staff," Freeman said. "That's one of the things we're most proud about is the quality of the individuals and the skill sets and the varied skill sets and experiences of all our staff. And I think what we've put together today really gives us a case to give people access to finance, to HR, to marketing, to sponsorship, to business pitches. We're able to share the quality people we have and hopefully provide some guidance, some mentorship, some advice for these people trying to grow their businesses."