Difference 1: Purpose
One of the primary differences between an elevator pitch and a business plan is the purpose. Business plans are intended to capture all of the key details of your business – helping ensure and illustrate that you have considered key decisions and planned out the approach for your business.
Elevator pitches on the other hand are intended to gain interest in your business. They are the very short, few-sentence introduction that can help you build a connection with others that you meet. The point is to build a connection, that may potentially be useful.
Difference 2: Areas to highlight
In part due to the very different purpose of a business plan and an elevator pitch, the areas that you want to highlight in both will be different. In your elevator pitch, you will want to convey the key parts of your business – the things that set your firm apart from others in the industry.
In comparison, your business plan will want to have a much broader scope. Rather than just including the parts that you want to highlight to someone, it should include much more details on all areas of your business – the sorts of information that give confidence that you have truly considered your approach.
Difference 3: Need to support your assumptions
A final key difference between an elevator pitch and a business plan is the extent to which you need to support your analysis. In an elevator pitch, the key is to present the possibility. In a business plan, there is more need to justify all of the components of your analysis to help convince a potentially skeptical audience (including yourself) into the validity of your analysis.
Final thoughts: Developing a business plan may help with your elevator pitch
While the purpose of a business plan and an elevator pitch may be very different, developing a business plan will likely help you pitch your business. If you have given substantial consideration to the key aspects of your business, and are able to confidently explain why you have made particular decisions, this will likely help quickly convince someone that you meet that you truly understand the setting that you are operating in.