We’ve all seen shows like the BBC’s Dragons’ Den or ET Now’s Super Angels, where start-ups and small businesses pitch and battle it out for attracting investors or venture capitalists.
True, not every business looking for investors needs to enter a TV show, but these businesses sure need to battle it out! Attracting investors in an increasingly competitive sector is no mean feat. It takes a lot of preparation, practice, and grit.
As a small business, you need financial support and maybe even a mentor in order to grow and achieve business goals. You may have already had a good start, but an investor acts like a catalyst that pumps in new vigor and of course, the much-needed funds in your business’ journey especially during the initial stages. These are a few things to keep in mind if you want to attract investors.
Know your business inside out Before approaching an investor even in a casual networking or relationship building meeting, know your own business inside out. Have the answer to every imaginable question about your entrepreneurial venture, whether it relates to the past, present or future plans. Have some impressive and easy to remember statistics about your growth in hand.
Believe in yourself – it is that simple! If you don’t believe in yourself and your own business, why would anyone else? In order to attract venture capitalists and angel investors, you first need to be confident about your own business and its future. This comes with a thorough understanding of what your business can offer, why it’s relevant and how well it can progress! Again – know your business inside out.
Create a buzz A sure-fire way of gaining more attention from investors and venture capitalists is to create a buzz! Thankfully, raising awareness about your small business is much easier and more budget-friendly than it used to be.
Try to create a unique social media brand for your business by getting creative online. Leverage the most popular platforms such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook; they offer a great deal for small businesses. Make sure you have a clean and simple website, but do integrate a blog, so that you can comment on the latest in the industry and position yourself as a thought leader. Apart from creating a buzz through online channels, another cost-effective way to raise your business profile would be through some serious networking. Meet more people and get those business cards circulating right away!
Practice Pitching is an art! It comes with loads of practice, paying attention to your body language, knowing your audience, and never missing out on details. A concise pitch can make or break a deal between you and a potential investor. For more tips of pitching, check out Intuit India’s Vice President and Managing Director Nikhil Arora’s post – The Art of Pitching for Small Business Owners.
Research! Before you approach investors in a networking event or in an exclusive meeting, look at the sort of investment portfolio that the venture capitalist already has. This should give you an idea about how you should position your pitch and what you can bring on board. Also try to gauge what this investor’s underlying reason to invest is. You can mostly categorize the reasons as – for publicity, for serious profits or for giving back to the community.
Be attractive In order to attract investors to your business, you need to make sure your venture is as attractive as possible! Right from the start, be very clear about the kind of advantage you offer the investor – is your business profitable, expandable and safe? Realistic Numbers Always, always, project the most realistic growth figures while interacting with potential investors and venture capitalists. If there are large gaping holes in your numbers, it is sure to put off an investor!