Tips on Connecting With High-Profile Investors
“How do I go about meeting influential investors and get them to fund my start up?” this is the burning question on every entrepreneurs mind. And the answer isn’t all that simple!
There are all kinds of people out there looking for successful entrepreneurial ventures to invest in. These include angel investors, venture capitalists etc.
Here are some tips to help you connect with these mavericks. Granted that everything in here has already been covered in a Networking 101 class and there aren’t any new, ground breaking ideas. But since these work every time, it would be good to keep them in mind when looking for funds.
Get Straight to Point
These people are busy. And the one thing investors don’t have plenty of, is time! So don’t go into long and lengthy stories about how amazing a business person you are! Don’t ask about their kids, don’t make small talk. Just get to the damn point and quickly! They will appreciate it.
Sometimes it just so happens that you approach a potential investor with your story only to be rejected. Don’t take the rejection to your heart. When they tell you that your idea sucks, listen to the underlying complains and issues they have with it. Listen to their feedback, take down notes and respectfully ask for their contact information. Once you understand what makes your business a potential dud for them, work on fixing the problems. Or come up with a new idea incorporating the tips they gave and let them know that you listened.
Make Friends with Their Friends
Attending industry workshops, seminars and parties should be part of your repertoire for many reasons. You may get to meet people who can help you realize your goals in the long-run. This is important because investors are more likely to trust you when their friends are making the introduction than if you just walk up to them with your well-practiced pitch. LinkedIn and Facebook is also a great place to find highly connected people who can help promote your idea if they think the world of it.
Fear Is Your Worst Enemy
If you want to say, go ahead and say it. Shake hands with them and continue with business talk if it is appropriate to the circumstances. And don’t think that only the famous, go-getter sort can help you. If they are smart, have a great idea and seem to doing well with their entrepreneurial venture, go ahead and make friends with them. This will make it easier to ask them for money once they are rich and famous. Networking has to become a way of life for you if you really want to succeed at finding someone willing to invest in your ideas.
Please Don’t Be Annoying
Nobody trusts a flatterer with their money. So even if you are just saying hi, get to the point and if you want something from them, ask for it. But once you have figured out that someone isn’t interested, it is time to let go. Don’t beg, grovel or cry for their time. Even for projects and ideas that they like, many investors only give 2 to 3 minutes for pitching and then it’s bye-bye time.
Do Your Homework
You want them to give you their hard-earned cash. And this won’t happen easily. You need to read everything ever written about your target investor or by them. Find out what he is passionate about so you can tweak your pitch accordingly. Also, let them know what they will be getting out of investing in your idea, before asking them to fulfill your requirements. Look for them on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Linked In before blindly jumping them. It sounds like stalking, and probably is.
Be One with the Play
Just a really fancy way of saying, get out of your home or office and go out to where are the interesting people hang out. We are saying tech conferences, seminars, or the cool coffee houses where they presumably come to do their deals.
But More Importantly…
You will need to work on yourself before everything else. Develop an honest, friendly decent personality, the kind irresistible to investors and you will be well on your way to finding one for our project.
Do not have any hidden agendas. This means, become the sort of person who does what he says and says what he does, all the time, every time. If you don’t want to help other people, you will find others unwilling to help you as well. So learn to facilitate others in their life’s quest and pay it forward when someone helps you out.
Take the Initiative
VCs and angel groups rarely invest in an idea that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted out. Before going out looking for investors, straighten up the home front. Differentiate your business from others by working on your product, its traction and sales, and lastly getting a patent. Also realize that it is important to have a reliable team to get everything done. Once you approach the investors with a product that is already earning well, you will have them interested in your idea like never before.
So instead of wastefully running after every potential investor on the street, take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Spend 2 to 3 years creating the niche that will separate you from other entrepreneurs. You should set it up so that the investors can’t help but notice you and your ideas.