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What are the key ingredients to attracting and securing capital investors to your business?

I'm moving into a space where our business is seriously considering raising extra capital to finance further expansion. We've experienced great growth after our first first years operating and are ready to take it to the next level. What advice do you have on nailing the presentation 100 percent? There may not be a second chance to secure parties we've identified as potential investors. Should we include information about the company, directors and business plan? What questions should we ask the investor? After all, our company needs to be content with what the investors bring to the table; it's not just about cash, or is it? What questions should we be asking ourselves to provide the right direction for the process?
Tim Berry answered March 29, 2008
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/221358
Good question. Reads like you're already well informed. It might also be good to browse the AsktheVC blog and TheFunded.com. TheFunded is a database of investor reviews by founders. And I'd like to think the "Getting Financed" chapter of my free online book Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning" will also help. And congratulations, you're already on the right track about realizing that you need to have compatible investors. I did a blog post a while ago on my Planning Startups Stories blog called Choose an Investor Like You Would a Spouse, which is relevant.

Every situation is different, so you won't get a useful list of questions. But what investors want to see is how you are going to make them money. One of the easiest places to slip up is forgetting that investors don't win just because your company grows or is successful; you also have to orchestrate an exit strategy so they get money returned on investment. They want to turn your company over, not stay with you forever. Different investors have different priorities, so make sure you do your homework about the specific investors you talk to. Most of them have websites indicating some of their opinions and preferences.

If I had to summarize, meaning guess, I'd say that the management team, its experience and track record, is extremely important. Investors reduce risk by betting with people who have been there before. And then the obvious: differentiation, growth prospects, valuation and everything that makes the investors money.

Best of luck to you.
Tim
Tim Berry is the chairman of Eugene, Ore.-Palo Alto Software, which produces business-planning software. He founded Bplans.com and wrote The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press. Berry is also a co-founder of HavePresence.com, a leader in a local angel-investment group and a judge of international business-plan competitions.