Question: I've looked everywhere for introductions to investors, but I'm not getting anywhere. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: While the world seems to be awash in venture capital and private equity these days, it's still hard for a startup entrepreneur to get funded by the big guys without a previous track record of success. That's why the best people to tap for investor leads are often the ones with a vested interest in your company's future: your attorney, accountant, insurance agent or financial planner. Because most professional services providers build their practices through referrals, they do lots of networking. They also attend networking events and seminars. This puts them in touch with angel inves-tors, investment bankers, VCs and others whose high net worth clients may be looking for startups to invest in. Helping you find the capital you need helps them grow their practices, too. "Being in the insurance and financial services industry, I'm always looking for ways to set myself apart, build my business and add value for my clients," says Randy Rosler, a financial advisor with MetLife's Strategic Planning Group. "I do this by building relationships with other trusted advisors, such as attorneys, CPAs and bankers."
When a client comes to him for help raising startup capital, Rosler looks to his network of contacts. Says Rosler, "We all have a genuine desire to help one another."
Rosalind Resnick is founder and CEO of Axxess Business Consulting, a New York City consulting firm that advises startups and small businesses. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or through her website, abcbizhelp.com.