Immovable Feats

Prepare For The Online Meeting

Meeting Of The Minds

Let investors hunt for you. "Pennies From Heaven" will let you know how to get your company out of the dark and into the funding limelight.

You wake up one morning, hop online, and boom! An investor has requested a meeting. Before you call your friends to tell them you've found financing, sit down and breathe. Your work has just begun. Some investors want to communicate online and explore your idea further before meeting in person. For instance, at Theelevator.com, you'll chat online before an actual meeting occurs. But once you've established that your plan meets the investor's criteria, it's time to sell yourself face to face. (You didn't really think you could do the entire deal in your pajamas, did you?) In preparing for your meeting, remember: Most investors think the person behind the deal is just as important as the business itself.

Take along any paperwork that pertains to the deal (business plan, proposal, projections), but also be mentally prepared. Remember that this person is considering investing a lot of money in your business, and it's your job to assuage their fears. You must know your business cold, and be prepared to answer some tough questions, such as: "What did you base your five-year forecast on?" or "What makes you think you can make this business a success?"

Top Five Ways Not To Get Money

1.Having no cash of your own to invest. Investors want to know you're willing to take some risk, too. You'll need the cash it will take to travel and meet with investors, do the the research, make prototypes and so on.

2.Asking for too much money. Know the worth of your business before you approach investors, and if someone offers you a lower figure, take it. You've overvalued your idea.

3.Not being prepared. There's no better way to get turned down than to arrive at a meeting with half-assed proposals and bits of that morning's breakfast on your suit.

4.Not being selective about who you approach. You don't want to be the person who asks everybody for money. (Believe me, these people talk to each other.)

5.Not being confident about who you are and why your business will work. Investors are approached by hundreds of entrepreneurs. Make yourself stand out by believing in yourself and your plan.

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This article was originally published in the July 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Immovable Feats.

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