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Starting a Business

How should I ask friends and family to invest in my startup without making things awkward?

I need about $15,000 to start my business. I'd like to raise some money by asking my friends and family, but I don't want them to feel obligated or uncomfortable. Any suggestions on how to ask? Do I send letters, make phone calls, or meet people in person?
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
First, prepare. Figure out what you will spend the money on and the repayment details. Once you have it all figured out, create a workable and detailed plan. Now you are ready to present this wonderful investment opportunity to your friends and relatives.

Phase 1--Send a blind email (Subject: Investment Opportunity or Investors Wanted) so that no one sees who else is on your "hit" list. Outline your plan. Do not ask directly for the money. Ask for investors. Invite questions, comments, and feedback. See if you get any bites.

Phase 2 - Directly (face-to-face) discuss your plan with anyone who demonstrates interest.

Phase 3 - Periodically, follow up with an email or letter. Keep your potential investors informed. If, however, you want the money more than you want to avoid making things awkward, ask (by phone or in person) for feedback.

Best,
Elinor Robin, Ph.D.