Secure Your Funding — How Small Business Owners Can Level Up Their Negotiation Tactics With Venture Capitalists Even if your business is very small or you're new to the business world, you don't need to be intimidated when working with venture capitalists.

By Avi Weisfogel

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right venture capital opportunities
  • Options for venture capital you should consider
  • Focus on post-investment processes
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When small business owners are looking to secure investment from venture capitalists (VCs), they have to understand the accurate valuation of their business before they enter into negotiations. Otherwise, they end up asking for too much, and investors won't buy in, or they give away too much as a concession for getting financial backing. You don't need to let either of those unfortunate scenarios happen to you.

Instead of guessing and hoping, you must be prepared to negotiate based on honest and accurate information. Even if your business is very small or you're new to the business world, you don't need to be intimidated when working with venture capitalists. Understanding your company's strengths and knowing how to address its weaknesses can take you a long way toward success.

Choosing the right venture capital opportunities

One important negotiating tip is to make sure you're choosing negotiations with the right people. In other words, be selective about your opportunities. You don't want to send a mass email to many VCs, hoping someone will take interest. If you do that and get replies, it could be that they're trying to take advantage and think that you're desperate. Instead, target only a handful of venture capitalists who are a good fit for your needs and have helped companies like yours before.

Study your options for venture capital and the people who typically support businesses like yours. Look for VCs who work within your industry or who are focused on helping small businesses that are similar in size to what you have. When you find the right people, negotiating with them becomes much easier because you understand one another and have more common interests and goals. Then, you can both see the value of working with one another.

Related: 8 Key Factors VCs Consider When Evaluating Startup Opportunities

Options for venture capital you should consider

It's essential to consider more than one option or offer if you can. It's not just the VCs you work with that matters, but also what they give you. Getting additional money to grow your business is essential, but there are other aspects of business development. There are many different ways that a venture capitalist could bring further and ongoing value to your company.

If there are other areas where your business needs support, don't be afraid to ask. Some VCs may have connections, offer mentorship or provide additional value beyond cash. Consider these options and if they can help your business succeed. If they're better than an influx of money only, they might be suitable for your needs. Ideally, you can get cash and other perks, but that depends on the person you're working with and what they're willing to offer.

Focus on post-investment processes

Before making any deal for venture capital, make sure you're clear on the decision-making processes that will occur post-investment and what level of control you'll retain. In other words, you only want to agree to work with a VC that will buy your business out and take it over if that's what you're specifically looking for. Getting your questions answered in this area is extremely important.

You should negotiate this area carefully because too many small business owners get caught up in the idea of earning money to help their business, and they agree to conditions that only benefit them in the short run. Some need to read the contract carefully, or they aren't willing to ask for more because they fear losing what's offered. That is your business, so make sure you know what trade-offs you're agreeing to.

Remember that value-add is part of the equation

While the financial backing venture capitalists can bring is highly important, there is a value-added beyond that capital. Working with the right venture capitalists brings you additional opportunities that could be even more significant than the money they'll invest. When negotiating with a VC, ensure you know what matters to you and why your business is worth investing in. That can help you get a "yes" from the right investor.

Avi Weisfogel

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Freedom Dental Partners

Avi Weisfogel is a former dentist turned healthcare entrepreneur who now spends his time helping those in clinical practice navigate toward dental freedom.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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