Want to Be A Successful Fundraiser? Follow these 6 Hacks to Attract Investors From accepting rejection to out-bidding competition, your business must follow these fundraising practices to get investor attention and hold it.
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The success of a company often rests in the hands of its investors. Experienced investors bring insight, expertise and funding to a business, while long-term investors ensure stability and sustainability. Both are the difference between a startup that will fail and a high-growth startup that disrupts markets and gains customer confidence.
Finding investors is easy. There are plenty of well-known and high-profile companies, venture capitalists, people and companies ready to put their money where the inspiration is. The problem is catching their attention. Your company must do more than present tidy figures and neat spreadsheets — it has to step up and shine.
Here are six steps your business can take today to attract experienced investors and raise funding in a crowded environment.
Related: 7 Essential Tips for an Effective Fundraising Strategy
1. Create a captivating story
Write an elevator pitch that goes beyond the fluff and fancy words. It should be weighty and detailed while also staying short and easy to digest. Don't drown the reader in figures but rather captivate them with information that makes them want to ask for more. Then, when they do, have a detailed business plan, character references and visibility into your professional track record to hand. These are the backbone of your company story and can be the difference between an investor moving to the next stage or backing out.
2. You are a commodity
You are one of the biggest and most important parts of your business. Your history, professional track record, education and business acumen are invaluable to an investor. In an interview with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Warren Buffett said: "When we own portions of outstanding businesses with outstanding managements, our favorite holding period is forever." Take stock of your worth and always use it when entering a fundraising conversation.
3. Prove your potential
Your business plan is vital, but your growth potential across metrics such as financials, market analysis, target market uptake and scalability is more vital to a potential fundraiser. Your sales data, market research and insight must be relevant and grounded in reality. No matter how fantastic your elevator pitch or personal track record may be, if you don't have the numbers on your side — or if your numbers are bolstered incorrectly — then an investor will back out of any deal.
False and misleading numbers are perhaps one of the biggest red flags for an experienced investor. Never fake the figures or make them look better than they are because investors will notice and it will only discredit your business and harm your reputation.
Related: Fundraising Vs. Bootstrapping: How To Decide What You Need For Your Tech Startup
4. Make everything easy
Even though preparing the numbers, business plan and research are anything but easy, your presentation to an investor must be easy and smooth. Make your presentations and paperwork simple to understand and easy to navigate. Don't put pressure on people to spend hours figuring out where numbers belong or why certain statistics are important.
As Mark Sacca points out, "If you're prepared to invest in a company, then you ought to be able to explain why in simple language that a fifth grader could understand, and quickly enough so the fifth grader won't get bored." Simplicity in presentation is the key to gaining investors.
5. Differentiate and disrupt
Your business will stand out if it's solving a problem that nobody has ever thought of before. It will soar off the page if it answers a question nobody realized they had been asking. Learn the intricacies of your business and how it stands apart from competitors.
You may face some competition and backlash from competitors if your service or business is disruptive in a pre-established market. But stay strong, because if your business is truly different and remarkable, then the competition will shy away when the hype has died down and the customers have stayed. Your customer base and investors are what matter.
6. Be prepared for rejection and learn from it
Rejection is normal in fundraising. You will likely be turned down more often than accepted. This can be disheartening, but it's also an opportunity to learn more about your company and the mistakes you're making in your pitches. Use these failures to create successes. This mindset will not only be incredibly useful in connecting with investors, but it will translate to how you approach challenges and obstacles in your business.
Related: 10 Blessings That Come Hidden in Rejection, Losing and Failure
Once you've ticked all these boxes and found your investors, you can use the funding to expand into new markets and strengthen your position in existing markets. You can use the funding to focus on consistent innovation that drives your business forward and attracts new customers.
An experienced investor will help you to take intelligent steps forward in business growth, and they will also appreciate any pitch that recognizes why these steps are important. Sell your story, build your brand, streamline your paperwork and be as transparent as possible to put you ahead of the pack and on the right funding path for the future.