The thought of approaching a professional investor with access to millions makes you sweat, but if you’re like many startups, you need money to get your new business off the ground. What is it that makes investors reach for their wallets?
Businesses who bring in money do several things right. Here are key points you want to present to any potential partner.
1. Do Extensive Research
A lot of entrepreneurs skip this step as they develop their product or service. But market research is crucial and it needs to cover each angle.
Start with your industry. Look at how new developments in tech affect your field and be an advantage. Make note of trends and patterns, what aspects are in decline and where the market may expand. Approach customers and ask them how they use the product or service and take notes.
Next, tackle demand. What do customers in your area of expertise want? Real estate firms may see a need for more rental properties. If you have a chain of gyms, ask your members what products or services they wish you had.
The creators of Instacart are a great example. They studied the food industry and saw the move towards deliverables. They put together a plan to expand delivery service to groceries. Today their industry is worth 2 billion USD. The company saw a demand and responded, which makes them a big draw to investors.
2. Write a Stand-out Business Plan
A business plan is your future company on paper. It lets investors see the results of all your research, understand what problem you want to solve and shows how you differ from your competition.
A good plan includes:
- A one to two-page executive summary, (an overview of your plan’s key components)
- Your research presented as proof of demand and market
- Financial data and how much money you need
- A description of your perfect customer
- A write up of any staff or team members
- Past accomplishments and future goals
Walk the line between enthusiasm and hyperbole. Use plain, straightforward language and be sure to edit several times. Ask a professional writer to look at it, make sure it reads well and seek any minor mistakes.
Your complete and polished presentation will help you stand out and make the right people pay attention.
3. Develop a strong Marketing Strategy
Break down your marketing for anyone who wants to buy into your business. It’s essential to be specific and have a breakdown of your numbers.
Take the college magazine as an example. Here is what an interested investor is waiting for:
“We ran a quick poll on Facebook and got a big response from readers aged 17 to 19.
We tested keywords in tandem with Pay-Per-Click, (PPC), on Google. A new reader costs us $4.50 and generates $30 dollars in profit.”
You know the audience, you can build the audience and be in the black. You are the expert of your project – show it.
4. Have a Working Model
Ideas alone are rarely enough. It’s those who have a working model that get the money. Show that your idea has traction and you are much more likely to get that deposit in your account.
A working model is your service or product offered on a small scale. For example:
Product: An online subscription magazine for students on surviving college
Working Model: A blog with over 1,000 subscribers and a substantial social media following
When investors see the success in your model they will see you as an asset.
5. Answer the Question: Why You?
Never forget that you are the true product, so make investors understand why you, not the competition are the real investment.
Put your best traits, biggest accomplishments, past success in the foreground. If you have a mentor, classes to help you continue your education or any seminars scheduled, bring those up as well.
The best trait about you is that you have more than an idea, you have your drive and your vision to back you up. Show investors you bet on yourself and that will help bring them around to do the same.