Sometimes the greatest challenge for entrepreneurs is not running the business, gaining new customers, or keeping up with expenses, but finding investors to help them take their business to the next level. Investors not only provide access to capital (i.e., money – everybody’s cash is green), but also to connections to potential customers, new suppliers, and often great advice on how to grow the business.
As an entrepreneur seeking funding, you need to get in front of investors, but how? One sure fire way of not getting attention is to blindly submit a business plan to a venture capital firm’s website. Those tend to be a bottomless pit. Plus, you may risk having your idea high-jacked because you didn’t have a Confidentiality Agreement in place.
Highlighted below are key ways to attract the right investor for your business:
1) Network. Network. Network. If you are not out there talking to people, you will never get introduced to an investor that has an interest in your business. “The entrepreneurs who have the most success are those who are relentless in their pursuit of pitching their business while managing it at the same time. They have built an incredible network,” noted a venture capitalist in Chicago.
2) Digital Marketing. This is not just your traditional LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook account, but also setting up your profile on Crunch Base, Built in Chicago, or Manta. Use these profiles to your advantage to showcase your company and find ways to connect with investors.
3) Digital Access. This is different than digital marketing, but using the Internet to post your opportunity on QUALITY deal flow sites such as The Deal League. Many proprietary and brokered opportunities are submitted on this site where investors search for early stage, growth
capital and middle market deal flow.
4) Investor Forums/Communities. The startup community in your area may have opportunities to present to investors like Chicago’s 1871, VentureSHOT, or Illinois Launch. Keep yourself in the loop for social events on the calendar and make sure to attend. You never know when you will find your key investor.
5) Angel Investor Groups. Locate who is in charge of the angel investor group in your area like Hyde Park Angels or Heartland Angels in Chicago. You may have to apply to be able to present to certain angel investor groups, but this will give you an opportunity to network with them.
As you go through this process, be focused, stay positive, and keep your head up. It takes hard work and perseverance to stomach the funding process.