Thomasina R. Legend
Independent businesses often overlook the fact that they would most likely need to raise capital if they are going to scale up quickly. Many businesses scout for investors to inject the 'know-how' and funds required to build their brand, from marketing to expansion. You will only attract quality investors if you create or produce a product/service that has the potential to grow, which can be an enticing opportunity for investors. Here are a few pointers to consider on how to get your business/brand investment-ready.
Stand Out Product
Take the time to create something that is unique, sophisticated and stands out from the crowd. Your idea or product should bring in customers who are willing to pay more figures than you can ever imagine. Create a product that is also easily identifiable or noticeable when seen. Mastering and creating products and services that meet a need is just as important, so bear that in mind.
Define your brand identity and Unique Selling Point
After creating your amazing, unique product or service, pen down your key points of differentiation - something you're doing that other people are not doing or not targeting. Define your brand identity and Unique Selling Point. Investors are intrigued about your why, so make that known as well. Create a document or list that fully outlines your process and journey, detailing and giving more information about when you got the idea, when that light bulb moment occurred, what steps you carried out to make the vision a reality, and most importantly, why you chose to start the business.
Create A Buzz about your product
Find a way to create that much-needed buzz, excitement and anticipation about what you do, produce and offer.
If people are buzzing about your product, it can spark investor interest. How can you do this? This can be done through placement by reaching out to high-level magazine editors, influencers, and celebrities or even building an organic following on social media crazy about your business and brand.
Create a pitch deck ready for investors. A pitch deck is a presentation that helps potential investors learn more about your business. You can put one together using generic software like PowerPoint or create an out-of-the-box presentation. A pitch deck presentation usually consists of several slides that help you tell a compelling story. A good pitch deck is the first rung on the ladder to securing funding. You'll want to present investors with the idea that intrigues them and gets them to engage with you. Some pitch decks are heavily branded, which can strike the right chord with investors who get your vision. Research is vital to know how to create the right kind of pitch deck for your brand.
Most creatives have taken inspiration from Airbnb's pitch deck to create their investor deck, but there are many other brands you can choose from to see how they made their pitch decks.
Financial literacy is critical, and having knowledge of your finances, the terminologies and how they apply will be very beneficial and crucial. Do not go into a meeting to pitch without the basic knowledge of your finances. Investors may not entirely understand some aspects of your business plan or even your market. However, they are very clued-up when it comes to figures as this is their area of expertise, and figures are what they will be investing into your business.
Articulate the Investment Opportunity
It is vital to state what you need and exactly how much. Don't go into a meeting unprepared and not knowing how much you require precisely to get things moving to the next stage. If your business is pre-revenue, you need to forecast how much more money you still have to spend before you start selling it. Nobody will take you seriously if you go unprepared, and that's not a great look for an entrepreneur or business owner. Knowledge is vital, and knowing in-depth every aspect of your business and its needs is essential. Make it a point to articulate why you require the funding and demonstrate how the funds will be used effectively in what areas and how you have structured your growth plan.
Growth with their Funds
Immediately show your prospective investors what the funds will be used for. If you are vague with your pitch to potential investors about why you need funding or what it is needed for, they will assume you have no "building blocks" in place. Your pitch needs to be clear on how your business will grow with their investment - be it an extension of a product or opening a store.
When you have got the above outlined in place, there are a few other things to bear in mind;
Straight to the point
When you get into the room to pitch to prospective investors, it's important to make it concise, assuming that people remember a maximum of four to five things from the meeting. Make sure to focus on the significant aspects of those points and ensure they are consistent throughout your pitch. Otherwise, you run the risk of your investors walking away with irrelevant information that will not benefit you or aid them to see why they should invest in you.
It is essential to give yourself time and not rush the process. These things take time. Some people get investment straight away, and it takes others years to secure any kind of investment. Be patient with yourself and the process.
Take the time to learn about the area you have chosen to build in. Research and learn everything there is to know about the sector you want to do business in. Know your competition, know the environmental or political challenges related to the industry, and know how to deal with challenges that come up. As you learn, you also have the opportunity to own that sector by creating knowledgeable content via blogs, speaking jobs, or even writing and contributing to a publication. Your knowledge and expertise as you learn will give you credibility, something which investors are prone to check. Nobody wants to invest in someone who is not willing to learn and grow. An investor will trust your capabilities and insight more if you can demonstrate how committed you are for the long haul.
Don't let Rejection stop you
Rejection happens. Don't be scared about getting rejected, and don't let someone's "no" stop you from pursuing what you seek. Don't take it personally, either. Someone not invested in you doesn't have anything to do with you as a person. It just might not be the right fit for them, and you should be ok with that. The right investor/s are out there for you. Keep going.
It is a great idea to ask for advice from people that have been down this road. Look for mentors or other entrepreneurs who have gone through the process. Their knowledge and experience can be invaluable.
Networking is a great way to meet new people and put information about what you're doing out there. You might even be lucky enough to meet a potential investor at one of these networking events, so try to network as much as you can. Tell anyone who would listen to what you are building and what you need to move it forward. If you don't tell or talk about it, you never know who can help you.
Do the work & be consistent
Nothing beats consistency and putting in the work. Even when you get rejected, believe wholeheartedly in your business, the ideas and why you need investment. Keep working, and don't dream of giving up on yourself or your brand.
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