Often, young entrepreneurs are challenged to find an audience with the right investors for their concept. They struggle to get meaningful meetings. Here are 3 tips to help you get investors to listen to your pitch:
1. Make it Personal. Keep in mind that investors in early-staged companies are investing in people. Before it is really up and running, a Company doesn’t have much value. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The value is built by executing on a vision and creating a brand, a customer base, a strong team, revenue streams, etc. It is as important to be seen as a trustworthy, capable person as it is to have your business idea be judged as sound. You’ll have a higher rate of responses from potential investors, if you make use of introductions.
2. Go after “the Right” Investors. Keep in mind that many investors focus on companies in their geographic area, particularly if they are investing in very early-stage companies. You might have better luck getting meetings with wealthy individuals in your area that in getting a response from a venture capital firm in Boston or Silicon Valley, if you don’t live in those areas. Investors like to specialize in industries and invest in a business area they understand very well. Be sure to research an investment firm’s or individual’s past investments to be sure there is a good fit with your business.
3. Build Your Network. What if you don’t know investors (or people who know investors) in your area? Get out there and network. Go to events sponsored by entrepreneurs clubs, investors or your chamber of commerce. If you live near a university, there are likely to be numerous potential networking events on campus. And if you do not find enough events, start your own. Find a speaker, such as a successful local entrepreneur, perhaps paired with his or her early investors. You are likely to attract just the type of network you need to meet.
Today, it’s never been easier. Use LinkedIn and other social networking websites to build contacts. See who knows whom you’d like to meet and ask for an introduction. Any introduction–no matter how loose the connection—can help. As long as you have a compelling reason why the connection is a potentially great fit and are prepared to graciously accept a “no”, you should ask almost anyone you are acquainted with to make an introduction.