You know you have it in you to do well in business. You are equipped with the essential skill sets to not only thrive but succeed as an entrepreneur. From people to sales management and everything in between, you got them all down pat. You cannot wait to get started. Only you lack the funding.
No, you do not have to be a progeny of old money to turn your entrepreneurial aspirations into fruition. All you need is to convince an investor or two. There’s a variety of potential investors you can tap. They include banks, angel groups, government agencies, accelerators and incubators, and venture capital firms, to name a few.
It’s only a matter of following the right approach. Here are some of the best practices.
It starts with a foolproof product
The ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, said that “necessity is the mother of invention”. But it’s safe to say that all things necessary have already been invented. That does not mean there’s no room for you to introduce something to the market that might be of use to people. It might not be something wholly original but at least a reimagining or repositioning of something that already exists.
Think Spotify, which is not a completely novel product proposition. It took inspiration from Napster and SoundCloud. What it did is derive ideas from its predecessors, and design a new platform sans the limits of the originals. Now Spotify’s worth $21 billion.
Avoid getting caught up in the rabbit hole of novelty. Such can have dangerous consequences. Consider the cautionary tale of Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos. The idea behind the startup was nothing short of revolutionary. It was touted to change the face of healthcare. It turned out to be a fraud.
The lesson here is this: your product does not have to be new. It just has to feel like it.
Partner with a reliable fiduciary
A fiduciary is someone working on behalf of a person or group of persons. A reliable fiduciary is one who acts in their ward’s best interests via subscription to strict ethical and legal standards. Under the fiduciary model, there are fiduciary advisers primarily tasked to oversee a person’s or a group of people’s financial ventures and responsibilities.
If you have a startup in search of investors, it is in your best interest to partner with a fiduciary, most especially if you are not particularly adept in financial matters. A fiduciary will provide you with financial and legal advice throughout the process of investor-hunting.
Once you land an investor, your fiduciary consultant can also guide you through drafting a contract that will put you at an advantage, or at least at an equal playing field with your investor. That’s most crucial if your investor is a venture capital firm. Those firms know what they are doing and they will always gun for terms that are most beneficial to them, without much regard to your end of the bargain.
Prepare a winning pitch deck
You will most likely visit various offices to pitch your startup proposal. You will face all sorts of people from low-level clerks to upper management. Come prepared with a winning pitch deck.
Prepare a deck with a streamlined account of your proposal. Avoid blocks of paragraphs because they won’t help your presentation. Focus on keywords or phrases that will best drive your points across. Present statistics and finding in the form of tables and graphs for easy reading.
If you must, hire a copywriter to do the job. All keywords and phrases on your pitch deck should be written with the utmost efficacy in mind.
Pitch with confidence and an open mind
Know your product proposition from the inside out. You cannot convince an investor to trust in your product if you fumble through your presentation as if you are just winging it out. That goes without saying that you must maintain an open mind.
Questions will be raised. If you have the answer and you’re sure of it, state your response as coherently as you can muster. Otherwise, be transparent enough to say when you don’t have the answer as of the moment. Assure your audience that you will look into the matter.
Finding a willing and worthy investor is just the beginning of a long journey. Once your startup gets the essential funding, that’s where your entrepreneurial mettle will get tested. If you believe in the seed of your idea enough, and you have systems in place to take that idea to where you want it to go, you already have the necessary foundations to follow through on your mission. Now, good luck with your endeavor.