We’ve spoken to 100s of entrepreneurs and have hundreds who support our cause through their insight, advertisements, and readership, so we thought it best to tap into that network again. So we put together 5 steps on how to get funded, or at least set you on the road for funding.
We frequently review startup pitches for research, helping out partners, and learning through doing. Through this, we have seen a lot of great and honestly, not-so-great plans.
We recommend having a well-thought-out plan in place to reduce the time, effort, cost and energy necessary to be successful. Searching for investors will require a substantial investment of your own, but if you wisely and mindfully use your time, money and energy during your pursuit, you will have a higher likelihood of reaching your goals.
Here are our 5 steps for securing the interest of investors, and eventually raising funds:
Create realistic budgets
Investors consider companies that have proven track and can acquire customers cost-effectively. You need a realistic budget to show how sustainable it is to get customers and you’ve got sufficient margin to make it a viable business.
Once you are able to show success, you can move onto pitching to investors. A lot of entrepreneurs dedicate most of their energy to pitching investors for a period of six months or more. This adds to your cost in terms of travel, expenses and miscellaneous costs. Take time to figure out your reliable revenue and expenses for the year, then see where you have extra room in your expense category to add funds for marketing.
Know your investors
This is a job interview, so research your potential investors. Some questions to consider:
- What are your potential investors like as individuals?
- Have they invested in businesses like yours in the past?
- Do the tenets of your business mesh with theirs?
Get to know them well enough that you can interact with them on a personal level. Find investors with interests and beliefs that mirror yours, and your chance of success will dramatically increase.
Social media can be your friend
A strong, positive social media presence can be a very useful tool to speak to investors. Connect with investors through LinkedIn and Twitter and showcase both yourself and your company.
This is about standing out. When you pitch to them, they’ll remember you and hopefully, they’ll see your positivity shine through. Social media is also an excellent way to get to know the investors. Make a note of topics they post about frequently, then use them during your pitch to show that your values and ideas intertwine with theirs.
Pro-tip: A great way to connect to investors or get your brand/company known is to secure some great media coverage for your business. It is a great way to validate your business.
Read why startups need PR more than ever
Know your level
If you’re just starting out, maybe think small in terms of investors as well. As a newcomer in the business arena or a small player in a big pond, increase your odds of success by choosing small, lesser-known investors who frequently support your type of business. On the flipside, if your business is well established and you have a potential unicorn, then go ahead, go after the big fish.
Find out the Southeast Asian unicorns leading the way.
Practice makes perfect
We strongly recommend taking every opportunity to practice your elevator pitch. Practice giving the pitch to strangers, advisers, your partner and even your pet. Then, when you stand in front of a potential investor, you can confidently speak about your business, the problems it solves, and what you need to make it better. There is no substitute to practice.
Stay positive, and most importantly, believe in yourself and your business. If you persevere, your hard work will manifest everything you need to make your business succeed.