Each year, America gains lots of new start-ups – and their goals are always shifting. In the first few months, it’s about bedding in and surviving. Over the first few years, it’s about profitability. But in the medium term, the goal is often securing a round of investment. Whether you choose to go for an angel investor, a venture capitalist (VC), or some other type altogether, getting an inflow of cash to invest in the company for growth purposes is usually required. Here are some top tips on making sure that you ace the start-up investment application process and secure what you need to grow.
Decide what type
There are all sorts of investment types you can choose from. Some entrepreneurs opt for angel investors; individuals who enjoy investing on an informal basis. They may be looking to make a return, but they may also simply want to be involved in a project they find engrossing and interesting. Alternatively, you might choose to go for a venture capitalist firm: this type of investor often takes a more systematic approach, and most decisions will be made on pure revenue and profit figures. In some cases, you may also be able to get investment from individuals like family members and friends. The advantage with that is that you won’t run the risk of burning any professional bridges, but you may find you struggle with the blurring of personal and business boundaries.
Perfect your speaking skills
When it comes to securing a round or two of investment, you’ll often need to give some sort of presentation in order to get there. In the first instance, you should work on your public speaking skills if this is something you either don’t have or which you seriously struggle with. You’ll need to be able to answer questions on the spot, for example, as well as project the necessary confidence in your own abilities and your offer.
But you’ll also need to put your design and communications hat on here, too. You’ll need a visual aid, but this should clearly communicate only the most important parts of your presentation. If it doesn’t, you may find that potential investors either can’t see the value in your pitch or start to think that you don’t have good judgment. The presentation is both a strategy and a marketing job, and so the assistance of an expert marketer could help. Take Chern Lee, an entrepreneur: Chern Lee has been assisting companies requiring marketing assistance for a while, and now runs two companies. Founders looking for a relevant and expert source of advice, then, may benefit from opting for someone like him.
Applying for a round of investment isn’t easy – and anyone who tells you that it’s simple is just wrong. If you’re new to the worlds of VC, angel investing and more, you may well feel a little overwhelmed. But it’s still possible to ace the process: by being strategic about your investment format choice, working on your presenting skills, and thinking strategically, it’s possible to develop a strong and cohesive pitch that is guaranteed to wow investors.