How to Get Investors to Invest in You: 3 Steps to Getting Funding For Your Business Idea
What’s holding you back from starting your own business? Is it money? Is it resources? If you’ve ever wondered “How do I meet the people who have the resources to help me achieve my dream?” I would love to give you a few tools to help you begin building relationships with this seemingly elusive group of investors.
My No.1 mantra for meeting new people is to simply Show Up! Consistently showing up to events in Boston, as well as around the country and the world, has led me to some exceptionally productive relationships and a few mind-blowing opportunities. Showing up becomes considerably more impressive in a culture that expects you not to follow through on your word. This isn’t the century’s worst crime, but not showing up can definitely limit your opportunities.
We have all heard that the extremely successful have failed more often than most have ever tried. This holds true with opportunity. The seemingly lucky have not only outperformed most people, but also show up more often.
Once you realize the importance of showing up you then need to determine WHERE to show up. Getting to know your ideal customer is one of the most overlooked steps for young entrepreneurs. We often believe that just because we have an idea that will change the world that somehow your ideal client will be drawn to your product through no effort of your own and make your business an overnight success.
Yes, it is true that your ideal customer is looking for you but you must put yourself in a position to be found. Being in a position to be found by an ideal investor is similar to attracting your ideal customer. If you are struggling to find the people to invest in your ideas here are a few questions you should answer before haphazardly showing up in places they may not actually be located.
Questions to determine where to Show Up
· Who is my ideal investor?
· What does my ideal investor care about?
· Where do does my ideal investor hang out?
· What types of events does my ideal investor attend?
· Where does my ideal investor shop?
These questions should act as springboard to helping you be more laser focused in your attempt to show up at the places that will providentially place you in the path of the people with the resources to help you.
Once you’ve identified where you need to Show Up the next important step is to determine how to begin to build a meaningful connection with an investor that creates the trust necessary for a fruitful partnership.
The number one way to form meaningful connections is through a method we’ve been told our entire lives: Just be yourself. Clichéd catchphrases can easily become background noise, undecipherable in the landscape of mantras. So, let’s take a moment to unpack this idea.
The more you know about yourself and your own needs, the better you can deeply connect with others. Authenticity is rarely two-dimensional and, when we only allow people to see us from the lens of our resume personified, we may be losing an opportunity to create a memorable first impression.
While it is important to tell your story, it is even more important to listen. People enjoy talking about themselves and, if asked a series of thoughtful questions, may become open to a deeply meaningful first conversation. Professional relationship-building skills are not much different from the behaviors that would make you attractive at a cocktail party. When you decide to focus on listening to a conversation, the focus is no longer on you. When you ask thoughtful questions, the person in your presence feels valued.
When you listen with the intent of asking meaningful questions, you will hear ways that you can be valuable to someone’s business or life goals. Community is most powerful when the members don’t sit around waiting to be served but use their resources for the benefit of each other. If no one reaches out to you, then you have the honor of being the one extending your hand in the form of your unique resources. If you come alongside the dreams and valued projects of a potential investor, they will become more interested in coming alongside YOUR dreams and projects.
You are now armed with the tools to know WHERE to find your ideal investor, how to add value and begin building a meaningful and fruitful relationship and are now ready for the most import tool in your tool box: Follow Up
The number one most neglected aspect of relationship-building is the art of cultivation. Most people I know have stacks of business cards from events they went to years ago. They are waiting for the perfect moment to finally respond. The truth is, the longer you wait to reply, the more that relationship loses value exponentially. Within a matter of time, the reasons why you wanted to connect may now be irrelevant and the person you were eager to connect with may no longer remember you.
So how do you stay in the mind of your potential investors who have shown interest in your idea and have the resources to help you? Staying in the mind of people in your network is a concept I call Come to mind. The leading way to stay in people’s mind is by having a follow-up strategy. Follow-up strategies work remarkably well because they are rarely utilized, therefore immediately set you apart to be remembered. There isn’t a magic formula to creating a follow up strategy. The secret is in the execution. Create a strategy that will allow you to nurture the relationships you’ve started and allow you to continue to come to mind. If you need a bit of help creating your strategy feel free to take ideas from my Follow Up Strategy.
No single person on Earth has a monopoly on great ideas. Creative ideas exist at the nexus of a need, a community, the individual, a unique landscape, culture, and resources. All your ideas won’t change the world, but I have no doubt a few are creative enough to become the basis of a viable business. If you are not bank rolled by your multi-millionaire parents, you are only resources away from getting this dream off the ground.
Your lack of resources however isn’t your biggest hurdle. The symbiotic nature of our world means that there is a vibrant community of investors hungry for the next big idea, but they haven’t met you…..yet. Be encouraged. You are only a relationship away from the resources you need, and that relationship will only be ignited if you Show Up, build relationships, then nurture those relationships with a strategic follow up plan. If you take the time to follow-up in a thoughtful way you WILL be able to build meaningful relationships with people in our world who can provide the resources you need to achieve your dreams.
David France is the author of Bestselling book Show Up: Unlocking the Power of Relational Networking, he is a Speaker, violinist, string pedagogy clinician, and Founder and Executive Director of Revolution of Hope, a music for social change initiative transforming inner city lives through the arts. He believes that joy in this life is maximized when you Give your life Away. You can also follow him on twitter