Today we're sharing our top ten tips for finding and building relationships with angel investors. Whether you have an idea for a great new business, or are looking to expand a current venture, these tips can help you break through the barriers that most see as roadblocks.
Starting with tip number 10: Maintain Focus. The last thing investors want is to invest in a business only to have the entrepreneur get sidetracked with other ideas. Don't have too many projects, product lines or ideas. Maintain focus on what you are offering and investors will find clarity in your offer. Clarity = Power.
9: Build a team. A team is important for investors to see. They need to know you understand a business isn't built with just one person. You don't have to have specific individuals in place right away and they don't have to be employees. They can be mentors, board of advisors, board of directors, managers or independent contractors. A good strategy is to create an organization chart early on, and label all of the positions you'd like to have apart of your business. This serves as an inspirational guide for all to see how you envision the growth of your organization.
8: Understand your strengths. Investors know that you aren't going to be an expert at all aspects of running a business. They want to know the truth about what strengths you have and more importantly what you believe are your weaknesses. Delegate appropriate tasks to employees or outsource projects to freelancers to ensure efficiency.
7: Master basic public speaking skills. Investors want to have confidence in their investment. You are their investment. If you have trouble speaking in front of people, you need to learn the skill. Sign up for an intro to public speaking or communications class and open yourself up to speaking at as many events as possible.
6: Know your numbers. Angel investors don't want to invest in a business when the owner can't articulate what the numbers in the business plan mean. The fastest way to lose confidence in an investor is when you can't explain the numbers
5: Put together a one-two page summary. In addition to the elevator pitch you need to have a one to two page executive summary on your business, similar to the elevator pitch, but on paper. This is something you can hand to an investor if they want to learn more without boring them with a 30-page business plan.
4: Master your elevator pitch. You never know when you will have the opportunity to get an investor interested in your deal. You could run into an investor who wants to hear about your deal at a cocktail party, walking down the street, by email, over the phone, in a meeting or just about any way you didn't think would have been the traditional introduction. Preparation is key.
3: Investors invest in people, not the idea. Don't pretend to be someone you're not in order to solicit an investor. Investors want to work with people they like, they trust, and they believe can grow the business.
2: Have a Business Plan. Once an angel investor says they are interested in learning more they will want a business plan. The business plan should have all key areas mapped out such as a clear explanation of the product/service, the size of the market, the target demographic, return on investment for the investor, exit strategy, financials, pro forma, and organizational structure of the company.
Our top tip for finding and building relationships with angel investors: Network, network, network. Build your network and you'll build your net worth. You don't have to know an angel investor to get a meeting with one; you just need someone in your network that can connect you to an angel investor.