When there’s a need to find investors quickly in order to help scale up your business or start up, there are a number of different ways to approach your fundraising efforts in order to get noticed.
It’s worth remembering from the outset that whether you’ve grown as a business already and just need more financial leverage or capital, or even if you’ve a great business idea or product, you will still need to start at the bottom of the hill and graft hard to bring in that funding.
You’re not going to get a random call from one of the entrepreneurs from Dragon’s Den, so you need to get busy connecting ith potential investors, and think outside of the usual norms if you want to keep ahead of the competition.
Make sure that you share an awesome pitch deck with any interested parties, and then look at using the following options in order to enhance your offering and push through to a successful conclusion.
1) Online Fundraising Platforms
With so many new ways to deploy capital for investors, whether individual, angels or even banks, it’s worth looking at equity, donation based and debt portals, and peer-to-peer lending sites that may offer business loans.
There are plenty of other ways to raise funds, some of which you’ll read about below, however, the online platforms do a great job in a crowded marketplace of getting you noticed.
Be realistic about your needs, and find the right match for them. Consider using the following platforms too:
You can’t be a shrinking violet when it comes to fundraising. Simply put, if you don’t get out there and make yourself visible, then someone else will gladly step into your place.
You have to get noticed by the right types of investors, and one of the best ways to do so is attending events. Even better if you’re able to get an advanced list of who may be attending in order that meetings can be scheduled and time saved, not wasted.
Although the normal route is to have pitch nights in order to present your own offering or heading to industry and trade events, it’s also worth spending time with investors in a more social setting, such as sporting events, yacht shows, film festivals or charity fundraisers
Consider attending any of the following events too:
3) Social Media
Like it or loathe it, social media is still one of the best and most cost effective ways to gain traction for your start-up.
Whether you use influencers to get the word out, leverage sponsored posts and targeted ads or even just post content yourself at the relevant time, it only takes one powerful message to hit the jackpot.
Knowing the social media profile handles of significant investors in the space and connecting over direct message is also a way to bypass a lot of ‘noise’ and get straight down to business.
When it comes to social media, here are the most popular channels and how to use them:
•LinkedIn is always the best start point, with LinkedIN Premium enabling you to cold call VC’s and others. For a less formal way of building a relationship, but one that should generate trust as it effectively opens up your backstory for investors to see, Facebook is still worthwhile. For direct engagement with a variety of backers, Twitter should be your go-to platform.
Never underestimate how important the act of blogging is in order to get attention and traction. Posts in your authentic tone of voice allow potential investors to understand a little more about the person behind the company and your thought processes, and that’s invaluable information.
Medium is a decent alternative if you don’t have your own website or blog, whilst also following the blogs of potential investors can prove to be a goldmine if your interactions via the comments section or similar prove to be thought-provoking and of interest.
As a start point, be sure to take a look at the following blogs from investors of note:
Who knew that a simple email, sent to the right people and in the right tone, would prove to be hugely successful?!
VC’s, angels and more often have their interest piqued by some thoughtful email comment.
6) Apply to Accelerators
Serious entrepreneurs should consider the use of popular startup accelerator programs. They allow for help in contacting investors, other vital introductions and the ability to help stage future fundraising rounds.
Ensure that there is a good fit before accepting any help, and do extensive research before dipping your toe into these waters.
7) Start Sharing Your Product
You need to ensure that your product is getting out to influencers, customers and investors because growth and fundraising has to be strategic in order to be successful.
Incredibly, that still doesn’t happen for many start-ups, but you’re under far less pressure to acquire money from outside investment if you’re able to get a steady following from the get-go.
Put in the hard yards so that even when early sales are tough, the grind eventually pays off.
Hybrid business and freemium models are available, and they will help to ensure your product will generate some buzz and be seen in the market place.