This is another question that investable entrepreneurs frequently ask us, thinking there must be some ‘one size fits all’ answer. But the question has two parts, and it’s essential to get both those parts right if you’re going to land the investment you’re looking for.
Part 1: How can you connect with investors?
1. Leverage your network
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to overlook the power of your existing network. Maybe that’s because they’re people you interact with all the time, who follow you and you follow them back, so you take those relationships for granted.
You don’t think of them as prospective investors or allies who could connect you to investors who don’t currently have a clue who you are. Instead, you think of your network and your investors as two separate entities, and never the twain shall meet.
That’s a big mistake because somebody inside your network could very well hold the key to your investment success. In fact, they could help you secure it right now.
So, how do you put yourself in the position to capitalise on your network?
2. Tell your network what you’re doing.
When you’re on the cusp of looking for investment and your pitch is honed and ready to show the world, post your pitch deck on your social media. Ask your contacts for feedback. Let them know you’ll be seeking investment soon, and you’d value their thoughts and constructive criticisms about what you’re about to offer.
The results of reaching out like this may surprise you:
- There could be potential investors in your network you don’t know about.
- There may be people in your network who have never thought of investing, but they’re so excited by your pitch deck they’ll want to make their first investment in you.
- Or, even if nobody in your network is in a position to invest, a few of them may privately know investors who will. If they like your pitch deck enough, they’ll tell those investors about you and pass your pitch deck on.
Before you’ve even started reaching out to investors, an unknown investor may very well appear out of your network and offer you everything you’re looking for. That vital investment will be all because you reached out to your network and told them what you’re doing.
But let’s say none of the above happens. Let’s say no one in your network offers to invest, and none of them knows investors who could. That’s okay, because you’ll already have gained a significant benefit from reaching out to them.
3. Harness the benefit of their feedback
Even though you should hopefully never need to change your pitch at this late stage, there may still be comments inside the feedback that are worth taking on board: a tiny flaw in your pitch deck you hadn’t noticed; a suggestion you can build into your offering.
Or, most likely, your network will enthusiastically confirm what you already know: that your product is a perfect fit for the problems they face, and your confidence in your offering is more than justified. What’s more, you’re getting market validation in real-time, giving those hidden investors in your network even more reason to get in touch.
Either way, securing live, real-time feedback from your network is an excellent way to create and demonstrate traction.
4. Utilise investment platforms like Crunchbase and gritt.io
Crunchbase and Gritcap can connect you with investors in two very different ways.
Crunchbase is a platform that enables you to research prospective investors so you can target the right investors for your proposal. You can search for lists of investors by deal size, investment stage, sector of interest and more. It also allows you to research competitors’ past rounds and see the investors they’ve attracted.
On the other hand, Gritt is a database of Angel Investors. It’s completely free and you can search for investors by investment stage (Pre-seed, Seed, Series A etc), sector and location. This will give you a shortlist of LinkedIn profiles to connect with. What’s more, if you register a free account, you’ll also get their email address if available.
Use them in combination, and these two platforms will take a lot of the hard work and guesswork out of connecting you with the investors you’re looking for. Instead of scatter-gunning every investor who’s out there, you’ll be able to focus down on the investors who will be your perfect fit.
Those investors will appreciate your research and diligence too. No investor wants to feel like they’re just another random possibility on a list. When they see you’re reaching out to them because you’re familiar with what they do and you’re something they want to their portfolio, you’ll already be halfway through the door.
This brings us to the second part of the question:
Part 2: How can you win the investor’s trust?
All you need to do is follow the core concepts outlined in Robot Mascot COO James Church’s book Investable Entrepreneur.
The three most effective ways to build trust with investors are:
- Design a terrific pitch deck, and make your pitch deck so engaging they’ll have no option other than to buy into your vision.
- Present them with realistic and compelling high-quality financial projections. Show them the figures they’ll want to see and show you understand the financial risks and the financial rewards.
- Prove you have a credible and consistent business plan. Investors need to see you have a focused strategy for turning your idea into a high-value proposition that will deliver them a worthwhile financial reward. They’ll also want to see you have a profitable exit plan in mind.
Hopefully, you’ll now know where to begin when you approach how to connect with investors and win their trust.
But if you want to learn more, you can download a free copy of Robot Mascot COO James Church’s bestselling book, Investable Entrepreneur here.