You’ve got your big idea. You’ve hired the best talent, and you’re making great progress on your product. What’s the next step? Raising the capital you need to take your company to the next level. While that’s easier said than done, here are eight fundraising tips to help you move forward and grow your business.
1. Be loud
Investors are looking to invest; it’s what they do. Too often, they don’t hear from the startups that need capital. So make some noise. Investors are listening.
2. Be distinct
The ability to stand out from the crowd is one of the most important qualities a business can have. You don’t have to do everything well – focus on the key attributes that will get investors’ attention.
3. Be concise
When putting together a pitch for financing, build a concise presentation. Venture capitalists see a lot of presentations, and many look the same. Put together a few amazing slides, cut away the fluff, and make every word count.
4. Be geographically agnostic
Your audience isn’t necessarily a domestic audience. Look beyond your front door for the best investors – wherever they might be in the world. The great news is, the internet is geographically agnostic, and most investors are, too.
5. Be specific
Identify investors who are going to give you more than capital. Look for someone who specializes in the software you’re using, or understands your niche.
6. Be ready to answer questions
The VC firms you pitch are going to ask lots of questions: specific questions, big questions, product questions. While you may know your business inside and out, be ready to articulate the problem you’re solving.
7. Be a big-picture thinker
Have a plan for the next three, five and 10 years. VCs will want to know that you have a long-term vision for your company.
8. Be ready to network
Even if you’re not ready to scale up just yet, be aware of your need for investors down the road. Build a network of VCs, fellow entrepreneurs, senior executives, industry leaders, top engineers, and so on. Always have your business hat on.
As Senior Vice President, Office of the CEO at RBC, John Stackhouse is responsible for interpreting trends for the executive leadership team and Board of Directors with insights on how these are affecting RBC, its clients and society at large. Prior to this, John was editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail (2009-14), editor of Report on Business, the newspaper’s national editor, foreign editor and its foreign correspondent based in New Delhi, India (1992-99).