Sorry to burst your bubble, but nobody really cares about your deal.
If you’re sending out a huge long-winded prospectus to people like me, you’re making a big mistake. All you’re doing is wasting your time and killing trees.
But I’ll let you in on a little secret. I used to do the exact same thing, until I realized nobody ever gave me any money.
Then it hit me … People don’t invest in you because you have the best product or service, they invest with you because they like you. Yes, you are more important than your product.
Sure, there may be trillions of dollars in cash sitting on the sidelines right now, but in this post-Bernie Madoff era, people are naturally suspicious. So they’re certainly not going to part with that cash to fund your deal or business unless they have confidence in you.
With that in mind, here are 5 tips for raising capital in today’s market:
Dress to impress: You never get a second chance at making at first impression. With people on the lookout for reasons not to do business with you, believe me, they’re going to notice the quality of your suit, whether your shoes are polished, or whether you printed your business cards yourself.
Anyone who says any different is just plain ignorant. Even Steve Jobs had to wear a suit in the early days when he was raising money to fund Apple.
Pay attention to your branding: Effective branding is a must for investors who are looking to raise capital. Does Google know who you are? What does your website look like? Do you have pictures of yourself surrounded by successful people on your site?
Your branding speaks volumes, and it’s what assures wealthy investors that you’re not some fly-by-night operator.
Know your numbers and be conservative: The worst mistake you can make it is to try and make a deal look better than it really is. Believe me, you’ll be called out on it. Investors are always looking to poke holes in your strategy. If they think you’re misrepresenting something, they’ll run for the hills.
However, if you show you know your financial levers and provide realistic best- and worst-case scenarios, they’ll look at your deal a lot more favorably.
Back end is more important than the front end: You can have the greatest deal or opportunity, but that won’t get you very far if you don’t demonstrate your competency at managing the back end. That means showing you can deliver accurate monthly reports with precise information.
One of the worst thing you can say to an investor is that you both run the business and run your own books. But tell an investor that you’re audited every 4 months or that your reports are certified by an accountant, and that’s music to any investor’s ears.
Make it about more than the numbers: When you pitch a deal or investment based solely on the numbers, that’s what they’ll focus on. But if you work on building relationships, you’ll be positioning yourself in a more favorable light.
Focus your presentation on your philosophy of loyalty, relationships, and results. Sell the big picture vision to your investors (backed by up by logical and realistic numbers, of course) and you will have investors chasing you.
Raising capital isn’t easy. But if you apply these principles, and work on creating a strong unique selling proposition, you’ll be adopting the transformational and strategic focus you need to close more deals.
Finally, rather than jumping from investor to investor, focus on growing with one over a longer period of time. What first made me famous was my GPS Model (Growth Partnership System) also known as the Seth Model. That’s how I went from one partner worth $250,000 to my current partner worth $400 million.