From not putting all your eggs in one basket to adding a bit of personalization, here are 18 answers to the question, “What are your best tips when asking investors for money?”
- Present to Multiple Investors at a Time
- Look for Investors Who Align With Your Values
- Set an Investment Timeline
- Prepare Your Business Plan
- Calculate What You Need and Add a Buffer
- Don’t Forget the Negative
- Create Trustworthy Pitch
- Show ROI
- Nail Down Your Numbers
- Present a Compelling Future Vision
- Describe How the Funding Might Be Used
- Focus on the Problem You Are Solving
- Establish Traction
- Test Out Your Pitch
- Be Prepared to Respond to Inquiries
- Customize Your Message
Present to Multiple Investors at a Time
Whenever I’m asking investors for money, I find that doing presentations to multiple investors at a time is far more effective than having one-on-one conversations. This allows me to get the word out faster, while also giving potential investors an incentive to compete against each other in order to earn my business.
Moreover, I make sure all the information I put into the presentation is clear and concise, as no investor wants their time wasted by having too much or too little detail. Through this approach, I’ve secured investments quickly and efficiently, and I have found them to be invaluable when asking potential investors for money.
Antreas Koutis, Administrative Manager, Financer
Look for Investors Who Align With Your Values
Look for investors who are in alignment with your values. Investors who are aligned with your values are the ones most likely to support your business and help it grow.
Make sure you’re honest about your business’s potential for success, as well as your weaknesses. This way, your investors will know if they should expect big returns or if they should brace themselves for some losses. It’s important to be honest about these things so that your investors can make informed decisions about their money.
Matthew Ramirez, CEO, Paraphrase Tool
Set an Investment Timeline
One of the most effective tactics in sales is the use of urgency through a limited-time offer, and you should apply this same principle when asking investors for money. Investors like structure, meaning that they want to know timelines, not only regarding a business reaching its objectives but also what the infusion of capital means in terms of impact and ownership.
Creating a precise timeline for investment, detailing what each round of investment is worth, and relating it to internal timelines of obtaining company objectives, is critical to not only showcasing a reliable structure but creating a sense of urgency. By creating a set timeline for investment, you will implement direct communication they will appreciate as well as setting a deadline for their decision, which will build the urgency to invest.
Matt Miller, CEO, Embroker
Prepare Your Business Plan
Prepare a strong pitch and business plan, demonstrating market research and analysis. Also, be open to constructive feedback, showcase a talented and experienced team, and clearly understand the potential risks and challenges associated with the investment.
It’s also important to target the right investors and tailor your pitch and approach to their interests and criteria. Follow up with potential investors and establish a strong rapport and relationship.
Brenton Thomas, CEO, Twibi
Calculate What You Need and Add a Buffer
When I first started considering approaching investors for money, the best advice I received was to calculate the total amount of capital I needed and then add a buffer for unexpected costs.
This advice made the process much simpler, since it created an exact goal that was clear to communicate. It also allowed me to expect budget shortfalls and questions that may arise during conversations with potential investors.
Ultimately, this kept conversations with investors focused on why my investment opportunity was compelling rather than digging into insignificant details surrounding how much I was asking for. Calculating my needs and assigning a buffer eliminated potential roadblocks when asking investors for money, leaving me more time to focus on the real details of the proposition itself.
Lorien Strydom, Executive Country Manager, Financer.com
Don’t Forget the Negative
I think everyone knows to make a business plan and highlight their startup’s strengths, but knowing your weaknesses and being transparent about them will be more appealing to an investor than a pitch that’s too good to be true.
We’ve seen it all and can tell if you’re glossing over details or deflecting questions. It is much more impressive to be upfront about what you need help with or weaknesses that you could be fixed with mentorship or investment.
Gates Little, President and CEO, altLINE Sobanco
Create a Trustworthy Pitch
Lead the investors in with what you want to accomplish, how you plan to accomplish it, and how your business differs from others with the same goals. Investors want to know how you think and what you want to do. Make sure you’re clear on this so they don’t have to guess. Probably, they may have questions you haven’t considered.
It is imperative that you have a clear vision for your business and can easily explain it. Be ready to show your financials, as well as your market research. Since you’ve done your homework, you should have a basic understanding of your company and its current financials. These are all things that you can easily summarize and present in a concise and understandable fashion.
Luciano Colos, Founder and CEO, PitchGrade
Show the ROI
Instead of just asking for money, it’s important to show your investors not only what you need the funding or capital for specifically, but have a detailed plan and statistics of the ROI and how profitable it will be for them. This is a great motivation.
Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer, Checkr
Nail Down Your Numbers
When asking investors for money, you need data to support your investment needs. You also need to be specific about the amount that you need and what you are planning to use it for. You can’t just say, “any amount will do” or “we’ll take whatever you can give.” It’s also essential to discuss potential returns and how you plan to deliver that, as well as the risks and what you will do to mitigate them.
Mark Damsgaard, Partner and Head of Client Advisory, Global Residence Index
Present a Compelling Future Vision
Shift your focus away from just pitching your product and instead present a compelling vision for the future. Potently articulate your company’s purpose, long-term goals, and how their investment will help make a meaningful impact.
Investors are looking for a big idea and want to be part of something transformative. Also, show foresight by including social impact and sustainability strategies that are baked into your business model for investors with a heavy interest in ESG protocols as a requirement for their investment.
James Scott, Founder, Embassy Row Project
Describe How the Funding Might Be Used
I believe it is essential to be transparent about how much financing you are requesting and what it will enable you to accomplish.
Before committing, investors seek assurance that their funds will advance your company and generate a return on their investment. Their cash may help you do additional hypothesis tests, recruit crucial personnel, or purchase bulk components for mass production of your invention. Provide as much information as possible regarding the impact their support could have on the success of your company.
Joe Troyer, CEO and Growth Advisor, Digital Triggers
Focus on the Problem You Are Solving
It’s crucial to state your problem clearly and the way your solution solves it while making an investor pitch. This implies that you must show a thorough comprehension of the issue and detail how your solution to it is special and worthwhile.
For instance, if you are creating a new piece of software, you must express the problems that your target audience faces and how your product is superior to alternatives for solving these problems. You must show potential backers that your solution is not only superior, but also has a sizable market and a scalable business model.
You must show investors that you have a thorough understanding of the competitive landscape and how you will set yourself apart from other market participants, besides outlining the issue and your proposed solution. This calls for a thorough understanding of your market and rivals, as well as a distinct value proposition.
Dayna Carlin, Director of Marketing and Sales, NovoPath
When asking investors for money, be sure to negotiate and come prepared with an effective pitch. Research the investor’s portfolio and focus on the potential value and return on investment of your project. Be confident in your proposal and answer questions they may have.
Ranee Zhang, VP of Growth, Airgram
In my perspective, investors are looking for evidence that your firm has the potential to be successful. Please present whatever proof you have to show that your company is succeeding, such as increased sales, or favorable feedback from existing customers, or new users.
Dean Lee, Head of E-commerce, 88Vape
Test Out Your Pitch
Your pitch should be understandable, interesting, and short. Repeated practice will help you refine your pitch and instill confidence in your delivery.
Hide nothing; communicate the risks and difficulties you face as a company. When a founder is honest about the challenges they have and the steps they’re taking to address them, investors are more willing to back the company.
Sasha Quail, Business Development Manager, claims.co.uk
Networking with potential investors is a great way to get your foot in the door. By establishing relationships with business contacts, you can build trust and improve your chances of receiving an investment. Additionally, networking can give you access to a larger pool of potential investors.
Jessica Carrell, Co-Founder, AnySoftwareTools
Be Prepared to Respond to Inquiries
You’ve done your homework, created a sound business plan, and I think it’s now time to raise funds to get your venture off the ground. Investors will want to learn more about your company, so be prepared to answer their inquiries. This includes questions about your business model, competitive landscape, and future plans.
Adam Garcia, CEO, The Stock Dork
Customize Your Message
The best tip for asking investors for money is to take the time to understand each investor’s needs before making a pitch. For example, social impact investing prioritizes providing capital to companies that commit to core business practices that reflect broader goals around social good and environmental benefit.
These investors usually want more than just a financial return; they also invest in projects with a positive impact. Through a combination of research, excellent communication skills, and creative solutions, you can make your business stand out from other entrepreneurs looking for venture capital financing.
Amy Ling Lin, CEO, Sundays