Finding investors that want to support your business is essential to achieving long term viability and success.
It is a fairly intimidating and time consuming process that can ultimately make or break your business, which is why it’s important to do it properly.
While finding investors for your business is only the first step, it is inarguably the most important one. This is because these are the people that are going to support your business financially, and help you to network, strategise and ultimately dominate your target marketplace.
Leading Edge Only is the world’s largest innovation platform, and the leading expert in connecting challenges with innovative solutions. It therefore stands to reason that we’d be just as good at connecting businesses with investors! In this blog post we’re going to help you understand exactly how to find investors for your business and why you need an investor in the first place.
Why Do I Need Business Investors?
Finding investors for your business is almost essential to business success. This is because their contributions to your efforts are typically the ones that matter most, as they have the money and experience to propel your business to greater heights. The most important reasons why you should know how to find investors are: capital, expertise, competition and expansion.
Financial support from an investor can provide you with the capital that you need to get your business off the ground, or to take your business to the next level. This can often require a significant amount of money, especially if you are innovating a new or complicated product or service, or if you are a new name in the industry. Their monetary backing can be exactly what you need to remain afloat in the first few months or years of production, which are inarguably the most important, and the most difficult.
Sometimes, an investor can play an advisory role that is invaluable to the longevity and durability of your business. This is especially true if they have a wealth of relevant experience and expertise, or are a big name within your area of interest. The knowledge and advice that they can impart to you may transform your approach to business, and positively influence any key decisions or changes.
Securing investors is one of the best things that you can do to help your business get ahead. Their very presence imbues your business with credibility and authority, making you the preferred choice within the marketplace. The capital and expertise that they can offer will further serve to push you ahead of the competition, which is essential in the dog-eat-dog-world of the 21st century marketplace.
Investors aren’t just for start-ups. Even the most established and successful businesses will benefit from knowing how to find investors, because they will be able to expand their offering more easily and secure a larger portion of the market. Once you have successfully found investors, you will typically find that there are more opportunities open to you, because you now have the ability and business capacity to think bigger.
How To Find Investors For Your Business
Whether you want to know how to find investors for your small business, or how to find investors for your start-up, we have you covered. We have compiled a list of the best places to go and people to speak to, in order to find the people with the power, money and influence to take your business to the next level.
While they are in no particular order, some of these approaches are more difficult than others. It’s highly likely that you will need to visit several of these options, if not all of them, to find and secure an appropriate investor - especially if you need more than one to succeed. The most important thing to remember, is that this can be a long and difficult process, but that under no circumstances should you give up.
The only real way that you won’t find an investor, is if you stop looking.
A crowdfunding platform is a great way to raise money online. There are a few ways in which you can do this, however the most popular are as follows. The first, is to use an incentivised platform. This is where people will give you money in exchange for something, such as an exclusive insight or deal, or some kind of gift. The second, is a donation platform. This is where people will give you as much or as little money as they desire, with no expectations or strings attached.
Another kind of crowdfunding platform, which is regulated and has strict rules and conditions, is an equity platform. An investor will purchase a share of your business, and thus have partial ownership of it and a voice in all important decisions.
Some of our favourite crowdfunding platforms include:
As the main motivation to seek out an investor is financial, you can circumvent this entirely by taking out a loan. There are many different kinds of loan that you can apply for, such as:
- A business loan
- A start-up loan
- A bounce back loan
Before taking out a loan, it is important to consider whether you are eligible, and whether you will be able to pay it back. If not, you may want to consider a different kind of monetary aid from the bank - such as a business grant.
This is a means of finding investors that is often overlooked, because it doesn’t always seem like a viable option. Businesses within your industry or area of interest may seem like an unusual target for your sales pitch, but you might be surprised. Approaching a relevant business owner or leader is a great way of accessing insider information and advice. While they may not be willing to financially invest in your business, as you could one day be their competition, they may be willing to act as your mentor. This will still prove beneficial, as they can provide a wealth of knowledge and connections - some of which may be viable investors.
In this same vein, contacting a university can also be a really effective means of finding investors. There are two ways to go about this: you can contact a university of which you are an alumni, or you can contact a university that specialises in your area of interest. In the case of the former, you may be able to access an alumni network and any funding opportunities that they provide. In the case of the latter, you will be able to pitch your business to like-minded individuals that are likely to be interested in your business, which is something that you can capitalise upon.
Speak To Friends And Family
Word of mouth is extraordinarily powerful. While your friends and family may not be able to invest in your business, they may know someone (or know someone who knows someone) that may be interested. It’s important to utilise your existing network to its full capacity, so that you are able to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.
A networking event is a great way to generate interest in your new business, and connect with individuals that may prove immensely valuable further down the line. Whether you are there specifically to promote your business, or are there to establish yourself and meet new people, networking events are a great way to find investors.
There are so many networking events to choose from, both online and in real life. Some of our favourite networking events include:
Every business owner worth his salt knows how important social media is; it lends your platform credibility, boosts brand awareness and is a really effective means of creating a community of people that are interested in your offering, and in what you have to say. Using social media to find investors is an opportunity not to be missed, because you are already out there for everybody to see.
Some of the best platforms for finding investors are:
How you use each of the platforms may vary. For example, you may use LinkedIn to make these initial connections, and then take the conversation to Facebook to establish a relationship that is founded on trust and mutual interest.
The best way to find investors for your business is to start conversations and make sure that you are being seen. Outreach tactics are one of the best ways of doing this, because they allow you to take a proactive approach, as you do things that will garner attention and interest.
Email outreach is a great place to start, because you can send personalised, automated emails that are almost guaranteed to get the attention of the target reader. This is also the most affordable outreach tactic. Depending on your budget, more things that you can do include organising events and sending no-strings gifts.
Accelerator programmes are designed with small businesses and start-ups in mind. A group of entrepreneurs, like yourself, receive intensive training, support and advice that will ultimately allow you to make strong connections and find investors more easily.. Accelerator programmes are often funded by venture capital investors and large corporations, and so they are a really effective means of getting close to the people that could one day provide you with significant financial support.
Accelerator programmes vary across the globe; while there are fewer opportunities in the UK, they are an increasingly popular means of finding investors in the US. Perhaps the most famous of it’s kind is Y Combinator, which helped to develop AirBnB and Reddit!
Is It Hard To Find Investors?
In short, yes.
However, it is essential that you do not let this deter you from your search.
Finding an investor can be difficult because the business world is highly competitive - there are thousands of entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business, every day. The important thing is that you put yourself out there, and even if you don’t secure someone straight away, you keep trying. Determination and hard work are the defining qualities of a successful business man or woman.
The important thing is, now you know how to find investors for your business. You can use this list to go out into the world and establish these important relationships, have these conversations, and keep doing it until you find and secure all of the investors you need to propel your business forward and meet your wider goals.
Finding An Investor With Leading Edge Only
Once you’ve found a potential investor, be sure to take a look at our infographic on how to develop your innovation strategy from idea to investment. It will ensure that you have everything you need in place to secure the success of your pitch. And when it comes to your pitch, we have you covered there too. One of our previous blog posts, How To Pitch To Investors, provides a clear checklist of everything that you need to do and say.
At Leading Edge Only, we don’t just want you to know how to find investors for your business, we also want you to know how to succeed in securing them permanently. We have been successfully pairing clients with a business challenge, with innovators that have a solution, and so we have perfected the art of these effective business manoeuvres.
If you want to join a global network of innovators, and connect with real people from businesses, universities and more, then you’re in the right place. Contact us today by completing an online form, phoning 01234 756 015 or emailing [email protected].