#1 BE INTENTIONAL
Get your awesome self out there and let people know that you are awesome. That means checking your local paper, local college and your local business SBA office to find out what is going on in the world of money. There are so many grants, business plan competitions and angel investors that want to diversify their assets they just haven't met you yet! I remember going to events with thongs and bras in my bag, ready to whip them out no matter who I bumped into. I'd hope that someone would ask me about my company and I'd take that and run with it. I had to remove "shyness" from my vocabulary and think about my future self and the future of my business opportunity and go for it! So maybe your not pulling out thongs and bras and body scrubs at lunch meetings but whatever it is, get out there. Learn about events and organizations that can connect you to people who care and want to hear about your next big idea! Learn More
#2 HAVE A PLAN
I've entered God knows how many business plans and they are not all the best, but I learned a long time ago that business plan competitions can be helpful in many ways. Firstly, they make you prepare. Business plan competitions usually state what they want and what they are looking for and that is good because it forces you to put it all down in a professional manner. I used my plans from pitch competitions and business plan competitions to actually have right and ready to bust out at any real angel meeting pitches. I love that I can just jog over to my Dropbox folder and look up my last competition plan and get it all sorted just for them with out a lot of extra work. Whether you are using a business plan competition plan or if you use a back of a napkin, you need a plan. People want to hear that you've thought this thing through. Think of it like your cousin wants money from you ___ and yep, the reason they want money is blank. That's not good and I probably wouldn't give them any money. They don't know why they want it and where they'd use it and what they are going to do with it and how it can help them come back to you with interest. Then it's probably not a good idea to "invest" in your cousin's lack luster idea. Be ready. Have a plan. Learn More
#3 KNOW WHO YOU ARE
I always say its important to know who you are so that if a person says, well I'm interested in working with you but can you change your idea and can you make your idea do this and that, you can say NOPE that's not who I am and that's not what I do. Make sure you know what business you are in and what problem you are filling so that when other things look or get interesting you know how to say, no thank you. I stayed in a business venture WAY too long because it was sexy and interesting and gave me a lot of press. It wasn't good for me and it wasn't good for my family. I had to take a good look in the mirror and remember who and what I am and why I like being in business and walk quietly away from that other venture. It can be so hard to say goodbye once you've gotten involved so take it from one that has lost literally hundreds of thousands of dollars - don't even walk into what you are made or cut out for. Don't let the glitz and glam get you over excited and you completely miss the mark that can make you millions. FOCUS! Learn More I like this article that talks about knowing why you are in business. Take a quick read.
#4 BE HONORABLE
When I work with my biggest accounts and my investors, I always make sure that they know that I am honorable and I will pay on time and I will pay back and I will make money money money. I hold my end of the bargain every time and when I don't, I honorably call them or schedule a meeting to explain why I'm falling short. We have a HUGE honor culture in my office. I expect my employees to be honorable and honest and I expect my trade partners to be honorable. It's really my most important rule. I noticed that when I'm honorable to my investors they are more willing to help me in a crunch and help me fulfill my desires. I've built up a relationship action cycle where our relationship is good and based on honor so when I need them to take action the kindly feel comfortable to do it. And my honor with them is increasingly growing so that even if maybe my idea is not the best one for us to get into, I share my true feelings and we work together towards a goal.
#5 BE RELATIONAL
At the end of the day, I think people forget their investors should be their friends. If you don't feel like you can pick up the phone and call your investor with a question, an idea or a problem then rethink that relationship. I like to think I'm in relationship with my investor for a reason and it's not just for their funds in my business. I look at it like this, they are rich in money and wealth for a reason and I want to know more than just how I can fund my business but even how when my business makes me rich like them, how to act like a millionaire and also how to re-invest like a millionaire. See if your investor will allow you to meet with them on a regular cadence. Can you all golf together? Can you shop together? See how you can get some personal time so that you make the most of your relationship. They can get to know and learn you and you can get to know and learn them beyond their check writing skills!
I hope this is helpful if you have an investor or are looking for an investor. I've approached my one year anniversary with mine and I can't be more than happy. I tried Shark Tank and a ton of other opportunities, but it's like a good date, you know when you know and then you just GO! Good luck!
CEO UI Global Brands
Lifestyle and Business Coach