The total investment of angel investing in 2014 reached $24.1 billion with 73,400 entrepreneurial ventures receiving funding, according to the Center for Venture Research at the University of New Hampshire.
Although this showed a 2.8 percent decrease from 2013, the numbers still show strong activity with investors looking for new business. But with thousands to millions at stake, investors are more discerning than ever on who they want to fund.
Getting in front of an investor is every female entrepreneur’s dream, but getting in the door only scratches the surface. Whether you have a small business developing a product or hoping to raise another round of funding, nailing your investment meeting is key.
Start by refining your elevator pitch and knowledge of your business and end with a memorable, tangible thank you, whether a luxury gift basket or innovative arrangement to stand out from the crowd. But the real work lies in the middle as you juggle pitch decks, numbers and questions on the fly.
Know your Business
Going deep into every facet of your business and knowing it inside and out is crucial before stepping into an investor meeting. Refine your elevator pitch and condense it down into a few sentences and key points to get started. Quickly convey what problem you solve and its solution whether you’re running a tech start-up or developing wearable technology.
Developing a robust business plan is an in-depth way to see exactly how your business runs, but it’s unlikely an investor will actually read it. Create a pitch deck, or Powerpoint presentation, with thorough details on the most important key points. The pitch deck will serve as a summary of your business plan and is often requested ahead of your meeting. Just like your business, know your pitch deck inside and out and ask colleagues to run through the presentation with you until you perfect it.
Run the Numbers
Your main goal when meeting with investors may be securing as much funding as possible as quickly as possible. But in reality, investors want to see that your company is already financially healthy with the potential for a return on their investment. Delay making the rounds to investors if your business is on shaky ground and spend time working on your financial stability.
Research & Prove
Perform enough market research and gather customer feedback to show your business or idea for a product is a viable one. Kickstarter is an excellent starting point for developing and getting feedback on the idea. It’s also a great place to put feelers out for investors. According to an article in Inc. Magazine, there are more female investors than male on Kickstarter, which lends an advantage because women invest in women.
Showing investors that your idea is already in the stages of success and proving that your concept works can give your chances of further funding a significant boost.
Michael Slavin, the founder and CEO of Privlo, recommends estimating your funding needs and then doubling them. You’ll cover yourself for unexpected expenses and start out with strong cash flow instead of treading water. It also saves you from scrambling to find other investors or coming back for more money down the road. He also encourages retaining a controlling stake or you risk being voted out of your own company by shareholders.