The prospect of raising funds can be terribly daunting. You believe in your product or service, and that’s an important first step. Now, you’ve got to persuade several other people, with no loyalty to you whatsoever, that not only is your product or service great, but it’s so great they should actually invest their own money in your idea. It’s a lot to ask someone, but it can be a very successful way of starting and growing your business. Make sure you’re prepared to speak eloquently and thoroughly about all aspects of your business. The more confidence you have, the more likely your investors are to open their checkbooks. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare your investor meetings.
Know your market
Once you’ve established that you have a viable product or service, it’s time to do the market research. You’ll want to have a very thorough understanding of your market, and the more specific, the better. Try to narrow your research down by geography, age, income or other niche markets that will be easier for you and your marketing team to target. In order to persuade an educated investor, you’ll want to be able to speak credibly about your market, its size and the competition.
Know your product
Knowing your product can easily be one of the most overlooked aspects of speaking about your product or service. Not only should you be able to talk about what it is you’re offering, but also about what market or need it fills and why it’s unique. Every new business starts with an idea, and you just need to make sure that your new business idea is solving a problem or meeting a need that hasn’t been met yet. Otherwise, no investor will be interested in going beyond the first meeting. Customer data, consumer surveys, focus groups and other types of data are perfect for establishing the credibility of your new business proposal.
One very basic fundamental for a new business is a S.W.O.T. analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Not only will the analysis help you as you complete your business plan, but it’s a great tool to have handy for potential investors to look at. By completing a thorough S.W.O.T. analysis, you’ll be prepared to talk about your business’s overall strengths while you compare it to the rest of the market.
Don’t leave out the personal touch. As you’re preparing to meet with investors, be sure to take the time to highlight your team and the specific people that are uniquely qualified to bring this product or service to the market. Not only are you asking investors to believe in your product or service, but you’re also asking them to believe in you, so make sure you are well equipped to highlight your own personal achievements and qualifications.
This article was written by Gillian Kruse of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.