Opinions expressed by entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
The success of a company often lies in the hands of its investors. Experienced investors bring insight, expertise and funding to a company, while long-term investors provide stability and sustainability. Both make the difference between a startup that will fail and a high-growth startup that disrupts markets and wins customers’ trust.
Finding investors is easy. There are many well-known and high-profile companies, venture capitalists, individuals and corporations willing to put their money where the inspiration is. The problem catches her attention. Your business needs to do more than present neat numbers and spreadsheets—it needs to show off and shine.
Here are six steps your business can take today to attract experienced investors and raise capital in a crowded environment.
See also: 7 essential tips for an effective fundraising strategy
1. Create an engaging story
Write an elevator pitch that goes beyond the fluff and fancy words. It should be weighty and detailed while remaining short and easy to digest. Don’t drown the reader in numbers, instead captivate them with information that leaves them wanting more. If so, you’ll then have at your fingertips a detailed business plan, personality credentials, and insight into your professional track record. These are the backbone of your company’s story and can mean the difference between an investor moving to the next level or retiring.
2. You are a commodity
You are one of the largest and most important parts of your business. Your history, professional track record, education and business acumen are invaluable to an investor. In an interview with the US Chamber of Commerce, Warren Buffett said, “When we own parts of great companies with great management, our preferred holding period is forever.” Take stock of your worth and use it whenever you attend a fundraising call.
3. Prove your potential
Your business plan is critical, but your growth potential in terms of metrics like financials, market analysis, target market acceptance, and scalability is more important to a potential fundraiser. Your sales data, market research and insights need to be relevant and grounded in reality. No matter how fantastic your elevator pitch or personal track record, if you don’t have the numbers on your side — or if your numbers are backed up incorrectly — an investor will back out of any deal.
Incorrect and misleading numbers are perhaps one of the biggest red flags for a seasoned investor. Never falsify the numbers or make them look better than they are because investors will notice and it will only discredit your company and damage your reputation.
See also: Fundraising vs Bootstrapping: How to Decide What You Need for Your Tech Startup
4. Make everything easy
Even if the creation of figures, business plan and research is far from easy, your presentation to an investor must be easy and smooth. Make your presentations and documents easy to understand and easy to navigate. Don’t pressure people to spend hours trying to figure out where numbers belong or why certain stats matter.
As Mark Sacca points out, “If you’re willing to invest in a company, you should be able to explain why in simple language a fifth grader could understand, and fast enough so that the fifth grader doesn’t get bored.” . ” Simplicity in presentation is key to attracting investors.
5. Differentiate and disrupt
Your company will stand out if it solves a problem no one has ever thought of. It stands out from the page when it answers a question no one knew they asked. Learn the intricacies of your business and how it differentiates itself from the competition.
You may face competition and backlash from competitors if your service or business is disruptive in an already established market. But stay strong because if your business is truly different and remarkable, then once the hype has died down and customers have stayed, the competition will shy away. What matters is your customer base and your investors.
6. Be prepared for rejection and learn from it
Rejection is normal in fundraising. You are likely to be rejected more often than accepted. This can be daunting, but it’s also an opportunity to learn more about your business and the mistakes you make in your sales pitches. Use these mistakes to create successes. Not only is this mindset incredibly useful for connecting with investors, but it will also impact how you approach challenges and roadblocks in your business.
See also: 10 Blessings Hidden in Rejection, Loss, and Failure
Once you’ve ticked all of those boxes and found your investors, you can use the funding to expand into new markets and strengthen your position in existing markets. You can use the grant to focus on consistent innovation that advances your business and attracts new customers.
An experienced investor will help you take intelligent steps forward in business growth, and they will also appreciate any pitch that recognizes why those steps are important. Sell your story, build your brand, streamline your paperwork and be as transparent as possible to stand out from the crowd and find the right funding path for the future.