How to Make Your Startup Appeal to Investors

business pitch

Standout from the crowd and catch the eye of a potential investor

Funding. It’s the one thing that has the power to make or break your startup, and finding the right investor is about more than a sleek business card or savvy pitch deck. In fact, to convince someone to sign on the dotted line and invest in your company, you’ll need a foolproof plan to not only sell your startup, but also your team and your vision. Here are a few tips that can help you break through the noise and garner enough attention to lock in some capital.

Let Results Speak

Sure, everyone knows how important it is to convey your startup’s “story”– the why of your product, the buzzworthy fact in your pitch. But before getting caught up in the intricacies of your particular offering, remember that investors are looking for results– they want to see if your story can, well, sell. When you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to offer investors these hard facts, so see if you can reframe results in a different way. Can you show user engagement and metrics? When you demonstrate other ways to measure the company’s success, you can prove to investors that you recognize good indicators of scaling your business and can speak to a larger story of how these early metrics will garner future interaction.

Answer “Why”

Investors aren’t only sold on big ideas with measurable results, they’re also looking for a company that can deliver on the bottom line–that is, provide a return on investment. Make sure that your startup can answer the big “why” early and often. By demonstrating that you’re aware of an investor’s concerns, you’ll show that you’re living beyond the world of your startup and displaying how your company is ready to respond to real world concerns. Even when it’s tempting to focus on your business model and outline its finer details, investors are waiting for you to answer one question, so do it for them.

Dive into Resources

Sure, securing an investor is an important step for startups, but so is tapping into community resources. By joining a local accelerator or partnering with an entrepreneurship organization nearby, you’ll slowly begin to build a network of movers and shakers who can provide not only valuable insight, but also funding opportunities. In fact, think of this network building as a chance to “soft sell” your startup. When talking with like-minded folks about startups or learning from advisors, you can try out your pitch and let them express concerns about any problem areas. Having these opinions at your fingertips will help you craft your pitch, and even your startup, into something that is innately attractive to investors.

Be Future-Minded

Even when you’ve outlined your business model or demonstrated your startup’s ROI, make sure that you demonstrate your future goals and flexibility. The ability to pivot, return to the drawing board or speak to multiple possibilities shows the potential of your business. Even if Startup A doesn’t work out the first time around, investors will be impressed that you have the foresight to address future challenges. Companies that fail are often the ones unwilling to look for a new solution or move on from their original idea. An openness to the future is key when appealing to investors.

Team First

Don’t forget, selling your startup isn’t just selling you, or selling you and your co-founder. Demonstrating that your company’s DNA is made up of people who can ensure your business will flourish is something investors are looking for. When funding a company, they want to be sure that you’re focused on building your startup from the inside with talented people who can help you grow. A diverse team will catch an investor’s eye, as it speaks to your willingness to acknowledge areas where you need help and know others can help you succeed. Telling the full story of your company’s crew is an important step to differentiating yourself from the crowd.

As you look for an investor, remember it’s not all about the check. Finding someone who supports your vision with these foolproof tactics will help your startup scale.

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