As entrepreneurs adapt to navigate our new normal, the need to secure funding is still front and center. Salim Elkhou, the founder and CEO of Onna, elaborates how going about this process strategically can help set founders up for success.
With employee and investor anxiety at an all-time high, it’s understandable that venture capitalists and angel investors are reluctant to rely on Zoom meetings and video calls to successfully maneuver a seamless funding process. As entrepreneurs pivot to navigate our new normal, here are five ways to ace that next investor pitch.
1. Start With a List of Potential Investors and Narrow It Down Quickly
Make sure to ask people in your network for introductions and be strategic about sifting through your list of target investors quickly. Time is essential, and you don’t want to have indefinite conversations over a long period. Create a list of individuals that you have an existing rapport with, then leverage this network to ask for introductions. Narrowing down this list quickly will save you time.
2. Be Organized From Day One
Start by being as organized as possible. While pitching investors, you don’t want to drag out the process over several weeks or months. Move your conversations forward swiftly to make sure you create a competitive landscape. Being prepared is key, so investors don’t inundate you with requests that you need to scramble to respond to.Â
A good idea is to create a data room with all the documents an investor will request from you. Your goal should be laser-focused on pushing conversations forward, building relationships, and maintaining momentum â€“ staying hyper-organized from the start will help you throughout this process.
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3. Pitching Is a Full-Time Job
Building relationships with investors and perfecting your pitch is a full-time job. Be prepared to spend all of your time focused on raising funds. To maintain momentum in your organization at the same time, partner with someone in your business to work with your customers and teams while you are running this process.
4. Embrace the Fact That This Is a Long-Term Partnership
Even though most conversations are 100% online currently, finding common ground on a personal level is still critical. Find a way to connect emotionally with the investor on the other end of the screen. Embrace the possibility that you may not meet some of the senior decision-makers in person, even after the investment has been made. Because of this challenge, you still need to find a way to have investors â€˜get to know you.’Â
Realize that you are not alone in trying to navigate building rapport remotely â€“ professionals across the world are still getting used to the typical in-person â€˜handshake’ being done on a Zoom call. Take a moment to highlight your values, tell jokes, and share recent personal milestones (for me, it was the birth of my first child). Showcase why your character and personality align well with the person on the other end of the video call.
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5. Investors Organically Follow Great Brands
Focus on bringing value to your customers, crafting a fantastic culture for your team, and spearheading big ambitions around your company’s mission. Think about how to propel forward the organization’s goals and support your team with everything in your arsenal. Your people will take you anywhere â€“ as long as you create a valuable brand and product and show strong potential for success, investors will want to take part in it.
For entrepreneurs and investors alike, the fundraising process has changed significantly since the start of the pandemic. This has sparked various new challenges as investors seek to identify new opportunities and company founders rush to prove that their business is well-positioned for success. By embracing long-term partnerships and proving steadfast value as a business, entrepreneurs can still successfully secure funding â€“ even amidst an uncertain future.