Finding investors is crucial to moving your business forward.
3 min read
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Whether you’re building a company or seeking investors, it’s important to use your connections. When it comes to networking, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. If you surround yourself with good people, it attracts more good for everyone.
Seventy-two percent of people say their first impressions are impacted by how personal appearance and a person’s handshake. When it comes to seeking out investors, the way you network — and how you find them — is crucial for the success of your business.
So how can you network your way to success and end up with a solid list of investors? Here are four tips.
1. Find the right people
Generally, your friends are in the same boat as you, and they want to make connections too. Start with connections that can be introduced to you through your network. If you have no network, jump into online forums and groups, and, once in-person events start again, go to conferences or try to get into accelerator programs. The key is to just get out there and align yourself with people who hold similar values. This takes a lot of time and effort, but you should try to meet people every day. You’ll see your network build slowly over time.
Related: Common Mistakes That May Cause Investors to Walk Away
2. Focus on them, not yourself.
It’s best to have other people introduce you if you can, so lean on your connections. If you can’t, then just say hi and be genuine. When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s important to be authentic and grateful for the conversation. Give a casual one-liner about yourself and then turn the conversation around to focus on the other person. Get to know people on a personal level, inject humor into the conversation, and open up. Ask a lot of questions and offer ideas focused on what they’re doing.
Once you have the network, you need to be able to offer something that people need and see the value in. Initially, think about how you can pay it forward by helping that person with their goals.
When you’re trying to meet investors, know that it takes time. The circle gets smaller the higher up you go. Once you’re in the conversation, you can open up and speak boldly about your company. Talk about your failures and your successes, share the mission of your company, and show tangible results about how you’ve made traction.
Related: How Networking and Relationships Propel Entrepreneurs to Succeed
3. Ask for the right things
Just as you start with your circle to network, you can ask for an introduction to one of their connections that you’ve always wanted to talk to. Often, investors love to introduce you to their network too, and it goes back to the principle of paying it forward. Never ask for money. If your idea resonates, investors are not shy to ask how they can get involved.
4. Know when it’s right
If there’s a spark, then they will see the value. These conversations take time, but it’s worth it because people are the biggest asset you have. You can’t teach people to care. You’ll know when you have the right investors in place because it will show up in their work.