For many business owners there is always the temptation to seek and bring on board investors both for the reason of money injections and / or for the connections and help that investor(s) can bring to the table.
There are many ways in which investors can be found and there is every opportunity that each and every decent business will have an investor out there for them. It is also important to remember that most investors are insiders in that they will be family and friends or those already well known to them – I can vouch for that myself on a few investments I have had in to my businesses!
Here are different ways in which you can find investors:
Insider: The best and most frequent way to find investors is via friends and family. You should present your business / business ideas to those closest to you and see if you can raise any money this way, many times you will get support and sometimes not even a request of any percentage split of your business neither shareholding – Most of those close to you want to see you succeed and will always support you in your endeavours to be so.
Local Business Networking: The best way to initiate your business journey is to network and usually this is via local, mostly breakfast style, networking events that are made of varied business professionals at different stages in their journey. Some attendees will be employees and others will be local business owners to include entrepreneurs. Here you can not only, though not often, find investors, but mostly connections to potential investors – When you network you should remember not only the people you deal with face to face, but their connections too.
Similar Businesses: If you have a decent start-up and most certainly if it is showing promise, then why not approach similar businesses and gage their interest in what you are doing. Maybe they will ignore you, maybe they will be interested in partnering / sponsoring / investing / buying you out / headhunting you!
Events / Shows: A great way to mingle with potential investors is to put yourself in amongst target audiences and these gather at the likes of events / shows where not only exhibitors, but attendees are there to network with. Many shows will have an array of people attend from beginners to senior level icons, the bigger and more acclaimed the show is the better.
Make yourself known: You will need to carefully practise this, but what about putting yourself where your investors are likely to be? How about visiting the offices of a potential investor and politely ask to see them and patiently wait in the reception area if they are busy? Any budding newcomer to an industry that shows such determination, though always in a respectful manner, is highly likely to intrigue the curiosity investors.
Social Media: Nearly every potential investor you are after will be on social media and especially LinkedIn. They are all open to be connected with so why not do some research and get connecting!
Venture capitalists: You can go straight to VC’s via dedicated companies or direct to them in person – Many investors make themselves known and even give you the opportunity to pitch your business to them via online forms.
Crowdfunding / Seed Funding: If you have time to prepare a decent pitch then you can use services that allow you to pitch to their audiences online – A live funding round will run and you are able to get your concept in front of many level of investors.
Media / Press: The BBC Dragons Den still exists and invites pitches! There are many other relevant TV shows, or user generated media channels such as on YouTube, where you can look to pitch your business to.
Awards: A great way of raising attention to what you are doing is by gaining awards. Not only is it a great PR opportunity, your business is likely to be closely looked at by judges and if you win awards you will get plenty of after media attention within your business sector and investors are always on the look out for the next best thing!