In a discussion I had with Angela Watts, Co-Founder of Slyde Handboards, she shared 4 tips to help you raise capital for your small business, per her own personal journey.
It's true, everyday we hear of a new startup ideas (some more obscure than others) that have been able to get funding in order to jump-start their small business. It sounds like a piece of cake, but as Angela can attest it takes years of hard-work and preparation to secure investment.
1. Create a solid business plan, pitch deck and financial model that YOU personally understand. There are a variety of business advising companies that will write a professional business plan, pitch deck, and financial model for you. It all seems so simple and easy, but pitching a plan someone else has created, can be unnatural, and result in the inability to answer hard-hitting investor questions. First do your own research, create your own business plan and then seek outside help to fine tune the plan, and coach you thru understanding not just an overview but each and every detail of your business inside and out.
2. Find a mentor or advisor and apply for incubators, springboards, and accelerators.
Now that you have your business plan, pitch deck, and financial model pitch ready, it's time to show you are serious about your business and are willing to put the work in. There are numerous incubators, accelerators and springboards to help take your business to the next level. Often times as a small business owner we become so wrapped up in our business, an outsiders, knowledge, insight, and support can be invaluable.
3. Network, pitch, network, pitch, network, pitch.
Put your business pitch on a spin cycle, pitch and repeat, over and over again.
Start by attending as many events as possible, business clubs, angel investor meet-ups, chamber of commerce events, and any event someone might be interested in your business. Also let your family and friends know you're looking for investment and have them help spread the word. Consider pitching for investment nearly a full-time job, but remember the more you pitch, the more confident you get.
4. Always be ready for investment opportunities, they can happen at anytime.
Remember, it's always better to be over prepared than under prepared. As Miguel de Cervantes said "To be prepared is half the victory."In raising capital just like in life, it often goes back to the right place, right time, right person. In Angela's case her brother was on an airplane editing on a video for their youtube page and the guy sitting next to him loved what he saw. Just from the short video of their company, he asked her brother if we were looking for investment and of course her brother knew they were and told him yes. The angel investor asked her send over their business plan, pitch deck and financials and two weeks later he invested in her small business.
Investors are constantly looking to invest (that's their job), a small businesses owners job is to be properly prepared when opportunity strikes. Perhaps Henry Hartmen said it best, "Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity."