What if getting the money you want for a project is really about good listening? Very good listening? In some ways, it is. To encourage someone to invest in your dream, you must understand theirs. How do you do that?
1. Research, research, research
Research is a way to listen to your potential investor. Find out everything you can about someone you want to approach: who they are, their lifestyle and interests, businesses they own or owned and businesses or ventures or causes they support.
The most important information you can obtain, though, is what excites and motivates this person you want to approach, what gives purpose to their life. You can discover their motivating purpose by reading between the lines about how they have spent their time and money.
2. Make yourself transparent
Just as you want to know as much as you can about the person you approach, they will want to know about you. Make that easy for them. Write a clear business plan with an excellent mission statement. That will make it easy for a potential investor to know what drives you. Provide financial statements for your organization, and be certain they show how well-run your project or organization is. Also be sure you can demonstrate how your expenditures accomplish your stated mission.
3. Know why your project is important and how it fulfills your potential investor’s passions and goals
Plan how to make that connection for your investor in the course of your meeting.
4. Personalize your project or business for your investor
Have ready selected details about yourself and your staff. Make these details part of the conversation so a potential investor can feel a personal connection to you and your team.
5. Work out in advance reward specifics that will be satisfying to your investor
Some investors like publicity — how will you make that happen for them? Some investors like a hands-on role in advising. How can you structure that in a way that’s valuable to you and to an investor? Some investors feel gratified when they see how a project is fulfilling a need or cause important to them. How will you give your investor an opportunity to see and experience the impact of their investment?
So your homework is really about listening, very good listening. Know who your potential investor is, and be prepared to let your investor get to know you and your staff in a targeted way. Let him or her begin to visualize themselves as an important part of the world you are presenting in your business plan.
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