Despite the pandemic, the business world continues to turn, and businesses still need to find financial backers. However, in-person meetings and travel may be out of the question for now, making the process of finding investors significantly more challenging.
Fortunately, there are several ways to find funding for your new business, even in today’s remote-first world. Not sure where to begin? Try these 12 tips, shared with us by the members of Business Journals Leadership Trust.
1. Offer a compelling solution to a clear problem.
There is no question the current environment has changed the surface nature of investor meetings. However, the principles remain: Offer a compelling solution that solves a clear problem that targets the investor’s thesis. Be clear about who you are, what you have done and why this is a passionate issue for you. Be respectful of time. Above all, build credibility and be super actionable. – Kurt Scherer, C5 Capital
2. Create an omnichannel digital marketing strategy.
Work your digital marketing like never before, and create an omnichannel strategy. We use Google and LinkedIn to drive leads to our website, and we answer queries quickly. Responsiveness is the key to instilling investor confidence and nurturing interest. A follow-up on Zoom is essential because human connection matters more than ever. It’s also where your professionalism and passion can shine. – Erik Hayden, Urban Catalyst
3. Be pandemic-proof, recession-proof and defensible.
Make sure your business addresses three things. Be pandemic-proof: We all want to work with businesses that are profitable during the pandemic. Be recession-proof: Make sure that your model is strong and profitable during an economic downturn. Be defensible: Make sure that if someone sees what you’re doing they can’t come into your market and take your share. – David Wescott, Transblue
4. Do your research.
For those seeking funding in today’s mostly remote environment, it’s best to fully research any potential investor contacted. Find a way to convey, comprehensively yet concisely, how what you are doing matches up with their thesis. You might offer to share innovative market information you’ve learned that might benefit them. Make taking the time to talk with you a win-win. – Stacey Browning, CincyTech USA
5. Stay vocal and active in your online communities.
In-person meetings may not be happening anymore, but people are still discussing what’s important to them, albeit online. Find an online group that’s interested in your field or has similar goals, and keep up an active dialogue within the community. If your business is providing value to your community and it’s apparent in your work, they will find you. – Josh Green, Software Verde, LLC
6. Outsource your sales.
Having a dedicated partner to prospect and nurture leads and schedule appointments will save you both time and money since you won’t have to hire a team and invest in your own tools. This is time that can be spent serving your current customers or closing deals with qualified leads who have already expressed interest in your service. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group.
7. Network with previous investors.
Networking with previous investors is a great way to access new capital. New businesses have teams that have employment histories, and reaching out to previous investors within the company’s officers network is a great way to approach investors with a new venture. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
8. Stay in regular contact.
Establish a regular contact protocol with known and potential investors. Reaching out through both firm communications and personal messages via email, text or phone is the key. Second, follow leads, and follow those leads too. Be efficient with resources, but touchpoints are important. Encourage external-facing team members to do the same. – Jeffrey Bartel, Hamptons Group, LLC
9. Explore crowdfunding.
Given the current global financial circumstances, finding investors now is nearly impossible. An investment in a new business seems like a risky rather than a safe financial decision for investors. Instead, consider crowdfunding. Depending on your business model, GoFundMe and Kickstarter could be good starting points for finding funding for your business. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja
10. Launch social media and direct messaging campaigns.
Use an online fundraising platform combined with social media and direct messaging campaigns. The major online fundraising platforms offer business loans and donation-based debt and equity crowdfunding portals. – Joey Johnsen, Zeevo Group LLC
11. Show that you’ve considered the risks of Covid-19.
The challenge is not arranging a physical or virtual meeting with prospective investors. Rather, the challenge is to skillfully demonstrate to the investor that the investment has already factored in the added risk of Covid-19 and everything that goes with it. Investors want to be compensated for that risk, and rightfully so. It is the failure of businesses to appreciate this that creates the problem. – George Befeler, The Befeler Group
12. Participate in virtual events.
Investors are aggressively looking for investment opportunities. The current climate has not slowed down the flow of investment at all. Promote your venture as you would any new business. Be seen and heard by using best practices in marketing. Engage with local business incubators, universities and business centers. Take part in virtual events and never remain silent. You will be found. – Paul Weber, EAG Advertising & Marketing