4 Ridiculously Simple Ways to Impress Venture Capitalists

Every year, Canter Capital hears from hundreds of entrepreneurs hoping to secure funding on their hottest new project or idea. No matter how committed we are to supporting local emerging companies, the process can be daunting. Not every entrepreneur is a good fit and not every company makes for a good investment, but that doesn’t mean strong contenders don’t slip through the cracks.

If you’re one of the good ones, how can you ensure that your vision is being heard and that you stand out from the crowd?  Here are four ridiculously simple ways to give your pitch a fighting chance:

  1. Know Your Business

Bring a business plan to the table. This may sound obvious but all too often a “million-dollar idea” doesn’t have the framework of a functioning business. Any reputable venture capitalist will be more apt to fund a company with a functional business in motion as opposed to something that needs to be built from the ground up.

As with any business plan, the best place to start is with the basics. Outline what the competitive landscape looks like, what specifically your business does, how it is currently organized and how much funding you are requesting.

The final piece of this puzzle is having a thorough understanding of your metrics and long-term goals. Where are you now and where do you need to be? It is also imperative that you understand your financials inside and out before expecting to be funded. Any investor worth working with will see right through inflated numbers. And always present accurate information with your KPIs (key performance indicators) along with the most important drivers for revenue and costs.

  1. Start Networking Now

Alright, so you’ve completed your business plan, now what? In the startup and venture capital world a large percentage of success is not based on what you know, it’s who you know. Before you even consider haphazardly sending a blind introduction email or cold calling different venture capitalist firms, you should be networking and working towards an introduction.

Start by identifying the specific venture capitalists or companies with which you’d like to set a meeting. After this, investigate to see if you share any contacts. Leverage social media accounts to make connections that would not result from face-to–face interactions. Beyond using LinkedIn to identify shared connections, you can join conversations and integrate yourself into online communities using Facebook and Twitter, even Instagram! If you are able to make a great impression with an influencer, then you’re golden.

Don’t forget to utilize your existing rolodex. You should be reaching out to previous employers, family friends, your CPA or even college professors. Anyone who can get you that important introduction is worth your time.

  1. WIIFM?

Every venture capitalist wants to know the answer to this question. What’s in it for me? Venture capitalists will also ask the same question for the end client or consumer.

Presenting a plan equipped with a persuasive  value proposition that also has the end client in mind is hugely important. Would someone pay a premium for your product? Would people stand in line for it? If the answer is no, or if you have second thoughts then you need to rework your value proposition. The product or service you are pitching should fill a critical need for the end client and they must be willing to pay for it.

  1. Be Likeable

This is something that is easier said than done. You have worked very hard and are excited to pitch but it is important to listen critically to the questions asked and the feedback offered by venture capitalists. Show them why they should invest and prove the value of your business rather than telling them. Your audience is full of intelligent people who are tired of being sold ideas. Be passionate and find creative ways to get them excited about your project. This can also demonstrate that you are a great partner and you are fun to work with.

In summary, following these four basic tips gives you a better chance that your vision will be heard. And remember, although you may not meet the minimum requirements for some venture capital firms others are out there willing to invest smaller amounts. Be patient, be honest and you will find the right investor for your business.

Looking for more ways to improve your growing business or even a new neighborhood to set up shop? Follow our blog for weekly advice and industry insights.