So you’ve formulated a killer idea for a company, you’ve written the business plan, presented to investors and networked until you felt as if you could shake hands no longer. Now what? How do you take the step from meeting an investor to getting the funding that you need? Follow-up can be difficult, but it ultimately seals the deal for investments. Of course there is no exact formula for the best way to stay connected, but there are a few things that are definitely guaranteed to help.
Take advantage of networking opportunities
It is important that you do all that you can to lay the groundwork for investors to connect with you during the networking time that you have with them. There are a few tricks to make yourself memorable and to help you in assuring that an investor will connect with you after the networking time/event.
- Business Card – Collect as many as you can and hand out as many as you can! Be sure to organize them immediately afterwards. It’s a great way to organize a list of your contacts and get your name out there.
- Meetings – Don’t be afraid to ask a potential investor for a follow up meeting! If an investor seems particularly interested, ask them if they can meet for lunch or go for a cup of coffee to continue the conversation.
- Self-Promotion – Networking opportunities are the perfect time to promote yourself and your business as much as possible. Highlight your company’s strong points and touch on your team’s skills. Make sure to provide unique aspects of your business that differentiates you from the competition.
There is a reason that the most common way to stay in contact is through email. The first email you send doesn’t necessarily need to include a meeting request. Even a simple email saying that you enjoyed meeting the investor and appreciated the time that they spent speaking with you will help you stand out in their mind from other presenters. If the investor does not respond, it does not mean that they are not still interested! Be persistent. After you have sent an initial email, send a follow-up to your follow-up and ask for a meeting. Investors are busy people that often take a while to respond to emails, so again, don’t be completely discouraged if the investor does not immediately respond.
LinkedIn is a great way to keep investors updated and connected when it comes to your company and for you to keep yourself informed on what they’re up to as well. Do the best you can to add investors on LinkedIn the day or the day after you meet them.
One of the most obvious steps in staying connected with investors is to set up face-to-face meetings. Just a quick meeting over breakfast or coffee in a casual setting is a great way to learn more about investors and discuss your company’s objectives. Personal conversations about the investor’s interests and experiences are just as important as talking business.