During my time as an early-stage investor, I would get super-frustrated every time a team of enthusiastic and energy-ridden entrepreneurs would come through the doors of our offices ill-prepared for our meeting. The idea they have may be great, the team may rock but it was a blow to the stomach to hear their lacklustre and uncertain responses to a basic stream of questions that they really should have anticipated and prepared for in advance of the meeting.
Putting in so much effort on the product or service, the team-build and the networking all gets compromised when poor planning is evident at a fundraising meeting. As such, I have outlined what I believe as being the 5 key areas entrepreneurs need to have a key grasp of before setting up meetings with investors.
1. Explain your team
One of the most important things any type of investor will be interested in will be knowing more about the team of guys that they are backing to deliver a return on their investment. It really is about the team more than your business idea or the fancy suit you wear to the meeting (!) that will help you clinch the funding you want. Ideally an investor needs to understand why the team is made up with who is in it and what contribution to the growth of the business each individual will have. Individually, all of you should be able to demonstrate why you want to be part of the journey of a start-up or small business and explain any relevant experience you have of the role you are being asked to carry out in the team, and / or previous experiences of working in start-ups and with investors.
As a team, you all should be able to explain how you work as a team and what team strengths are. A toolkit of complimentary and balanced skills is what an investor is keen to see rather than Lone Rangers who have yes-men around them to boost their ego! As a team you should be able to explain what you are looking to achieve through the business and what your personal aims are. Hint: don’t say you want to be retired in two years and on the beach sipping Mai Tai’s if the rest of your team is focused on the long-term. In fact, don’t say you want to be sipping Mai Tai’s any time soon, period. Saying you want to be gazillionaires is fine as long as that’s not your only aim and motivation for being at the meeting. Show ambition. Show confidence. Show assurity that you have confidence in the product or service you are building and in its near-term market potential.