Investment is the linchpin of those early startup days, when resources are tight, and entrepreneurs are perennially strapped for cash. But finding investors isn’t easy; it’s rare that a startup skates through its early days in the seed funding stage, and then enjoys a steady increase in investment thereafter.
More often, entrepreneurs have to hustle. They have to network tenaciously, take meetings constantly, and have one ear to the ground at all times for a possible money connection.
One thing you learn fairly quickly is that investors aren’t in it “for the charity.” They have certain things they watch for – certain indefinable and concrete qualities that raise confidence. In this article, we review a few of those qualities. Here’s what investors look for in a startup.
Disruption isn’t just about doing things differently. It’s about bringing to bear new ideas and emerging technologies that can fundamentally overhaul an industry. It’s about speaking to an industry’s consumers in a new way – offering them a mode of service or method of business they didn’t even know existed.
Founder and CEO of Nobul, Regan McGee, summed it up best when he said “Anytime you bring innovative technology to the table that can make the process easier, it will be viewed as disruptive.” And when you can demonstrate true disruption in your startup, investors will take note.
In his interview with Superb Crew, McGee also had this to offer by way of advice: “A key element for any business venture is the ability to fulfill a need.” It’s a succinct way of communicating a universal truth about business. Your startup’s success is directly proportional to consumer needs.
Michael Glauser, author of Main Street Entrepreneur, agrees. He describes “need” as the single most important element of success. Speaking to Entrepreneur, he cautions aspiring founders against “falling in love” with a cute or clever idea that no one actually needs. Instead, startup entrepreneurs hoping to secure funding would do better to link their product or service to a common problem, positioning their company as the solution.
Passion, Belief and Drive
You can have a winning concept, one with disruptive potential that tackles a popular consumer pain point. But unless you follow it up with real passion, investors may overlook you.
Remember, investors are humans too. They aren’t analytical robots with a firm grasp of every industry’s ins and outs. They rely on you to tell them why your idea is exciting. Moreover, they’re like any other person – they respond favorably to enthusiasm, and may make decisions based on emotion and feeling.
Your belief in your idea will go a long way toward getting investors to believe in you. Get excited about your concept. And practice how to convey that excitement genuinely and earnestly.
Finally, investors look for growth potential. As financial investor David Bradshaw puts it, if your market is “only the 25 miles around your headquarters,” investors will struggle to see the growth potential in your idea. Before you reach out to investors, (ideally during the proof-of-concept and ideation stages), ensure that your idea appeals to a large enough market.
If you’re looking for startup investment, consider incorporating these tips from top entrepreneurs, investors and authors. Along with plenty of legwork, a few sleepless nights and a little luck, these tips can help you secure funding to get your big idea off the ground.