[“4 Key Ways to Market Yourself to Investors” originally appeared on CIO and is written by Andre Bourque.]
Entrepreneurs looking to raise capital are learning a universal lesson as of late: today’s investors want to see traction before they open their checkbooks. That is, they want to see that a business is already making money or generating an audience before they jump on board with an idea.
Think about it from the investor’s perspective. There are so many great “ideas” out there, but the reality is, the execution and the team behind an idea is what actually drives business. And with increased access to data and social platforms that gauge audience interest, investors are able to make more informed decisions than ever.
That’s not to say that it’s next to impossible to gain investor interest if you’re just starting out — but you do have to be a great marketer. Here are a few pointers.
Cut to the chase in pitch meetings
You’ve probably heard Albert Einstein’s old phrase “If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t understand it well enough.” Well, the same applies to giving a great elevator pitch to investors.
When you’re talking about your business, it can be easy to get too wordy or overcomplicate your description (because you think it sounds cooler that way). But actually, explaining your product simply and elegantly has the most impact.
Remember, attention spans are short, so you have to grab investors’ attention by speaking in a language they’re comfortable with.
Execution is critical
You can have a great product and a solid strategy — but if you don’t know how to properly execute your go-to-market plan, your business could fall apart before it ever gets off the ground. Investors know this firsthand.
“Savvy investors are looking for a combination of a great innovation combined with an ability to execute,” says John Bara, president and CMO of Mintigo — a company that recently received a $15 million Series D investment from Sequoia Capital Israel. “One without the other is an incomplete and therefore riskier package. Be sure to project both.”