Raising investment, particularly when you have very little evidence that your business can scale to a £100m behemoth, can be very time consuming and expensive. There’s one group of people that can make the process quick and efficient other than your existing investors and that’s your own network of contacts. Here’s 5 simple tips to maintaining a solid network who you can call upon when it’s time to raise funds.
- Tell a great story
Behind an epic blockbuster book is a great plot that ticks along at a pace that keeps the reader engaged throughout. You can do the same thing with your social media feeds posting news each week from your business- good and bad. It helps your audience understand how your company is developing and it shows you trust them to share information. When it comes to a funding round your followers won’t be surprised to hear from you and will be far more open to thinking about investing in your company. This is a strategy that works across all funding rounds from the crowd to a monthly update to the VC’s you have met.
- Be consistent
Hopefully your network are following you on multiple social media streams so make sure that all of your feeds are updated at the same time and with the same content. If, for example, you change your logo or any imagery then do so on on your social feeds too. Hey, even tell your audience why you’re doing it.
- Ask for advice
People don’t like being asked for money but they do love being asked for advice. Whether it be a new sales strategy, verification of a quote in a blog post or even a design element of your new site, you can always find someone in your network that can help. Once they have dispensed their advice you can use the network to thank them which creates a further buy-in to your company story.
- Create brand advocates
Once you have started a conversation with your network you can ask them to share your news with their networks which will increase your reach. If you manage to create brand advocates then you create believers and believers can be converted into investors.
- Manage expectations
Once you have raised some cash and you have to keep your investors happy. Any investor knows that investing into startups is risky and that all companies are going to hit bumps in the road. We’re going full circle back to point 1.- keep them abreast of good news as well as the bad. Explain what has happened, how you’re dealing with it and what the outcomes of your actions were. It will demonstrate your ability to adapt, survive and thrive and make the decision to invest at the next round much easier.