How to find investors for a startup…quickly!

A recent report from Beauhurst and SFC Capital* reveals that it takes, on average, 15 months to find investors for a startup and close a first funding round. Small wonder that people say raising investment is time-consuming and a distraction! But almost all startups need investment at some point so how do you find investors for a startup quickly?

How to find investors for a startup
How to find investors for a startup…quickly!

Focused For Business runs Funding Accelerator to make it quicker and easier for startups to raise investment. Hatty Fawcett, the programme’s founder, asked graduates from the programme how they found investors for a startup. This “How to” guide is the result.

1. Be realistic

Ask any founder who has raised investment “How long did it take to raise investment?” and you’ll get the response “Longer than I thought!”.

Raising investment is time consuming. You have to treat a funding round like any project and make time for it. All the founders I spoke to recommended scheduling time in your diary every day for investor conversations and correspondence.  

If you want to raise funding, schedule time to make it happen.

2. Set a timeframe for your funding round

Raising investment is a distraction from running your business. You don’t want to prolong any distraction (and certainly not finding investors for a startup)! Being clear about when you want funding, aligning all your activity to that goal and minimising time-wasting activity is the key to success.

Focused For Business recommend its clients treat fund raising as a three month campaign. The first month is about preparing your investment opportunity – perfect the positioning, messages and all the documents investors will need. In the second month you want to focus on meeting investors. Aim to book at least 3 or 4 meetings a week. The final month is about corralling offers, completing due diligence and closing the round.

Keep focus by treating fund raising as a three month campaign.

3. Don’t waste time talking to the wrong investors

Investors, like startups, come in many shapes and sizes. When trying to find investors for a startup you need to segment all the available investors and focus on the ones that are most like to back your startup – based on your stage of development, sector and size of raise.

Don’t waste your time talking to Venture Capital (VCs) if you don’t yet have revenue, focus on angel investors and early-stage funds that do back pre-revenue startups. One of the challenges faced by VCs in particular, is that they need to keep their market knowledge and awareness of the competition up to date. They will often meet with startups in sectors they are interested in, even when they know they can’t investor in that startup at such an early stage. Whilst it may be flattering for a pre-revenue startup to get a meeting with a VC, it is very unlike to result in investment and therefore it is a distraction to be avoided!

Get clear which investors back startups at your stage and in your sector and focus on these.

4. How to find investors for a startup like yours

Having segmented the different types of investors, focus on reaching out to those investors that do back startups like yours.

Hugo Shephard, founder of Role Models recommends starting with your own network.

“I found my network was better [at delivering investment] than any angel network or introducers’ contact list.”

Statistically, it is most likely that your initial investment commitments will come from people who know you.

Angel networks can be a good place to find groups of investors – and the UK BAA provide a directory of UK angel networks. Be wary of events that are ill defined as there is a risk that you will end up pitching to investors who are not interested in your startup. 

Claire Ayres, co-founder of Twist Teas experienced this first hand

“Pitch events can be quite unfocused if an angel network doesn’t specialise by sector or stage of development. It can also be difficult to do any direct follow-up as the network’s are protective of their members’ contact data.”

There are an increasing number of online platforms that connect investors and founder, including Angel Investment Network, Connectd, Angel List, Gust and Crunchbase to name but a few. However, to get the best result from these platforms you need to commit to researching and reaching out to specific investors on an individual basis.

Knowing which investors are interested in startups like yours is what matters. There are a number of ways you can research this.

Sifted provides a curated list of angel investors but, like any list it can become outdated quite quickly.

Alternatively, if you can identify competitors or companies operating in a similar market to yours who have recently received investment, you can use a number of methods to find out who backed those businesses. You can look the company up on the Companies House website, or use databases like Beauhurst or PitchBook, to find the names of their investors. Armed with this information you can find for ways to be introduced to the investors.

Specialist accelerators, which are usually focused on a particular sector or stage of development are another way of getting introductions to appropriate investors. Funding Accelerator, for example, focuses on startups raising investment for the first time and makes introductions to investors who invest at pre-seed and seed stage.

There are lots of ways to find investors – but an introduction gets the best response.

5. Get an investor’s attention quickly

Having found suitable investors you want to get their attention quickly.

If you can’t get a personal introduction to your target investor, then personalise your approach. Make reference to what you know about them. For example, you might open a conversation with “I know you are passionate about….and have invested in ….” 

Having made a connection, lead with a piece of information that makes your startup standout. This could be strong revenue growth, a well-known company that is a key customer or third party endorsement of your product or service in the form of an industry award or customer feedback.

Personalise your outreach to investors.

6. Busy people won’t give you long to get to the point

Serious investors are busy people, they won’t give you long before they have made up their mind whether this opportunity is for them…or not! Focused For Business’ research shows that investors give you between two and five minutes before deciding whether to meet with a startup. In that time, they are looking for seven key pieces of information (7 Essentials that unlock startup equity investment) that allow them to assess whether this is an opportunity for them. It is why your executive summary is your most important investment document when it comes to investor outreach. Hugo Shepherd speaks to this point

“We spent a lot of time crafting our pitch messages – not just our pitch deck. We also used a graphic designer to help us convey our message visually. We received a lot of positive feedback on our pitch materials. Making a good first impression definitely helped us get meetings with investors.”

A well-crafted one page executive summary helps investors see the opportunity for themselves so they can make a decision to meet you.

7. Keep up momentum

When you have an investor “on the hook”, just like a fisherman, it is your job to reel the investor in. Do not expect – or wait for – an investor to take the initiative.

Once an investor has seen your one-pager and agreed they are interested in the opportunity, your aim should to book a meeting at which you can use your pitch deck to explain the opportunity in more detail. Be ready to divert from the flow of your pitch to respond and provide detail on the specific things that interest each investor. Some investors want to know about the team first, others the market opportunity in terms of USP, market size or competition.

If the meeting goes well you should expect to leave an investor with a detailed financial forecast which makes it easy to explore the commercials of the opportunity.

Different investors focus on different aspects of the deal, be ready to follow an investors interests.

8. Gauge interest and intent – not all investors are serious

“Serious investors make a decision quickly – usually within 2 or 3 calls. Either they like the business or they don’t”

This was Hugo Shephard’s experience. He cautions against investors who keep coming back with more and more questions.

It is your job to spot which investors are serious and which are just “kicking the tyres”.

Having your Term Sheet ready is a great way to sort out who is serious, and who isn’t. This is a non-binding document, but very useful in working out who is really interested in making an investment commitment.

Use a Term Sheet to work out who is serious about making an investment, and who isn’t.

9. Create FOMO

In order to negotiate the fairest deal for all parties, you want to attract more than one offer of investment. Ideally you want investors lining up to offer you more investment than you actually need. That puts you in the driving seat and allows you to negotiate terms.

To drive multiple investment commitments you need to be come skilled at using the progress you’ve made in the business to maximum effect. You want to use your successes and achievement to create a sense of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). By releasing news  – about a new signed customer contract, a new commitment from an investor, securing a lead investor – you show progress in the business and encourage those who haven’t yet committed to come off the fence and back your startup.

As Claire Ayres explains

 “We went back to investors that we had spoken to early in our investment round, but who had not committed to an investment, to update them on our progress. We used FOMO to allow us to double the investment we raised overall.“

Hugo Shephard followed suit

“Whenever a big investor came on board, I would send out an email to my investor database and use FOMO to re-open conversations with investors who hadn’t previously committed, or who were sitting on the fence, to see if they would follow the investor who had committed.”

Running a “rolling round”, such as SeedLegals SeedFast to bank commitments as they are made  whilst also keeping the round open, allows you to start spending to deliver more progress in your startup and thus creating a virtuous circle.

Go back to potential investors with updates as the story of your business (and funding round) develops.

10. Surround yourself with people on a similar journey

Raising investment is a tough and surprisingly lonely job. Being part of a community of founders as committed as you, not only gives you access to new insights, tips and insider knowledge of what is working and what is not, but it also helps you to keep motivated and can even makes the process of raising investment fun! Funding Accelerator and Startup Masterminds: Funding provide support for the funding journey.

Surround yourself with other founders who are raising to maintain your motivation.

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If you would like help to find investors for a startup, of if you would like to explore your funding options further, Book a Funding Clinic

* Seeding to Succeed: Beauhurst and SFC Capital, July 2021

Should you raise startup funding from friends and family?

So you think you need to raise funding for your startup? You may be right, but before you being to raise startup funding from friends and family, take a moment to assess whether your startup is ready for investment. It is so much easier to raise investment when you have traction.

Should you raise startup investment from family and friends

There comes a point when all startups need investment. As Founders, we do what it takes to build our startups, to make our vision a reality. We use our savings, we load up the credit card and we bootstrap to fund our startups but if this isn’t enough to get the business to “traction” (the point at which professional investors get involved), the next best option may be to raise startup funding from family and friends.

Startup investment is very likely to come from people you know

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that a startup’s first funding round will come, predominately, from people known to the business. So speaking to friends and family isn’t a bad idea in itself. People who know you, your skills, strengths and experience, are more likely to believe you can take your startup to the next stage. They know your abilities. They trust you. They are, in effect, backing you.

But, should you do it? Should you raise startup funding from friends and family?  Should you take money from your nearest and dearest when there is, inevitably, risk involved. If things don’t go to plan with your startup, will you regret mixing business and personal relationships?

What does it mean to raise startup funding from friends and family?

Before we explore the emotions that arise when you raise startup funding from friends and family, let’s consider the different forms this type of funding might take. Friends and family funding could be:

  • a gift – with no expectation that the money will be paid back
  • a loan – perhaps with low or no interest and a long loan period
  • a commercial arrangement where you offer shares (equity) in your startup in exchange for the cash.

All of these options could give you the cash injection your startup needs but, with the possible exception of money offered as a gift, the money comes with expectations – some of which may be explicit, but not all!

Relationships with friends and family run deep. When you raise startup funding from friends and family the people who back you trust you – with their hard earned cash. Depending on their education, career and financial situation they may not realise the risk they are taking. The implications can be far-reaching.

I know one founder whose father invested in his startup and – when that business failed – the father lost all the money he had invested. As a result father and son didn’t talk for years. Worse still, the father almost refused to attend his son’s wedding. A betrayal of trust isn’t easily forgotten so proceed with caution when raising startup funding from friends and family!

Be clear about the risks

Approach any conversation with friends and family with frankness and honesty. Nine out of ten businesses fail in the first two years of trading. Running a business is challenging and influenced by some factors beyond the Founders control. Make sure anyone making an investment in your startup realises this. Business Angel investors know the risks and are usually in a position to spread their risk across a number of investments. Your friends and family may not be in a position to do this. They may only be backing your startup.

Explain this is a long term investment

There is no quick return on an investment in a startup either. Indeed, if you raise startup funding from friends and family, they are unlikely to see any of that money back for a good few years. Startups don’t pay dividends. Early investors, and this includes friends and family, don’t get their money back until there is an “exit”. That generally means until the startup has grown to such an extent that another business (or other investors) want to buy the business. It takes time (between 5-10years generally) to get to an “exit”. Can your friends and family wait that long for their money back?

Consider the impact of future raises – and don’t over-value today

Then there is the issue of valuation. Valuing any early-stage business is complex but valuing a fledgling startup is very difficult. It is often difficult to know where you start. There is also a risk. If you get the valuation wrong you could end up selling too much of your business at too early a stage. This can then hamper your ability to raise further rounds. As new investors come on board, the Founder and other shareholders become “diluted”. Depending what proportion of shares were sold originally, you may find you no longer own enough of the company to take on new investors and maintain control of the business.

To raise startup funding from family and friends can be a good route

Nevertheless, raising startup funding from friends and family can still be a good option – and may be your only option. But, if you want to stay friends, full transparency and honesty are essential. You have to be responsible about what people are getting involved in. Be open about the risks.

You can enthuse about the opportunity – but you must also level with everyone about the risk. The decision to invest is then theirs to take, or not. It gives your friends and family the opportunity to choose whether or not to invest and at a level that hopefully won’t sour your relationship if things don’t go to plan. It moves the transaction onto a business footing.

Being honest in this way creates space for personal choice, without any feeling of pressure that family and friends might feel to support you at all costs. As the Founder, you must also be willing to accept any answer with good grace, especially if that answer is a “no”.

If you can do that without ranker or grudge it gives you freedom. Freedom to ask almost anyone to consider an investment in your business. And that opens a world of potential investors to you.

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Find out whether your startup is ready to raise investment by taking the Startup Investment Score card

7 Essentials that unlock Start-up equity investment

Different people like different things. Take cakes for example. Would you choose chocolate or fruit cake? It’s worth remembering this when it comes to raising start-up equity investment. Different investors like different opportunities for different reasons.

Image of a cage dollar bill with the words 7 Essentials that unlock Startup equity investment

For some investors it’s all about sector – what’s hot, disruptive or growing fast? For others it’s about the stage of development. Some investors like to get in early, others like to wait till the business is scaling. For many investors the management team behind the business really matters. The point is, you can’t predict the individual preferences and foibles of investors.

Communicate what is on offer

You can’t predict, but you can communicate clearly what is on offer. The quicker an investor understands what is on offer, the quicker they can decide if they will back you, or not. Raising investment is time consuming. It’s a distraction from your real job of growing your business. You don’t want to waste time talking to people who are not interested in what you have to offer – so make sure you are clear and succinct in your communication. Give people the information they need to make the right choice for them.

The ingredients of success

Most cakes have four essential ingredients (flour, butter, sugar and eggs). Similarly, most investors taste test the appeal of a start-up equity investment against four ingredients:

  1. Opportunity – what is the problem the business solves for its customers? How big is the market? Are there many competitors in the sector?
  2. Traction – investors don’t back hunches or ideas. They want evidence that demonstrates how effectively the business develops products and recruits and monetises customers. They want to know how established the product range and marketing strategy are?
  3. Team – who is behind the business? What motivates them? Do they have the skills, experience and relationships to deliver a successful business?
  4. Deal – how much investment does the business need and what equity is offered in exchange for that investment? Is that realistic and fair?

7 Essential Ingredients

When you dig into the detail of what investors look for in order to make a start-up equity investment, there are 7 Essential ingredients investors look for to unlock start-up equity investment:

1. The problem your business solves for customers

Customers don’t buy products. They buy solutions to problems they face. What problem does your business solve for its customers? How does it do this better than anyone else?

2. The market size and targeting approach

This is usually addressed in terms of the Total Addressable Market (TAM), the Serviceable Available Market (SAM) and the Serviceable Obtainable Market (SOM).

The Total Addressable Market is the number of people who could buy your product. This show investors the ultimate size of the market and is usually demonstrated with industry sector research reports.

The Serviceable Available Market draws a picture of the customer segments your business can reach given your geographic/financial/product constraints.

The Serviceable Obtainable Market – or your target market – identifies the customer segments you intend to target first. Given all businesses have limits to their marketing budget you have to focus somewhere, even if you will extend to other segments at a later date. Different customer segments have different needs and most start-ups choose to focus their attention on customers who have the strongest need and ability to pay.

3. Monetising the market and growing revenue over time

How does your start-up make money? Investors expect to see clear revenue streams. Ideally more than one as this de-risks the opportunity. A detailed 3 year (or sometime 5 year) forecast should tell the story of your start-up’s growth trajectory in numbers.  

4. Traction

Traction provides evidence – or proof, if you will – of what the business has achieved so far. Traction is an equation . It isn’t something that happens over night. It is an iterative process which showcases not just your start-up’s ability to deliver, but that you have the grit and determination to perform over the long term. Running a start-up is a marathon not a sprint!

5. Brilliant team

However good your business strategy and executional plan, it is people who make things happen. Does the team behind your start-up have the skills, experience and relationships to deliver the strategic drivers that will make your start-up thrive?

6. Ask

Cash is king, right? Investors need to understand how much money your business needs to succeed. They are not interested only in what X or Y costs, but that you have also thought about how much time it will take you to achieve key milestones in your start-ups development. There is nothing worse than the cash running out before you have reached a critical milestone that unlocks the next stage of start-up equity investment.

7. Valuation and term sheet

If all the elements of your start-up strategy are in place, then investors will assess the deal. What are you offering in exchange for investment? Does that taste good or not? Most founders focus on valuation (the percentage of equity (shares) they are offering in exchange for a cash investment), but the detail in the term sheet is important too. What type of shares are on offer? When do they vest? Who will sit on the board to represent shareholders? It all influences the appeal of the deal.

Investors are busy – the 7 Essentials help you communicate quickly & succinctly

It’s important to recognise investors are busy people. They are short on time and have lots to distract them from looking at your opportunity. The 7 Essentials give investors the information they need but you must also be succinct in conveying this. Go on for too long and a potential investor will drift away.  No one like stale cake!

Everything you prepare needs to be short, to the point and focused on giving investors the information they need. Nothing more and nothing less! It’s a good exercise to convey the 7 Essentials on just one page of A4. One page can usually be read in 5 minutes which is how long most investors take to make up their mind whether this is the cake for them, or not!

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To find out if your start-up is ready to attract investors, take the Start-up Investment Scorecard

Funding Accelerator is designed to speed up the process of preparing your start-up for equity investment.

Re-visiting the business plan – like new year’s resolutions – isn’t enough. But you can fix that…

It’s that time of year. The time for new year resolutions and, for your typical startup founder, re-visiting the business plan. Whether it’s about budget setting, a quick check to ensure plans are on track or a more root and branch review of what needs doing, many of us will be setting out what we want to achieve this year.

A lovely time in many ways. A sense of anticipation, ambition and identifying opportunities. And who doesn’t love a clear road map with identifiable milestones and steps for action?

But will action follow? Will you flounder when the going gets tough? Allow yourself to be distracted instead of work on that “tricky” project? Do you even know what the priorities are or is there a sense of overwhelm that leaves you confused and demotivated, unsure where to start? Perhaps you will even blame others for your inaction – “there’s no budget…”, “I haven’t the right team to progress this…” “We don’t know the implications of Brexit yet…” Procrastination seems the easier path.

I know some who don’t even write a plan. What’s the point? You know you won’t look at it again, and why would you set yourself up to fail anyway?

You see my point? A business plan, just like a set of new year resolutions, isn’t enough on it’s own. You need motivation, accountability and practical help when things don’t go to plan. You need people to walk – or run – alongside you on the marathon that is running your startup. And I don’t mean just anyone. You want someone who has “been there, done that and got the t-shirt”. Someone in the same situation as you, who shares your experience because they have been through something very similar.

It’s one of the reasons I joined an Entrepreneur Board and now run them.

Being with other startup founders and business owners who generously pool expertise and experience, creating a space where everyone learns, improves and grows their business. This isn’t about networking or a talking shop. This is about focus. Focus on the challenges of running and growing your business. That focus is rewarded with honest feedback, grounded insight and the best mix of challenge and encouragement. What’s more, it works for all business owners, all year round, not just when you are a startup founder re-visiting the business plan!

Jason Kirk, Founder & Director of Kirk & Kirk, explains

“Sharing problems and discussing approaches and potential solutions with the rest of the Board is an extremely productive process.”

Jason’s business faced exciting strategic opportunities but, as if often the way, not everything could be done all at once

“We have made significant progress with the help of the Entrepreneur Board these last months, with some important decisions being made.”

The round table discussion works because the group is hand-picked. All members of an Entrepreneur Board have businesses which are at a similar stage. They may be in different sectors but their growth ambition is similar – and so will many of the strategic and operation challenges they experience. The magic happens when you hear how someone else tackled the issue you’ve been having sleepless nights about. In fact, you not only hear, but see what’s possible for your business.

Sue Frost, CEO & Co-Founder of Curamicus, found the “magic” encompassed a range of things

“I’ve gained peer support, helpful suggestions and tips from other entrepreneur business owners in this confidential, business like and friendly forum.”

Diana Parkes, Founder of The Women’s Sat Nav to Success, described how

This monthly discussion with a hand-picked small board of diverse entrepreneurs cut through to enable me to not only see the change that was needed, but to feel differently – positively – about embracing those changes.”

It is the trust that builds between business owners that is key to change. It allows us to be honest. It encourages us to have those frank “warts and all” conversations that rarely happen at networking events.

Ildiko Spinfisher, Founder of Retuning Your Business, found this instrumental in her business

I love the honesty of the Entrepreneur Board community. Things aren’t always rosy – there are ups and downs in business. The Entrepreneur Board is somewhere you can express your frustration and get perspective and practical advice to move forward positively.”


If you are a startup founder re-visiting the business plan, don’t let the process stop with a casual review. Build in support for the journey ahead and find yourself a group of like-minded startup founders who will hold you to account, challenge you and encourage you to be your best.
If you would like to see for yourself how an Entrepreneur Board works, you are invited to experience a free taster Entrepreneur Board. During the taster you will meet Hatty Fawcett, the Entrepreneur Board facilitator and chair, connect with the other business owners attending, and see a live demonstration of an Entrepreneur Board in action!


Find a co-founder and your startup will raise more money

Startup Founders share their experience and suggest where to look for a co-founder

It is relatively easy to build a product and launch a business – although it may not feel like it when you are in the thick of it! It is a lot harder to find a co-founder for your startup and build a strong management team. And yet it is people who turn a product (or service) into a business using their skills, prior experience, contacts and industry knowledge. That is why investors place so much emphasis on co-founders and team when investment in your startup. If you can find a co-founder and build a strong team experience says your startup will raise more money.

Why do investors back co-founders and teams?

Investors know how important the founders are to the success of a startup. Yet it is rare for one individual to have all the skills needed to build a business. A mix of skills is required – technical, sales and marketing, operations and an eye for the finances. Investors also understand the stresses and strains starting a business puts on you. They would rather see that strain shared. Then if one co-founder is having a challenging time, the other co-founder can help take the strain, re-motivate their colleague and help get things back on track. And what if –heaven forbid – the founder gets ill or falls under a bus. How will the business fare then? Investors seek to protect their investment and offset risk  – that is why they back co-founders and teams, not just one founder.

Is a co-founder essential?

Interestingly, there is some evidence that having a co-founder is not essential to the success of a startup and further evidence that single founders can raise significant sums of investment on their own but there is also evidence to the contrary. Most of the crowdfunding platforms have evidence that suggests companies with a team behind them raise more than those with a single founder. The fact is that investors prefer to back teams.

It’s not just investors who recommend building a team – founders do too!

Startup founders also seem to prefer having a co-founder or team working with them. When I raised investment for my (previous) business, the lead investor met each member of my team and wouldn’t invest until he had – and I really benefited from having a team. They kept me going when the going got tough!

Lindsay Trombley Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Ruley sees other benefits too

“Finding the right business partner is pure gold. It’s amazing when you find a cofounder who shares your vision, with whom you see eye to eye (even though you might not always agree on all the details), with whom you can resolve disagreements without drama, and whose skills and strengths complement your own.”

Joel Burgess, Founder and CEO of Nutrifix doesn’t currently have a co-founder and, even though his business is progressing well, he says

“I certainly see value in having a cofounder – especially a technical co-founder.” 

Joel continues

“I’ve taken a “if it feels right” approach rather than hunting down a co-founder. It hasn’t worked.”

What should you look for in a co-founder?

As with all partnerships, think about what you are looking for in a co-founder.

Graeme Risby, CEO & co-founder of HiyaCar, recommends looking for

“Somebody with different skills to yourself but a similar vision and outlook on things.” 

Another Founder I spoke to (who preferred to remain anonymous) and who parted company with his co-founder explained

“My co-founder and I had too similar a set of skills. Seeking a co-founder in future, I’d try and find someone who’d better cover my areas of weakness.”

Where do you find a co-founder?

A good place to start is with your network of friends and former colleagues. If you’ve worked with someone before you will know first-hand their strengths – and weaknesses.

Elizabeth Townsend-Rose, President and co-founder at Agora had worked with her co-founder before

“We worked together at a previous startup and consequently had a similar perspective on where we see opportunity. We also have a shared understanding of how we work, and how to run a business.” 

She went on to add

“Getting along with someone is different to being able to work well with them. It helps if you have worked with someone before and been in a stressful environment together.”  

So put the word out, ask around and let people know what you are looking for. Be open to finding your co-founder almost anywhere. A chance conversation I had with a friend in the pub led to him joining my startup and Lindsay Trombley confessed she met her co-founder at an NCT class – certainly an unexpected hunting ground!

Extend your search for a co-founder beyond your immediate circle of friends and colleagues

There are a range of online networks – be that Linkedin or more specialist networks – that help you widen your search for a co-founder. You might like to try:

CoFounders Lab – designed specifically for startups to find co-founders, team members and advisors

Founder to Be – focused on finding tech co-founders, designers, marketers and developers

Founders Nation – linking co-founders

Attend events where co-founders are likely to be

There are a lot of events designed specifically for founders and startups and these can be good hunting grounds for finding a co-founder.  General events can be found on EventBrite but more focused opportunities include:

Startup Grind

Meetups for Founders

Startup Founders Club

Specialist startup weekends also provide excellent opportunities for meeting people keen to get a startup off the ground, who might join forces with you

Startup Weekend

TechStars

Universities also offer opportunities for finding co-founders, particularly if you are looking for someone with specialist technical or business management skills. The first start up I joined was after doing an MBA. A fellow student asked me to join his startup.

Keep your eyes and ears open. Finding a co-founder can lead to surprising discoveries

Once you adopt the mindset that a co-founder could be found almost anywhere, you may be surprised just where you can find a co-founder

Graeme Risby explained he and his co-founder

“bumped into one another at my local (very small) village fete in Kent one summer (after not seeing each other for 15 years)” 

On a previous occasion, some 20 years ago, Graeme also remembered he found his co-founder when they

“worked part time together on the meat counter in Waitrose, whilst doing weekend work & studying A levels”

Elizabeth Townsend-Rose reconnected with someone in the basement of Loulous, went to dinner with them the following week and proceeded to hire them after that!

So, if you are currently struggling to find he perfect co-founder, keep the faith. Remember it only takes one chance conversation and you could be on your way! 

“What’s the best way to fund my business?”: Ten founders give the lowdown on the best way to fund your business

One of the fundamental questions at the front of most founders’ minds – and the most frequently asked question – is “What’s the best way to fund my business?” As part of Global Entrepreneur Week, Hatty Fawcett of Focused For Business asked ten founders who have raised investment for their businesses to share the pros and cons of different funding options.

A quick question to ask, but a complex question to answer. And, of course, it depends: On the stage of your business; your objectives for the business; your reasons for seeking investment; and the speed at which you require it. It will also depend on what you are willing to offer in exchange for investment. Will you sell shares in your business, for example, or are you looking for a loan which will eventually be paid back?

What is the best way to fund my business? Ten founders offer suggestions

Bootstrapping – a good way to get the business off the ground

Bootstrapping your business usually means funding your business with your own money to get if off the ground, and then continuing to fund it with revenue generated by the business itself. When I started my first business, I wasted a lot of time talking to potential investors explaining why they should back my business. At the time, “the business” was little more than a well-crafted business plan and financial forecast. I remember the moment when the “penny dropped” and I realised no one was going to invest in my business until I had actually created it and it was earning some revenue. That meant investing my own savings to get things moving. I had to put my money where my mouth was.

A big advantage of starting your business in this way is that you are in control of the business. It puts you firmly in the driving seat. When it comes to the direction you want the company to take, the key decisions are down to you.

Tim Martin, CEO of WorkInConfidence,  who bootstrapped his business puts it very succinctly

“You do it because you have to.  It means you can build value before funding and get it [the business] going.” 

Always assuming you have some money you can invest, there are some disadvantages to this route. Tim found

“You are often unable to make key decisions, such as spending more on marketing.”

So is bootstrapping the best way to fund your business? Be aware that a lack of money can slow down the speed at which your business grows.

Bank loan or Start-up Loan – a helpful cash injection to achieve an important milestone

Even a bootstrapped business will probably find there comes a point when you need a cash injection to achieve an important milestone. It might be that you need money to pay for tooling for product manufacture, or you need to purchase materials or premises in order to start generating revenue. If so, might start-up loans and bank loans be the best way to fund your business?

Jaya da Costa, Founder of Pause Cat Café, saw a number of benefits in going for a start-up loan.

“It gave me the opportunity to maintain my own vision for my business and was a quicker option.  I was asked to complete a business plan to gain funding, which has been very useful during the set-up and also since opening.”

One drawback of this route is that you will have to pay interest on the loan which, as Jaya highlights

“The repayments can take a big chunk of your cash flow especially in the early stages of your business, try to negotiate an interest-only period to help with this.”

Angel investment – investors bring not just their cash but their skills, experience and contacts too

Business angels (high net worth individuals who have very often run and sold their own businesses) do not expect an immediate return on their investment. They don’t ask for interest or dividends but want to see any revenue generated by the business put back into the business so it can grow faster. What is more, business angels bring not just their cash when they invest in your business, but also their skills, expertise and contacts too. They may also have useful sector knowledge which can help you grow the business faster than the cash injection alone would suppose. They often act as mentors and can provide practical help and hands-on support. Could business angels be the best way to fund your business?

Sue Frost, Co-Founder & CEO of Curamicus, discovered many benefits of this investment route

“We were fortunate to find business angels with a wealth of business experience in particular areas who were willing to share with us for the benefit of the business. The best business angels can become key people in your startup team.”

Jason Lowe, Founder & Director of FYB London, echoed this

 “As well as the capital investment, the most valuable advantage [of accepting business angel investment] is having an experienced business mentor to work with. They help you avoid common potholes and provide an outside view on long term strategy for scaling the business.”

One of the challenges of raising investment from business angels, as Sue points out, is the time it takes:

This route to funding can be very time consuming as [business angel] groups meet probably only once per month/quarter and they only see a handful of startup pitches per meeting. We found angels within these groups can be looking for specific kinds of businesses such as entertainment apps or traditional retail businesses [and this may not coincide with your business sector]”

Jason also pointed out that with business angel investment, although you benefit from mentoring and practical advice, you are also relinquishing some control in your business. As he put it,

“You may have to compromise on some of your ideas and plans to attract investment.”

It’s important therefore to find a business angel with whom you are aligned in terms of the strategic direction of the business. It also helps if you build good rapport, openness and trust.

Angels may be more patient than banks in getting a return on their investment but they will expect a return so you do need to offer a clear “exit”. Typically, this will involve selling the business in a 3-5 year time frame so that the business angels can sell their shares at a profit.

Crowdfunding – a good way to raise funds but also to test product demand and build brand ambassadors

On the face of it, crowdfunding could be the best way to fund your business. The media is full of stories of businesses raising phenomenal amounts of money in remarkably short time periods. And crowdfunding brings other benefits too:

For Kellie Forbes, Co-Founder of YUU World, crowdfunding proved a brilliant way to market test a new product and boost sales

“[Crowdfunding provided] amazing feedback regarding the new product. That’s been insightful. We know we have a desired product, but we now realise there is another way to deliver this – as an add-on option rather than a bespoke product. It was feedback by via the crowdfunding campaign that has caused us to re-think this decision. We have a better product as a result.”

Peter Ramsey, Founder & CEO of Movem, has done crowdfunding twice and he agrees there are benefits to crowdfunding above and beyond the money raised

“Crowdfunding gives you a lot of exposure…I know that our shareholders talk about Movem all the time, so there’s an unknown amount of network effect going on there. But that’s the biggest benefit, the exposure.”

Kellie Forbes also sees PR and marketing exposure as a big upside to crowdfunding

“Our sales are up almost 20% which is thanks to the crowdfunding campaign exposure.” 

Crowdfunding is not a quick route to investment.

There is a lot of work done behind the scenes to ensure a successful crowdfunding campaign. James Courtney, Founder & CEO of Lux Rewards, explained

“For early stage startups, it is very difficult to get viral spread like Monzo etc. managed to. Realistically you need to bring 50-80% of the raise through your own connections or angels.”

Peter agreed

“Crowdfunding isn’t as simple as just ‘making a video’. Months of work go into a pitch, and even before then you have to be pre-raising and getting momentum. My advice would be to be realistic on the amount of money you need. Raising £500k might sound glamorous and you might be pleased that you’ve got 3 years of money in the bank, but it’s considerably harder. Only raise as much as you need.”

Venture Capital – the holy grail of raising investment?

For some founders and entrepreneurs, venture capital (VC) investment feels like the holy grail of raising investment. VCs typically manage a fund made up of other people’s money. The funds can be large which means VCs are in a position to make big investments, and cash-starved founders may be tempted to see pound signs in front of their eyes. Perhaps this is the best way to fund your business?

VCs are also generally very well connected and, like business angels, they want to see the businesses they back succeed. Rajeeb Dey, CEO of Learnerbly, found he benefited from his VC’s network by being introduced to one contact who became CTO and another contact with very specific skills whose advice helped them develop proper, scalable systems. As Raj put it

“I’d [recommend VCs for their] connections and expertise…as well as potential business development connections.”

VCs are unsuitable for the majority of startups

As a general rule, VCs are looking for businesses which offer not just fast growth but exponential growth. They are often focused on particular sectors and industries, and have a preference for companies that disrupt the status quo, not just “me to” products. As a general rule they don’t invest at “seed” stage but will wait until the business has proved the market and is ready to grow. For all these reasons, VC funding is not the best way to fund every business.

VCs manage other people’s money, so they have to be ruthless in managing the investment.  This drives a different agenda and a certain amount of governance and bureaucracy.Raj at Learnerbly put it this way

“The amount of governance increases – ie monthly board meetings in our case – I doubt it’d be so frequent had we just had business angel [investment]. That said, I’m actually finding these meetings useful…it’s something to schedule, prepare for and ensure you are aware of the reporting/governance requirements VCs may have.” 

Harinder Sandhu, Founder of EmpowerRD wasn’t comfortable with “overbearing beaurocracy” and loss of control. She described her situation,

“I hadn’t appreciated the level of control the VCs would look to exert – they had a specific mould they were looking to shape each company into. I decided to execute a break-clause I’d baked into our contract to cut short the funding and therefore the VC’s equity stake.”

Thomas Beverley Co-Founder at Fy also felt uncomfortable with his situation

“The VC will typically be operating [on the basis that] ​‘one-in-twenty of my investments are going to be huge; 5 [will provide] ok returns and 15 [businesses will be] write-offs mentality’. [As the founder] they obviously want you to be successful but they have 20 bets to your 1 so [motivations] aren’t entirely aligned. Therefore, they might push you to do irrational things post investment.”

The consensus with regards to Vc investment is, before you take the money, make sure your motivations and expectations are aligned.  Taking references can be a good way of ensuring this

So, what is the best way to fund your business?

There is no one best option when it comes to funding your business. The best investment for your business will be the option that is right for your stage of business, your ambition for growth and what you are willing to offer to investors in return for their investment.

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If you want to know more about the pros and cons of different forms of business investment, why not attend the free webinar “What’s the best way to fund my startup- quickly?“. Find out more, see dates and reserve your place

Riding the roller coaster: Motivation for Startup Founders

Let’s face it, running a start-up (or any small business) is a roller-coaster. There are plenty of ups and downs, highs and lows. Maintaining motivation as a startup founder is challenging. You need resilience and persistence to cope when things aren’t going to plan – but also the ability to recognise and celebrate successes when they occur.

Photo by Pedro Velasco on Unsplash

Managing your motivation as a startup founder isn’t easy. Running my start-up, I can vividly recall days when I was as high as a kite with a product breakthrough, a partnership secured or a revenue target smashed. But there were also dark, despondent days when it was all I could do to stop myself giving up and throwing in the proverbial towel. I ranted about how impossibly hard it was, I certainly cried tears of frustration and sometimes just sat, staring into space unable to even summon up the energy for emotion. Perhaps you recognise this?

Many of the startup founders I speak to recognise that maintaining motivation is part of the startup journey – and that you have to dig deep, and look in unexpected places for that motivation.

Founder and MD of Small Pharma, Peter Rands reflected

“At my lowest points the thing I got most pleasure from was reading stories to my daughters before bed, so getting back in time for bedtime became my north star. “

Alessandro Santo, Founder at Last Mile Ventures recognised the frustration of hours of hard work seemingly getting you nowhere but he pushed himself forward by 

“being stubbornly optimistic and willing to show the world that sooner or later I will be right.”

Tom Rogers, Founder at MusicGurus recalled his lowest point was when his co-founder left the business but he kept himself motivated by 

“focusing on short-term, achievable goals such as finishing a product. I also thought about the thousands of customers around the world that love MusicGurus and share our passion for learning music.”

Another founder, who wished to remain anonymous, was clear about his lowest point – but also about the surprising benefit that came from that

“Early on in our development, we had a conversation with someone who had decades of experience in our particular sector. He challenged us on every single point of our proposition, expressing a serious amount of doubt on our ability to pull it off. We left the meeting shattered, but then we took a lot of the feedback on board and pivoted to a much easier product to launch. It ended up being valuable feedback, despite the pain.

Having a true sense of our purpose has been our North Star. Committing ourselves to this goal (rather than a particular solution) has allowed us to adapt and pivot when it was required.”

Six things you can do today to keep motivated

  1. Focus on one or two things that you can do, influence or change – and then do them! Being in action, focused on something you can do, distracts you from festering and worrying about the things you can’t influence.
  2. Search out at least one thing (there may be more when you start looking) every day that you can feel positive about. Acknowledge and celebrate that.
  3. Talk to someone you trust about what you are going through. Whether its a founder of another business, a spouse or partner or a trusted friend, share what you are going through. Chances are that they can empathise with the situation, offer a suggestion or put, a more positive spin on the situation than you yourself can see. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved. 
  4. Look at the bigger picture. What is important to you in life – not just in your business. Commit to doing one thing a day/week/month that reminds you that your business isn’t everything.
  5. Remind yourself why you set-up your startup. Get back in touch with the passion and vision that had you start this journey.
  6. Visualise how you will feel when your start-up turns the corner and things are going well. Imagine the feelings of achievement, excitement and – perhaps – pride you will have. All the pain and frustration you feel now is just the aperitif to that main course.

For every “low” there will be “high” coming

Remember, your startup journey is a roller coaster so for every “low” there will be a “high” just around the corner.

Tom Rogers commented on how these “highs” can come from unexpected places

“A most unexpected high came from doing a boot camp in the rain and the mud with our partners from Rockschool (and aching like hell the next day!)”

Of course, you never know when the “highs” are coming – but you have to keep the faith that they will. In the last month I have had two conversations with one startup founder. During the first conversation the founder was close to giving it all up – cash flow was tight, everything was taking at least twice as long as planned and potential investors were sitting on the fence, seemingly unable to make a decision about investment. It was all a waste of time – or so the founder was beginning to think.

Just two weeks later that same founder rang me and was ecstatic, brimming with excitement and enthusiasm again. They had made a product breakthrough, signed a contract with their perfect partner for a trial and the investors had come off the fence and backed them. Like buses, the “highs” had come three in a row!

Next time you are experiencing one of the inevitable lows of your startup journey, remember it can all change in the twinkling of an eye.

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Hatty Fawcett offers one-to-one coaching for startup founders and maintaining motivation, getting business traction and accessing funding are common themes in her coaching. Find out more about coaching

How to kiss frogs and raise investment (or how to network with investors)

A practical guide to networking with investors

Raising investment for your start-up or small business is not easy. It doesn’t matter whether you are raising investment via crowdfunding, through business angels or venture capital, the key to success is your ability to network with investors. In this blog start-up founders share their advice on investor networking and offer six practical steps you can take to start raising investment today.

Sacha Waters, Business Development Manager at Crowdcube explained

“It is perfectly possible to raise £150K through crowdfunding without a lead investor but only if you are willing to network like talking to people is going out of fashion.”

Hatty Fawcett, Founder of Focused For Business, couldn’t agree more.

“The best advice I was given when I was raising investment for my own startup was “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince or princess”. ”

And yet, many of us don’t find networking easy – let alone asking people for money. The thought of combining networking and asking for money sends many people running for the hills! Here founders who have recently raised (or are in the process of raising) investment, share how they networked with investors.

Tom Lock, Founder at AP Brands, says there are some important ground rules for investor networking:

“Be humble, but confident, and make sure you are honest.”

Steve Goodheart, Chief Operating Officer at Margin Guardian feels the key is 

“To think long and hard about the strategy you want to adopt before approaching anyone. Consider the stage you are at in terms of pre-revenue, proof of concept etc so you can match-make with investors who invest at this stage.”

Finding investors

When you start to network with investors, both Steve and Tom agreed LinkedIn was a very useful tool.

Reflecting on his fund-raising round, Tom recalls

“No one was safe when we were approaching our network. Friends, family, colleagues, suppliers and customers. We hit the lot!”

Steve categorised investors in a slightly different way and feels tailouring your message for different groups of investors in your network is essential:

“Identify people with funds, people who know people with funds and people who have been through the process of raising funds. They all need a different approach.”

Speaking to investors

As with all networking, it is better if you have a warm and engaged relationship with your investor network before you actually ask for investment.

Tom recalled how he warmed up his network prior to fund-raising

“We sent out a few emails and communications in the run up [to raising investment], saying that we were preparing for a fund raise, which hopefully meant it didn’t come as too much of a shock when we actually asked for money.”

Steve did the same when networking with investors, and made additional use of social media

“We had update chats explaining the business idea in an informal manner via phone calls and LinkedIn communications. We also got the message out there on Facebook status updates before approaching individuals directly.”

When it came to “the ask”, both Steve and Tom had their own favourite opening line.

Steve favoured

“I’ve launched a new business and I’m looking to give you an opportunity to join in at a very early stage.”

Whist Tom’s was direct and to-the-point

“I was wondering if you are looking at investing in anything at the moment”

Thinking about what they’d do differently next time they network with investors, both Steve and Tom had some excellent tips.

Steve recommends being really clear about what you want:

“Spend a lot more time thinking about your approach, in terms of exactly what you require and when before speaking to people”

Tom encourages being realistic about how long raising investment takes

“Start earlier. You can never start too soon. Raising money always takes longer than you think.”

Six Steps you can use to network with investors today

If you are about to start investor networking, the following practical steps will get you focused and ready to work your network:

  1. Grab a paper and pen (or a spreadsheet if you prefer)
  2. Write down 5 different groups of people within your network (e.g. friends, family, former employers…)
  3. For each group, write the names of 5 people within each group and their contact phone number
  4. Pick up the phone and dial the first number
  5. Open the conversation “Hello. I wanted to tell you about an exciting new business which you might like to contribute to…..”
  6. Make it fun/ make a game of it – set yourself little targets e.g. I will speak to three people before my next coffee…

Good luck!

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If you would like help in finding and speaking to investors, register for the practical online masterclass “How to Find and Win Investors” which provides inspiration on where to find investors, a methodology you can use to get their attention and outlines a proven process for building relationships with investors that delivers investment. Find out more about this masterclass.

A good read…to refresh and revitalise your business

I love summer! Who doesn’t? With the (generally) better weather meaning we spend more time outside and holiday time spent with family and friends.

However, I really like summer because it offers not just a chance to refresh ourselves physically (I have written about the importance holidays for startup founders and business owners before) but the chance to refresh ourselves mentally too. Lying on a beach or by the swimming pool is greatly improved if you also have the company of a good book – and if that book offers you new ideas, challenges your thoughts and offers new approaches to try, so much the better! 

It’s all too easy to get in “head down” mode, to be busy working in the business rather than working on the business.

I’ve been doing what I do for 5 years now and I really recognise the need to refresh and revitalise my business and I’m taking a 6 week sabbatical to do just that. Whilst I will be allowing myself some time off with my family, I will also be stimulating my business brain through reading.

To develop a wide-ranging reading list (not too focused on the things I automatically lean towards), I asked around my entrepreneurial contacts and founders of other businesses to hear what they recommend. 

In case you’d also like to do some revitalising reading this summer, here’s what they recommended – and why:

Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us by Daniel H Pink

Given motivation is at the start of everything, this feels like a good place to start.

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E Gerber

The E myth books have been around for a while but they are still an essential read for business owners demonstrating really clearly why you have to have more than a good idea to make a business work.

24 Assets by Daniel Priestly

If E Myth gets you thinking, then this book provides a methodology for building the components that make a business scaleable and sustainable.

Zero to One by Peter Thiel 

Is another book particularly recommended to me for its methodology for startup businesses. The founder who recommended this has used the 7 point thesis outlined in the book to shape his own startup. The book has almost 300 reviews on Amazon (not all positive) but most seem to agree it offers a different perspective – which is what I’m looking for!

Dear Female Founder: 66 Letters of Advice from Women Entrepreneurs Who Have Made $1 Billion in Revenue by Lu Li

I’m really interested in the particular challenges facing female founders so this book had to be included in my summer reading but, looking at the reviews, I’m expecting that some of the insights will cross gender barriers and offer advice to all startup founders.

High Growth Handbook by Elad Gil

If you are beyond the startup phase and going for growth then this recommendation is for you.

Inspired by Marty Cagan 

Is also for those working through the challenges of scaling. It came recommended to me as “a fantastic book on product and scaling” and looks at the role of the product manager and product teams in meeting customer needs, and developing a product that does this. Its particular focus is on software products. Find the book on Amazon

Another software product focused book – but which came recommended from two different sources – is Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps by Nicole Forsgren and Jez Humble. What the person recommending this book liked is that the book uses evidence to create best practise – it’s not just another person’s theory.

ReWork: Change the Way you work forever by David Hansson and Jason Fried 

Is certainly not a new book but in the opinion of the friend recommending it to me it’s “outstanding and important” – and you have to accept the title tempts you to read on!

If you happen to suffer from “long hours syndrome” you might also fancy It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work also by Jason Fried. Find the book on Amazon

Don’t have time to read a full book?

If, like so many founders, you are struggling to find sufficient time to read an entire book why not try some of these shorter blog posts to stimulate the grey cells instead?

The Do’s and Don’ts of Rapid Scaling for Startups by Bob Sutton
Read the blog

Is Drag Holding Your Business Back by Kevin Sheldrake
Read the blog

Traction Is The Very Heart of a Startup by The Startup Team
Read the blog

Why We All Need to Invest in Female Founders by Sacha Waters
Read the blog

How to get investors “on the hook”

Your business needs investment. You are out there networking and pitching like crazy but despite your best efforts investors remain elusive. It’s a familiar story. How do you get investors “on the hook”? The Allbright Academy which supports female entrepreneurs, approached Hatty Fawcett, Founder of Focused For Business and an AllBright Academy Ambassador, to ask her advice for finding, approaching and pitching to investors. Here Hatty shares her top tips.

Ten tips for getting investors "on the hook"

Always be ready to pitch

Investors can be almost anyone. When I raised investment for my business my investors included customers, suppliers, professional investors and even people who knew me through a shared hobby. The point is, almost anyone can be an investor, so you need to be ready to pitch at any point.

Approach people you know first – people who see firsthand the hard work you are putting into your business. Why not approach friends, family, employers, suppliers to the business and even your customers. They can help you get an investment round started. It’s a lot easier to attract new investors when you already have your first few on board!

Keep it short and sweet

Professional investors – sometimes called Business Angels – tend to be busy people; it can be difficult to find these people and even harder to get their attention. You will need to have a short pitch (sometimes called an “elevator pitch”) that you can use – in either written or spoken form – to quickly give investors an introduction to your business, giving them enough information to pique their interest.

Get an introduction

It is often easier to get a meeting with a business angel if you have a mutual connection to introduce you. If you have someone in mind that you’d like to approach, use your network (and LinkedIn) to try and find someone that can make that introduction. If you’re not sure who you want to approach, another way of getting started is to reach out to your network explaining what you are doing and asking for any suggestions they have as to potential investors.

Have a short prepared summary

A one-page executive summary of the investment opportunity (not of your business plan) is a key tool in your investor toolkit. Written well, this should give investors the information they need to make a decision as to whether this is an opportunity for them. Whatever you do, don’t send your pitch deck. A pitch deck should be presented and isn’t a standalone introduction to your business, save that for when you actually meet the investor.

All investors are individuals – they have their own particular interests, focus and areas of activity. Professional investors (such as business angels, private offices and equity funds) will often not agree to meet you – or perhaps even to talk to you – until they have seen something of the opportunity first.


Hatty Fawcett

Arrange a meeting

Don’t expect professional investors to back you after just one conversation. They will need to get to know you and your business. This is best done face-to-face so your initial aim should be to get a meeting or a skype session in the diary.

Follow up every lead

Professional investors are busy people. Don’t assume they will get back to you. You need to take the initiative and keep the conversation alive by following up with them. After every conversation, meeting or pitch, schedule time to follow-up with the people you have spoken to and get their feedback on your investment opportunity. Ask if they have any questions or concerns and – of course – whether they are interested in investing.

Keep the story moving

Professional investors back businesses that are going places, so you need to
demonstrate that your business is evolving and growing every day. When following up with a business angel be ready with a juicy piece of new information that demonstrates your business is continuing to grow. This could be news that you have secured a new contract, delivered a key partnership, or the results of a new marketing campaign.

Don’t take “no” personally

Not everyone you talk to will back your business. Get used to hearing the word “no” and moving on. It’s better to know that someone isn’t interested in your opportunity than to waste time talking to them when they have no intention of investing. Move on!

Ask for feedback

Use every interaction as a chance to learn something. Ask everyone you speak to for feedback – even if they are not interested in investing. Their feedback can improve your understanding of how others perceive your business and can help you adapt your positioning, if necessary. Ask for help from the people you speak to too – who do they know who would be interested in this opportunity? Will they introduce you?

Positivity is key

Raising investment is hard work. It can feel relentless and if you have a run of “nos” it can bruise your confidence. Do what it takes to stay positive and keep your energy up – take an afternoon off and do something you love to boost your morale. Then get back to it, refreshed, revitalised and believing good things come to those who persevere!

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If you would like further help in preparing for investment, Hatty Fawcett runs a series of online masterclasses designed to give you the tools and you need to raise investment from crowdfunding or business angels. The masterclasses are focused, practical and confidence building:
How to write an executive summary that attracts investors
How to find and win investors
How to create a business valuation that gets your start-up funded