Finding Financing in a Competitive Business World
Bank loans are hard in tough economic times, and if you’ve suffered in this downturn with a failed business or real estate investment, then forget bank financing. So, where do you go when you’ve run out of money coming from your family and friends?
Now might be the time to look for angel investors. Angel investors make up about 90% of all startup capital these days, and that’s in comparison with venture capitalists, who make up about 2% of start-up capital. Generally, venture capital money goes to companies that are later stages.
There are approximately 250,000 angels active today, and they generally invest between $150,000 to $1.5 million in a business. Angel investors expect to get equity, and a return of somewhere between 15 -20% per year.
Does an angel investor sound like the best next step for you and your business?
Step One: Get ready for an angel investor.
That means getting good financial statements, prospective financial statements, a comprehensive business plan, an executive summary, and a good pitch.
Step Two: Find angel investor you can pitch.
Do a search on Google for “angel investor.” You’ll find a list of local groups and angel networks. Most of the angel networks are basically matchmaking services. You’ll be given 15-20 minutes to make your pitch to a room of investors. In most cases, you’ll also pay from $50 to $5,000 for the opportunity to make those pitches, so make it count! And be prepared for some rejection. An angel investor typically accepts only about 3 out of 10 deals reviewed.
Step Three: Prepare for and deliver your pitch.
There are four questions that an angel investor has, whether they actually ask you them or not. Make sure you address these points in your pitch.
#1: Can they understand the business idea? You might have the best business idea in the world, but if you can’t quickly and easily articulate what that idea is, you’ve already lost your audience. You want it simple, not hard, to understand.
#2: Does the business solve a problem or meet a need? If the business doesn’t do that, it won’t make sales.
#3: Is there a big enough market and customer base to support the business? You might have a great idea, good projected profit, and fill a real need. But the deal just isn’t big enough to attract an angel investor. If that’s the case, then keep your business small, and keep it all. You may have another idea later on that’s better suited to this group.
#4: How good is your team? Your angel isn’t coming on board to build your team. You need to have them already lined up. Be ready to prove your team has the experience and drive to make this all come true.
Those are the points to remember in your pitch. Now here are some unspoken things to remember:
Focus on the money. The angels don’t care about your passion. They don’t want to hear about the technology. They want to know how they are going to make money, and they want to know about the business. Spell out the details of how much the business valuation is, and how many investors you’re looking for.
Watch your body language. Dress professionally and speak confidently. Make eye contact, and of course, practice, practice, practice.
Speak clearly. Use precise language to convey your concept. Don’t try to be too slick, but it’s okay to show your passion. In fact, if you’re not excited, your angels won’t be excited.
Show and tell. If you have a prototype or samples, bring them so the angels can see exactly how it works. Discuss actual sales, orders under contract and anticipated orders.
Be prepared for questions. Some of the common questions will be about competition, profit, and price points. If you don’t know the answer, say you’ll get back to them. Don’t make something up.
Determine the exit strategy for your angels. They don’t want to be your partner for life. They’re looking for a 5 – 10 year plan that gets them their money and profit back.
Close the deal. The hardest part is that final 5%; getting the check. Ask for the order (the investment). There may be additional questions, and you’ll need to have agreements drafted that satisfy your angel and their attorneys.
Step Four: Keep your investor happy with good communication.
If things go wrong, you often need more, not less, communication. Prepare regular, consistent and timely financial statements, and schedule regular meetings with your investors. An angel investor could give your business much needed money, but there is a lot that goes into finding the right investor for your business, and creating an ongoing relationship that works.