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10 Tips In Preparing For Investors

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Posted by Darrin Redus

Darrin RedusThe challenges of raising investment capital for your business and how to best prepare for an investor have been well documented by many industry experts. Yet having witnessed scores of presentations over the years I find that many entrepreneurs routinely miss a few key areas. And while there are certainly no guarantees or full-proof plans that will automatically result in successfully raising capital, the following suggestions should help you along the journey:


  1. Present your business with energy, enthusiasm and confidence –- if you’re not excited about your business endeavor you’ll have a very difficult time getting an investor excited.
  2. Know your business and industry cold – take the time to really understand and segment your chosen market. Know the trends, and consider doing a SWOT analysis on your chosen market (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats).
  3. Know your competition cold –- don’t make the mistake that so many have in assuming that “No one else is doing this”. If your investor discovers a recognized competitor that you should have discovered, you have instantly damaged your credibility.
  4. Consider a comparison chart that demonstrates your unique advantages versus key competitors.
  5. Clearly articulate your Value Proposition and what “makes your business so special’, and further explain how your unique competitive advantage represents both a significant barrier for your competition as well as a real benefit to your client.
  6. Do your homework on the overall size of your market both domestically and internationally. That includes both consumer and commercial applications if applicable (overall market size or potential should approach $1 billion or better to really get the attention of investors).
  7. Explain why you or a designated team member are the best candidate to serve as CEO.
  8. Secure or “tee up” a deeply experienced management team. The people you surround yourself with are often the key deciding factor in securing investment capital.
  9. Present a clear and “executable” plan to exceed $30 million in annual sales potential within 5 to 7 years. Remember that investors have options; they can choose to invest in any number of opportunities from traditional stocks and bonds to other high growth businesses. If you’re going to convince an investor to support your vision, you have to paint a large enough and clear enough picture that makes choosing your plan worth the risk.
  10. Make sure the “assumptions” that drive and support your financial projections have been reviewed by experienced personnel so that such key items as unit sale prices and costs per unit have been thoroughly vetted.

As stated previously, in the journey of raising capital there are no magic bullets or guarantees. By incorporating these 10 tips however, you’ll be well on your way to dramatically improving your chances for success!


Darrin is Chief Economic Inclusion Officer of JumpStart and President of JumpStart Inclusion Advisors. He founded and ran his own strategic planning and management assistance firm and spent 16 years in the commercial banking and finance industry. Darrin has an MBA from Baldwin Wallace College and an undergraduate degree from Mount Union College. He has led a series of workshops and seminars on matters of economic development and diversity.

Tags: business plancompetitivenessinvestormanagement teammarket sizepitchingraising capitalrevenue modeltalentvalue propositionwinning pitch

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Carl Days
wrote on 7/22/2012 8:15 PM

Thanks for the insight. I have been with my company for 29 years; the last 15 as GM. I am looking to buy the business with angel investors and venture capital. My business plan reflects all of the specifics you suggested. However, my numbers are very conservative. Why do you feel that investors want to see inflated projections?