How to be an Entrepreneur that Investors Want to Work With

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You might have the best idea in the world, but if you can’t get an investor to sink funds into your startup, you know it’s not going to get off the ground. It all starts with a great idea -- but the other piece of the puzzle is being the type of entrepreneur that investors want to believe in. You can’t necessarily change your personality, but you can work on how you present yourself, and how you prepare for meetings.

With that in mind, here are some things to remember when you’re meeting with investors who might want to fund your project.

1. Show your passion

Investors want to believe in your project -- and they know that in order to get through the tough times that might be ahead, you’ll need to be absolutely passionate about what you’re doing. The passion for your project needs to be so strong that it rubs off on other people.

2. Do your homework

You might know your product inside and out -- but have you thought beyond the product details? Do you have a solid business plan that takes into account things like sales, marketing, market share, and your competitors? You should -- and when you meet with your prospective investors, you should know every piece of that plan inside and out. Even better, you should have other experts on board already, who are poised to help you develop a solid sales plan and move your project forward. In other words, be ready and willing to go the extra mile in all aspects of the business.


3. Be willing to listen

While your plan might seem to be bulletproof, you can’t be too married to every detail, either. Investors often want to contribute to the project in some way, and since they’ve often already launched their own successful companies, they likely know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t. Thus, you need to show that you’re willing to consider an investor’s input. What’s more, you have to show that you’re not a micro-manager and that you’re keen to put the right person in the right job to get things done.

4. Know people who know people

Like it or not, business success is so often about who you know. With that in mind, you should be networking as much as possible, so that you’re the person people know. Make an effort to share information about your business and to pass out your business card to at least a handful of people every day. At some point, your connections can bring you to that perfect angel investor.

5. Be patient

Read: Don’t appear desperate. If an investor says he needs a week to think over your proposal, don’t start bothering him on days one and two, begging for a response. Time may be crucial to getting your company off the ground, but you’re going to turn off your investors if you don’t have enough poise and patience to wait for them to come around. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take steps to keep the conversations going -- but there’s a fine line between making yourself available for questions and harassing your investors. 

With all of that said, those investors are people with whom you might be working closely in the future -- so on the flip side, you need to be sure that you’re comfortable with the people you’ve sought to fund you. There’s something to be said for chemistry, reminds business strategist Geri Stengel on the Stengel Solutions website, so be sure you gel well with your investors. Also, do your homework about them, so you know what they expect, says Stengel.

With a great idea, proper preparation and the right mix of people, you may be well on your way to having a successful startup.

The Wall Street Journal: The Accelorators: How to Attract Investors