If you’re about to face your first meeting with an investor as a social entrepreneur, you might be feeling anxious, nervous and concerned that you might make a fool of yourself.
This is totally normal; meeting with investors is a big deal, no matter where you are on your social enterprise journey.
The good news? Investor meetings are rarely like those depicted on Dragon’s Den, therefore you’re unlikely to find yourself thrust – literally – into the spotlight and made to stand in front of four business titans who seem intent on tripping you up every step of the way.
What’s far more likely to happen is that you’ll spend an hour or so with someone who genuinely wants to find out more about your enterprise. So, if you arrive prepared and with the following tips in mind, you’ll almost certainly have a successful meeting (even if it doesn’t result in your receiving any funding).
Granted, you may have seen someone absolutely nail their investor meeting during a fly-on-the-wall documentary last night, but unless their personality matches yours, there’s no need to try and replicate their approach.
Be yourself at the investor meeting. If you’re not particularly business-minded but know you have a brilliant idea for a social enterprise, that’s no problem at all; your personality and the idea itself will shine through.
Likewise, if you love your numbers, indulge in that passion during the meeting.
Be who you are, because your personality might be the thing that gives you the edge during the meeting.
Realise you don’t need to know it all
If we turn our attention once more to Dragon’s Den, it’s hard not to think of that show without recalling the toe-curling moments when entrepreneurs struggle to remember heir turnover and profit projections.
Once again, this paints a rather frightening picture of investor meetings, but rarely an accurate one.
You’ll be asked about your numbers, of course, but don’t feel like you need to know everything. For instance, if you simply can’t project three years ahead, don’t, because you’ll only end up with arbitrary figures, and explaining those is far more likely to land you in hot water than being honest and saying you can’t project that far at the moment.
Your lack of strategic insight might extend beyond numbers, too. It may well be that you haven’t fully decided on premises or completed your market research, but honesty is definitely the best policy when you’re quizzed on these lines.
Make sure you know the “why”
So, we’ve established that the best investors won’t get too hung up on numbers and the intricacies of your business plan. But that begs the question: what do they care about?
If there’s one thing you absolutely need to have at the forefront of your mind during an investor meeting, it’s the reasoning.
Why do you need investment?
What difference will the money make?
Why do you think an investor would benefit from buying into your social enterprise?
If you stumble at this particular hurdle, you probably will have a rather uncomfortable meeting on your hands. Investors want to know why they would want to invest in you, and beyond your personality and ethos behind the social enterprise, you’ll need to provide several reasons they simply can’t ignore.
At the start of this blog we suggested that a successful investor meeting doesn’t have to result in funding for your social enterprise. That might sound odd, but every meeting you have with an investor will build on your experience and provide crucial feedback on your business plan.
Remember – most of the meeting will focus on that plan, and while the numbers are obviously important, the questions you’ll face about your social enterprise – whilst sometimes tough to answer – will help you refine the plan and build a business that really will thrive.
The experienced team at Inspire2Enterprise can help with all aspects of investor relations, therefore if you want some expert advice, get in touch today and tell us about your social enterprise!