I really enjoy helping people find ways to be successful in their career. Whether someone is starting out in their career, in the process of transitioning to a new career in technology, or even people who are looking to launch their start-ups, I get a special joy at sharing every bit of information that I’ve learned along the way. From time to time, people reach out to me on my Instagram page, LinkedIn page, or Twitter account about career or business plan ideas and I am always happy to oblige. I had the pleasure of speaking to @Shab_04 this week, an up and coming entrepreneur and student at Moscow State Linguistic University about ways to market his product to venture capitalist, so that he can get funding for his ideas. With his permission, here are some key points that I shared with him about how to market his business plan and ideas:
“I have some business plans and am looking for some investors”
First things first – show a profit If you can
The best way to get an investor is to show that your idea has already made money. Investors rarely invest in ideas without knowing they will get a return on their investment. One of the best positions to be in when pitching to an investor is to show a profit. Investors want to know that you are able to turn a profit and they also want to know a reasonable projection of when they can recoup their investment, with interest. Before you pitch, here are some step you should consider:
1st Review your business plan
2nd Determine what part of it you can make a profit
3rd Start small with a portion of your idea
4th Make money from that small idea
5th Then get investors to invest in your other ideas from the small portion idea that you’ve made a profit from
“How do I meet investors in Silicon Valley?” : 4 Ways to Meet Investors Anywhere
Meetups are local meetings put on by professionals. There is literally a meetup for everything under the sun. People go to these meetings, they are usually free, and discuss ideas and opportunities in their field. I’ve been to Salesforce meetups in the local DC area and I’ve met everyone from students who want to explore a career path, experienced professionals, entrepreneurs who have ideas and even investors who are open to being pitched to at these meetings. Meetups are fantastic because they are a wealth of resource about an area of interest. Check out the local meetups in your area and start networking!
A hackathon is an event that is organized by an entity. Hackathons allow almost anyone under the sun to submit their ideas or prototypes, if it related or addresses the theme of the hackathon. For example, an entity may have a business problem that they want to solve like, “Build the most amazing mobile application using Salesforce platform. ” Hackathons are great because they put you in front of key decision makers in a field, who are looking to award money for a successful pitch and possibly partner with you to make your idea successful. Companies like Salesforce even award as much as $1 million dollars for successful pitches. Get on google today and find a hackathon! You can even find virtual hackathons, so you won’t even have to leave your city.
Gone are the days where retired professionals, remain retired. Just about everyone that I know that has retired, went on to work or partner with businesses, for at least a decade after retirement. LinkedIn is an awesome resource to identify retired executives in industries your idea or product is in. There are executives on LinkedIn that are looking for the opportunity to partner with a start-up. With a little analysis of people on LinkedIn, you can quickly find professionals that you may want to reach out to, to share your idea. If you’ve got an idea that you’re not sure about, feel free to reach out to me and I’d be happy to give you my honest opinion.
You can find all types of industry influencers and professionals on social media, who monitor, post to and manage their own accounts. You can get direct access to some of the most powerful people in the world through social media. Be mindful that there are an enumerate amount of people who reach out to people on social media though, so you’ll need to be diligent, but you never know if you don’t try. Strategically, you’ll want to set up alerts for when these resources are active on their accounts. Remember, make your touch point meaningful and align yourself with investors and resources who may be working on something similar to what you have to offer.
Bonus: Here is a great resource for a listing of angel investors and their locations: http://www.angelcapitaleducation.org/listing-of-groups
On a personal note, I want each and every entrepreneur to know that getting your ideas, products and services out there can be a labor of love. Remember, the world needs your ideas and services. Don’t give up, ever.
May the Force Be With You,
Zeanique works with public, non-profit, and private entities since 2000, where she has stood up large scale ERP implementations. She has been a Salesforce Consultant since 2010 and is based in Washington, DC. She’s also served as a Professor for small business marketing, value proposition and business plan development at Trinity Washington University