If you’ve always thought you need a physical product or a thriving order book to get your business funded, you’re in for a ride! Though it sounds counterintuitive, your business idea is the most important aspect of your business.
You might think it would be your actual product or service, the profit generated, or the assets you accumulate – mainly because you can attribute monetary valuation to these things. But it is your idea that is the most valuable simply because you can’t put a standardized price on it. Your idea is the ‘why’ of your business – something investors deem crucial when deciding whether or not to fund your initiative.
If you have a brilliant idea, here’s how you can get funds for the launchpad.
Create a powerful pitch deck
Your funding will come from people who have sat through scores of presentations and business ideas. When you pitch your idea, think about your investors first – what’s in it for them? Why should they invest in your venture, as opposed to the numerous others they are also evaluating?
Make your pitch deck clear, concise, and engaging. Tell a story and convey why the idea is so close to your heart. Your passion and dedication to making your idea a success should show through.
This resonates the most with investors – they want to fund someone serious about their idea and won’t squander away investor money!
Think like a pessimist
Your business has a unique advantage at the idea stage – you have the freedom to pivot or tweak your approach as and when new opportunities or challenges present themselves. Keeping this in mind, examine your idea objectively – as an outsider who has no context about the venture.
See if you can spot obvious loopholes. Having this information at hand will help you take steps to nip issues in the bud, a practical application of preemptive problem-solving.
It will also help you prepare for investors’ questions or objections, showing them you’ve done your research thoroughly.
Get feedback from mentors
To build a business, you need to be open to feedback – but from the right sources. This is where mentors can step in and guide you with their experience and expertise.
Find mentors in your area of business and connect with them. Credible experts like Ofer Valencio Akerman of Rigstone Capital not only help with fine-tuning ideas but also invest their own capital if your business shows promise.
Cultivate a likable brand
For most startups, the owner becomes the face of the company – your personal and business identities merge into one entity that needs to be on the best behavior all the time.
Social media, especially, puts you on the ‘virtual’ map, and almost anyone from anywhere can look you up and form an opinion about your brand. It, therefore, is a good idea to think about image and brand management.
However, don’t go as far as faking a personality. You, and your brand, should be relatable and credible, and more importantly, likable.
Evaluate your funding options
Several entities besides banks are willing to invest in ideas today. Your powerful pitch deck can help you share your vision with investors around the world in just a few clicks. Here are a few options to consider:
- Bootstrapping: To retain complete control over your business, you could try investing your own money. This method is all about optimizing how you use resources and streamlining business processes to operate with bare-minimum funds. Overall, it’s a great learning experience.
- Crowdfunding: You can share your idea on websites like Kickstarter to generate netizen interest, and investment, in your business.
- Venture capital: Usually considered big-league investment, venture capital comes with impeccable business insights that can help you take your idea to the next level.
- Angel investment: High net worth individuals with cash to spare are usually keen to invest in the idea stage. They have a better risk appetite compared to venture capitalists and generally invest small amounts in multiple startups.
- Startup incubators: Given how popular startups have become today, there are many incubators and accelerators that invest in ideas and nurture them. The amount they invest might be tiny compared to most other options, but the network and learning these programs can bring is incredible. Similarly, there are idea contests and hackathons which operate on similar lines.
- Government support program: To boost startup ecosystems and enrich local businesses, governments worldwide are launching investment programs to help startups and small businesses. These programs provide multiple benefits and subsidies in addition to funding, so keep an eye out for ongoing and upcoming programs that your idea might be eligible for.
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