Advice for Entrepreneurs Seeking Money from Female Angels
Every start-up needs a leadership team that can connect to its investors, leverage these investor’s knowledge and relationships, demonstrate resourcefulness, build relationships and communicate momentum. Those five areas are key to the start-up/investor relationship. Here are a few lessons I have learned as an angel investor in women-led social ventures.
- Connect with your investors. If you are working with an angel investor, you are in a relationship. The angel investor expects you to know they invested based not just on a great product, idea or team, but because they have or want a relationship with the company in which they are investing. When you meet with an investor, present based on that assumption. Make eye contact. Be friendly and ask about the family. Ask about other investments. Don’t read from a script. Connect, connect, connect. Be memorable.
- Leverage the need to be needed. Study the profile of each angel and tell her how she can personally help you, how she can bring you value. This approach will engage them more than making them feel like they are a start-up cash machine. One great way to approach this is to have at least one question that is specific to each person ready to go, even if you don’t use it. Having that question ready will help you see your investors as investors in social capital, not just financial capital. And if you do find time to ask the question, then the investor will be impressed that you connected your question to her passion or area of expertise.
- Show how resourceful you are. In the early years for any start-up, you will not have everything you need to make progress. How you work around your constraints, and how tenacious you are, offer a good indication to investors that they can be confident in your abilities to drive the boat regardless of the seas you encounter.
- Demonstrate that you are a relationship builder. We all know success is about gathering the right team to be successful. Drawing the right people around you is an early sign that you can make your venture work. If you know you need a skill, a particular competency or vertical experience you don’t have access to, consider asking an investor about an introduction. A big part of your value is your network. I can’t encourage you enough to take advantage of that valuable resource.
- Share progress every time you meet with your investors. Letting investors know about progress is important. It will reinforce their confidence in your ability to execute, and it will demonstrate progress and momentum. Remember you want to make sure you are creating an authentic perception of success. If you are being successful, but not sharing, then investors will worry—and no start-up wants their investors to worry unless there is really something to worry about.