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8 Tips to Help Secure Outside Funding for Your Business

Business Finances

As an entrepreneur, you can appreciate how difficult it may be to get funding for your business. You’ve pitched your heart out, refined your business plan, and networked like it’s an Olympic sport, yet the only word you seem to hear from investors is “no.” But fret not! It’s possible to turn that “no” into a “yes.” In this article, we’ll go through 8 tips to make your pitch irresistible and increase your chances of success of obtaining outside funding. Let’s get started with Tip 1, choosing the right business entity.

 

Tip 1: Choose the Right Type of Entity

Make sure you choose the right type of business entity, which takes into account the needs of the investors from a tax reporting perspective, the types of investors who can provide capital for your business, whether more capital will be needed in the future, and what those investors will desire from an entity stand-point.

For instance, a C-corporation (C-corp) offers a structured and scalable framework that investors prefer. As a C-corp, you can issue multiple classes of stock, which gives you flexibility in creating equity incentives and accommodating different types of investors, such as venture capitalists and angel investors. Importantly, you may also want your business to be able to issue qualified small business stock (QSBS), which gives you a $10 million exemption from capital gains tax – a huge attraction for investors. 

A word of caution here. Do not choose your business entity on your own! There’s too much at stake. Instead, work with a LIFTed Business Advisor (LBA) who will educate you about the various entity structures and what they can do based on your business goals. Then, your LBA will help you form the entity correctly and maintain it properly to ensure your business is able to take advantage of all the benefits your chosen structure provides. Failure to choose, form, and maintain your business entity could mean the difference between success and failure.

 

Tip 2: Build an Aggressive, Yet Realistic Financial Model 

Building an aggressive, yet realistic financial model is essential for raising outside capital because it demonstrates to investors that you have a thorough understanding of your business’s potential and the market landscape. An aggressive financial model showcases your ambitious vision and growth trajectory, indicating to investors that you aim for significant returns on their investment. It will help you capture the interest of investors who are seeking high-growth opportunities. 

However, it is equally important that this model remains realistic, grounded in credible data and well-researched assumptions. A realistic financial model ensures that your projections are attainable, which builds trust with potential investors and shows that you are not only visionary but also pragmatic and capable of executing your business plan.

Additionally, a well-crafted financial model helps in identifying key financial metrics and milestones that are critical for the business’s success. When you’re able to outline detailed revenue streams, cost structures, and cash flow projections, you provide a comprehensive roadmap for how the business will achieve its financial goals. This level of detail and planning reassures investors that their capital will be managed effectively and that the business has a clear path to profitability. Importantly, it also enables you to anticipate potential financial challenges and develop strategies to mitigate them, which can further strengthen investor confidence. In short, an aggressive yet realistic financial model is a powerful tool for convincing investors of the viability and potential of your business, setting the stage for successful capital raising efforts.

Your financial model should be based upon measurable unit economics that take into consideration 

 

Tip 3: Showcase Happy Customers

If your customers aren’t thrilled about your product, why should an investor be? Include testimonials and case studies in your pitch, showing real feedback from satisfied customers. This not only demonstrates market validation but also highlights your product’s impact. Social proof is powerful! 

Remember, investors don’t want to fund a business that provides a service or product people aren’t excited about. They’re looking for a business loved by its customers, one that has the potential to turn customers into brand ambassadors. 

Another tip: You may even want to consider that it’s your happy customers who could be your first, and best, investors.

 

Tip 4: Embrace and Promote Diversity

Diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a business advantage. Imagine your company as a garden—the more diverse, the more resilient and colorful it is. Lack of diversity might suggest to investors that your business could wilt under market pressures. 

When you hire from diverse backgrounds, new ideas flourish, and investor interest spikes. Diversity shows investors that you’re prepared for a global marketplace, not just operating in a small niche.

 

Tip 5: Be Open to Feedback and Collaboration

No one wants to invest in someone who appears to know everything already. Use your pitch to demonstrate your openness to feedback and collaboration. Outline past instances where you pivoted your business approach based on advice, and show how it improved your operations. This openness reassures investors that you are coachable and committed to growth, not stubbornly attached to your initial ideas alone.

 

Tip 6: Differentiate or Go Home

It seems obvious but is worth noting: Your business needs to stand out from the crowd. What is the unique selling proposition (USP) that makes your product or service truly remarkable? If you can’t clearly articulate this, you need to put some thought into it. Don’t just blend in as another “me too” player in your industry, or you’ll likely get lost and your business will flounder. 

For example, there are so many gyms out there, ostensibly providing the same benefits. However, consider the difference between Planet Fitness and Gold’s Gym. Gold’s Gym caters to and attracts a more serious weight lifter, whereas “P-Fit’s” Pizza Mondays and commitment to a Judgement Free Zone® pulls in clientele that might feel intimidated working out with the typical Gold’s Gym member.

Identify your USP and ensure it aligns with what the market actually wants and needs. A novel approach that catches investors’ attention is crucial for standing out among competitors.

 

Tip 7: Preparation is Your Best Pitch Partner

This may also seem obvious but is also worth repeating: Proper preparation is essential before entering an investor meeting. You wouldn’t show up to a marathon unprepared, would you? So don’t make that mistake with investors. Fumbling basic questions about your business plan, like your exit strategy, can lead to awkward silences and lost opportunities.

So before the meeting, ensure you know your business plan thoroughly – financial forecasts, market analysis, potential pitfalls, and exit strategies. Walking in unprepared demonstrates a lack of commitment that will turn investors away.

 

Tip 8: Fit the Investor’s Portfolio

Not every investor has the same focus or criteria. Some specialize in certain industries like tech or green innovations, while others may only fund companies at particular stages. Thoroughly research an investor’s typical areas of interest before pitching to them. Pitching a business that falls outside their investment portfolio is a waste of time for both parties. So don’t make pitches to unaligned investors simply because you need money. It demonstrates a lack of preparation and understanding on your part. Take the time to ensure your pitch aligns with an investor’s specific interests and criteria for a higher likelihood of success.

As you refine your pitch and prepare for your next investor meeting, remember each “no” is just another step towards that “yes.” It’s all part of the journey. Keep improving, keep pitching, and use every rejection as a stepping stone. After all, the best investors are not just funding a business—they’re investing in your ability to learn, adapt, and ultimately, succeed. So, arm yourself with data and show them why your business deserves their support.

 

We’re By Your Side for the Journey

We are committed to guiding you through every stage of your business, allowing you to focus on what really matters—growing your business. Together, we can help you get your business in tip-top shape by implementing or improving your LIFT (legal, insurance, financial and tax) systems and ensuring your business strategies and systems are aligned with the life and business you want.

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