As a business owner, you know that it’s important to constantly be growing and evolving.
You may also know that it can be difficult to do this on your own.
That’s where investors and mentors come in.
They can help you take your business to the next level by providing guidance, support, and resources.
But how do you go about finding an investor or mentor?
And once you have one, how do you make the most of the relationship?
Read on for tips on both topics.
1- Determine what you need – a successful/expert shark, a silent partner, someone to bounce ideas off of, or full-fledged mentorship
What do you need to make your business successful?
Do you need a partner who is an expert shark in the industry?
Do you need a silent partner who can help with finances and resources?
Or do you need a mentor to guide you through the start-up process and provide advice along the way?
For some business owners, the one thing missing was the person who could them me in front of the movers and shakers in their industry.
When you surround yourself with high-caliber players and experts, they will push you to improve.
You never want to be the most intelligent or wealthiest person in the room!
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room!
Determine what resources and assistance you need to take your business to the next level, and then find the right person to help you achieve your goals.
With so many people out there who are willing to offer their help, it’s important to know what type of support you require in order for your business venture to be successful.
Take some time to assess your needs and then reach out for the assistance that will make all the difference.
Sharks are hesitant to invest with those who put in work but don’t take the time to analyze their growth strategy or assess their needs.
2- Research who would be a good fit for your business and target them specifically
When starting or growing a business, it’s important to have the right people on your side.
One of the best things you can do is research potential investors and mentors and target them specifically.
Start by doing your research.
Discover the hot buttons of your particular shark.
What are their sweet spots?
What are the interests of the shark you want to catch?
Find out what they do in their spare time.
If you’ve got a golf angle for a shark, you’ve just tapped into the sweet spot and hot buttons.
You should know what gets them excited.
What motivates them? It’s not always just about the money.
This will help you form a strong relationship with them and increase your chances of getting funding or advice.
By doing your homework ahead of time, you’ll be in a much better position to make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.
3- Network and connect with them in a way that is respectful and professional
Meeting the right people is all about pursuing specific environments.
You’ve got to get creative, especially if you’re on a tight budget or no budget at all.
Make sure you’re in a position of adding value . . . whether it’s your personality, your contacts, or something unique that people want more of.
For example, when I wanted to meet high-profile people, I knew being part of a prestigious mastermind group would place me in their environment.
In fact, this mastermind was with Richard Branson on Necker Island.
It was mind-blowing and totally changed the game for me.
I’ve learned things I didn’t even know and opened my eyes to more.
Richard Branson has mentored me, so I’m not ashamed to go find a good mentor and get some advice.
Therefore, if a mentor/investor are what you need, find out where “they swim” and go there!!
Once you grab the shark, make sure you maintain the relationship by being communicative and showing gratitude.
4- Stand out from the rest
Steve Jobs said, “Every new business pitch should do three things: inform, educate and, above all, entertain.”
I would like to add another and that is to transform—to solve a problem.
People invest in people, not only products or services.
I always tell business owners and entrepreneurs……
For a shark to be remotely interested in your business and in you, the most important thing to do is to stand out from the rest.
Have your pitch practiced and ready.
Be able to reel it off at a moment’s notice.
Not only do you need to know your pitch, you need to know it in a way that could be easily converted, depending on the environment.
All sharks, including myself, love it when the pitch presentation involves a magical transformation and proof of concept.
“You have only 6-8 seconds to grab the attention of a shark investor during a pitch.” –Kevin Harrington
Also, your pitch should be a story you can easily tell.
Just as you can easily talk about the great qualities of your spouse or children, your pitch should be just as organic and not sound manufactured.
5- Create the perfect bait
In order to catch your shark, start by creating the perfect bait.
For example, in 2016, there were approximately 50,000 entrepreneurs auditioning for Shark Tank.
It is quite a process to whittle that number down to about 300 aspiring entrepreneurs actually chosen to appear on air, with an opportunity to pitch their products.
The process is long and involves numerous steps.
Of the 300 businesses progressing to the live show, approximately 30 entrepreneurs got their shark and landed a deal.
How did the first batch of people get through?
It all boiled down to one thing: creating the perfect bait.
Another brilliant shark (and my mentor), Richard Branson, has these tips for a great pitch:
- Avoid wishy-washy language, like “We hope that—” or “With some luck we will—”
- Your pitch needs to be clear, concise, and something that investors can easily understand and repeat.
- Give a clear explanation of why your business model will be sustainable and be able to pull through technological changes and markets shifts.
Put yourself in the right environment to meet the shark you need.
Be creative to get your foot in the door of high-end exclusive places and maintain a mindset consistent with the shark you want to attract.
Be considerate of your shark’s time. It’s extremely valuable.
Understand the type of shark you need in your business by assessing your current team and determining one shark type that could benefit your business and growth strategy.
Know your pitch and be able to adapt it to your audience— always deliver with passion and enthusiasm, remembering people invest in people.
Do everything possible to stand out from the rest—be the person who people want to be around and invest in.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – investors and mentors are usually more than happy to give it!