Realizing the good idea with investors
The search for investors is at the very beginning of the innovation process. Because some good ideas fail because of lack of money. While crowdfunding is about mobilizing the masses, the individual approach to investors is another way. And that takes time and a strategic approach. Which potential investors could you approach and how can you realize an idea with investors?
First you need an investor list, which you can create with Excel, for example. The free application "Google Docs Sheet" is also suitable. This allows you to display your figures and statistics as colored graphics, for example. Access is via PC, tablet or smartphone. Several people can also work on it in this way - even in offline mode. In addition to the master data of the investor, the following information should be entered:
- When was the contact made by whom?
- Previous steps/meetings + comments about their progress
- Current status
- Who does what until when?
If there is insufficient documentation, it is difficult to keep track of more than ten potential investors. There are various ways to get addresses and contacts:
- Already existing contacts
- Trade and industry associations
- Online investor portals
- Social networks (e.g. XING, Linkedin ...)
Research should always focus on the question to what extent the idea or innovation could be in the focus of interest of the potential investor. It is also interesting whether the company or the person has already invested in other projects. Hints can be found, for example, in the press area, which many companies maintain on their website. The economic situation of the candidate is also important. What use is an investor who files for insolvency after a short project run?
Find investors - whom and when to contact?
Once the list has been created, the question arises as to the best order of address. Who only goes after reputation and image of the potential investor, possibly makes a mistake. The larger and better known the target company is, the more difficult at least the cold acquisition can be. The better the innovation fits the candidate's goals or portfolio, the more likely he or she is to invest in the project.
If it is a company, you need the right contact person. Of course, it is best if you already know someone in the company and can ask them about the person. It is even better if your contact person brings you directly together with the decision-maker. If you know the name of the person and their network contacts are public, you can browse them and perhaps find someone who is also networked with you and introduces you directly.
Do not use Info@ addresses when searching for investors
Internally, investment enquiries are usually first forwarded to the person who is most familiar with the subject matter. If you have no first degree contacts in the target company, the research is worthwhile (website is usually less productive than Linkedin orXING). We strongly advise against sending a project outline or a business plan to an info@ email address. The risk of the programme going down or falling into the wrong hands is too great.
At some point, you have reached the point at which you send initial information to an interested party. It is now important to convey the essentials well-founded and convincingly - but please do not send a thick rind. If your materials arouse displeasure in the recipient, you will have lost your chance. Your e-mail or your chic concept will go to the "P" file. An "Executive Summary" and/or a presentation are best suited.
Well prepared for the first meeting with the potential investor
If this phase runs smoothly, a personal meeting takes place. The prospective customer would like to get a personal impression of you and understand your idea or innovation even better. By this time you should have prepared a business plan for your innovation. This contains, for example, the following points in short form:
- innovators (persons or companies - the latter with a more detailed description)
- Business idea/innovation and state of implementation including necessary further steps
- Market and competition analysis
- Positioning / unique selling points of your idea
- SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, risks)
- Pricing policy (on what terms should the innovation be offered later?)
- Target group(s), customers, potential customers
- marketing actions
- Further documents (e.g. contracts, industrial property rights, securities...)
You can find out much more about "innovation marketing" in a free e-book of 110 pages. This was developed in cooperation with the association IDEE SUISSE.
This covers all phases of the innovation process and also, for example, advertising media and other information media. Click here to download.
Dr. Birgit Lutzer and her editorial team are responsible for the content of Techno-Marketing.biz, an online magazine for technical marketing. She also runs the internet press portal WorkScout.biz. There, company reports appear in all journalistic formats. She also supports her clients directly in marketing and PR activities. She brings over ten years of agency experience to this work - as well as a broad network of media representatives and bloggers. As an author of specialist books, she has published several marketing guides. She also helps her clients to publish as a ghostwriter or editor.