January 10, 2013
If youâ€™re lucky enough to have referrals to go on, your fundraising efforts are greatly simplified. At times, however, you wonâ€™t have the social network or the connections that would put you in touch with the caliber of people youâ€™re looking for. When thatâ€™s the case, youâ€™ll have to resort to contacting investors cold.
Cold contacting can be extremely intimidating and challenging, but with a few tips youâ€™ll be tackling it like an old pro. Since investors are busy folks, the best way to make a cold contact is by email, so weâ€™ll deal with that here.
Make your list
When youâ€™re just starting out, you might have to be a bit broad in who you choose to send your emails to. As you garner interest, youâ€™ll narrow your field to the more potential individuals or companies; but sometimes the best way to start out is to cast a broad net.
Look at the websites of potential investment firms and collect email addresses of partners. If you canâ€™t find a specific email address, donâ€™t take the easy way out by sending your message straight to the companyâ€™s inbox. Call the company up and get the addresses you need.
Make your introductions
Your first email is basically to introduce yourself and let folks know that youâ€™re looking for investors. You donâ€™t necessarily want to offer a whole lot of information right off the bat, and you certainly shouldnâ€™t send off your business plan when it hasnâ€™t been requested. Simply make your introductions, explain the line of work youâ€™re in, and find out what kind of investment firms youâ€™re dealing with.
Send out a teaser
If an investor responds to your introductory email, youâ€™re in luck! Put together a short â€œteaserâ€ email to send to each investor who expresses interest. This isnâ€™t an in-depth explanation, but rather just a series of bullet points explaining a little more about who you are and why investors should be interested in you.
Again, DO NOT submit your business plan unless the investor specifically asks for it. You donâ€™t want to overwhelm them, so keep your emails concise and clear.
Prep your presentation
Often interested investors will ask you to send a more detailed presentation explaining the highlights of your idea and business plan. Take great care with this presentation. Put a lot of thought into the contents of your slide show and make sure that each point will be easily understood.
In addition, donâ€™t disregard the design. If you donâ€™t have an eye for design yourself, hire someone to put your presentation together for you. A really slick presentation can make a great difference in whether or not your idea gets any further interest.
Present your plan
With any luck, youâ€™ll be able to set up a meeting with potential investors. This is your opportunity to share your business plan and idea in greater depth.