Investment networks can bring fruitful results for both investors and enterprises. The primary benefit is that they bring numerous investors together, matching them with relevant businesses that might suit their funding intentions. For entrepreneurs, who may often struggle to identify potential backers for their ventures, getting in front of an investment network could be an ideal way to pitch to many people at once.
However, as with approaching any funder, it is essential to identify appropriate networks for your business and find the right way to contact them. This may vary from network to network, but often it won’t be a case of simply walking in. Once you are in those networks, you will still need to shine a compelling light on your idea to ensure you engage investors and increase your chances of securing funding.
Below, we have outlined six ways to reach out to investor networks and kickstart your business’s funding mission.
- Research online platforms
- Reach out to contacts
- Attend networking events
- Check with local and industry bodies
- Speak with financial advisors
- Use social media
Research online platforms
In the modern age, there are many investment networks present online. Since the coronavirus pandemic, it is likely more have moved to digital channels to carry out their deal flow. Digital networks can be highly beneficial for businesses as they enable you to present at a time that suits you and reach investors from across the country or even the world, reducing time and effort spent seeking supporters. They’re relatively easy to join if you are eligible.
It is worth researching the platforms out there. You will find general networks that are open to all and industry, investment type, gender or cause-specific networks. By uncovering these more ‘niche’ networks, you might be able to find better aligned, more interested supports for your business if you fit the criteria.
Often, networks on digital platforms will allow people to submit information about their businesses that can be shared with members to peruse and decide if they wish to pursue the opportunity further. While this will often be simpler than filling out a lengthy application or crafting a pitch, it is essential to provide insight into your enterprise that gauges investors’ attentions. Aim to find the balance between being succinct yet still focusing on the value your business can present to investors and the wider world. This will enable you to maximise the opportunity and secure better engagement.
Reach out to contacts
Another way to become involved in an investment network is through an introduction from someone already in the network. It’s worth having discussions with your existing contacts to find out if any of them have used a network before or know somebody in one they can connect you to. This could include any business partners or industry allies you have or similar businesses who have previously utilised investment and can share their experience.
It can often be surprising who can help you when pursuing funding, so reaching out to contacts you already have might end up leading you towards a financial backer. Plus, having someone to introduce you is a great way to build your credibility and place you into networks on good terms.
Attend networking events
Alongside reaching out to your existing contacts, consider attending networking events to build new relationships. There is always a chance that investors may be present at these events, which could help you to identify funding opportunities or be introduced to investment networks.
There are many kinds of networking events, including local, industry and gender-exclusive events. There are also increasingly online networking opportunities. Take a look at industry bodies and local business communities to see what events they run and when. You might also uncover events by speaking to contacts who you know regularly attend.
Once you’ve found events that suit you, make an effort to attend them when you can, with a focus on building valuable connections for your business. You may come across an investor that will introduce you to their network. Even if not, you may identify other promising partnerships for your venture instead, such as suppliers, ambassadors and future employees.
Check with local and industry bodies
Another way to uncover relevant investment networks is to check any leading bodies within the industry or local community. Sometimes, there might be networks directly connected with the bodies, or they may recommend some that they have relationships with or previous members have used.
The benefit of identifying networks this way is that they may be aligned to your specific industry or area. This means you’re immediately more likely to meet the investment criteria and get in touch with people who are actively interested in supporting businesses just like yours.
Speak with corporate finance advisors
Corporate finance advisors can often act as introducers between you and an investment network. These advisors will be highly knowledgeable about the various funding sources available to your company and will have built countless connections with lenders and investors. This could include investment networks.
As such, it is worth speaking to a corporate finance advisor to discuss your funding needs and whether an investment network is a good route to take. If it is, you may also be given details for relevant networks to begin your funding journey. Some advisors will also work with you to tailor your pitch and increase your chances of achieving finance as an additional bonus.
Use social media
In an increasingly digital world, social media is no longer just associated with our personal lives. Now, professionals and entrepreneurs use platforms like LinkedIn to have conversations and network with one another. During the coronavirus pandemic, being present on social media has become even more important.
Social media can also be a great way to create new connections, including with investors. There are two ways to approach investors through the likes of LinkedIn. Firstly, you can build relationships with people who may be able to introduce you to relevant people. Alternatively, you can actively search for investors or members of investment networks and try to reach out. If you are doing this, you need to showcase your business’s relevancy by doing your research to avoid coming across as spam.
As with other networking, using social media is a great way to build valuable relationships on behalf of your venture – which could include getting in touch with investor networks and investors directly.
For businesses that can seize the opportunity, investment networks can be hugely beneficial is getting in touch with numerous investors and securing substantial funding. However, it is essential to build the right connections and do your research to uncover appropriate networks and approach them in a considerate way.
The methods above will enable you to reach out to networks – using online platforms, existing contacts and industry bodies – that suit both your business and investors’ needs. This helps to create mutually beneficial relationships that can lead to funding success and enhanced opportunity.
If you need support in seeking investment, we can help. Our advisors work with you to understand your requirements and can put you in touch with relevant sources of support and finance. We can also increase your investment readiness, helping to create sound business plans and effective pitches.
Get in touch today to find out more.