"How can I help?"
Have you been on the other end of “How can I help?” from an investor and after taking them up on their offer….crickets?
Here are 5 tips on how to get investors to respond:
Ask a specific question
When you’re just starting out you often don’t know the questions to ask so the tendency is to spill your guts all over email hoping that the person on the other end will distill your history and give you both the questions and the answers. The reason you’re not getting a response is because no one can do this for you. You probably need to be a little further along in your journey before talking to an investor. Investors aren’t a**holes, they are just busy. Wait until you’ve formed a question before reaching out.
Do your homework
What do you know of this investor? What deals are in their portfolio, how long have they been involved in CPG, what did they do before they were an investor? Investors are human beings and recognizing them as an individual will help you hone in on relevant topics and questions.
Don’t just be seeking money
If you sent your pitch deck cold and said you’d like to be considered for investment, don’t expect to hear back. Investors looking for deals are out there as attendees, panelists, or judges at pitch events and that is where you want to be. You can still send a personal email and say “Hey, I’m pitching at X, will you be there?” but don’t focus only on the money.
Don’t drone on about your product
Founders tend to be too product focused. While there’s not a formula when talking to an investor, within the first 30 seconds you’ve got to describe the problem you are solving and how big of a problem it is. The product piece should not go into major detail – only as it relates to how it is different than the competition. And if your product is so weird there is no analogue, the more important your evidence of traction becomes so stop talking about the product!
Send regular updates
Keeping investors informed of your progress is a good idea. Make an outline and keep it simple. You want to touch on these topics: revenues and revenue growth, new distribution, repeat customers (retention rate), any other milestone or hurdle (like manufacturing), gross margins, new branding or packaging, new team members, new advisors, or where you’ve been accepted for incubation. If you don’t want to do this yourself groups like AngelSpan provide investor relations and their team can keep you on a consistent communication schedule.
All my best,