One of the best things you can do as a business owner is to read up on the successes and failures of others, using their knowledge to bolster your own. A recent Business Collective article is a great example. Eghosa Aihie, co-founder, and president of Alumnify was tasked with $500,000 in 15 days and was able to succeed. As he puts it, raising money can be simple, but is rarely easy.
The first technique he puts on display is hustle. Hustle can be a bit ambiguous, and while you may hear the word a lot, it’s not instantly clear what it can do for you. Think of it as a strong work ethic. Aihie says that “we knew it was imperative to get as many schools to sign up as possible to take a piece of the market share.” He became frustrated waiting for warm leads or connections to get a school involved. When cold calls only met with voicemails, he decided to take another step, calling at 5:45 a.m. to reach East Coast prospects before they went in for their 9:30 a.m. meetings. The ability to share this story could help your chances with an investor, who sees you will go above and beyond.
The second technique is ensuring that your prospects are always aware of what is going on with your business. What does this mean? Well, as Aihie puts it, your network is your net worth. You may never know who knows who or what they may be interested in. Always be sure to keep in contact with the people in your network. Alumnify sends out a shareholder update to investors, mentors, friends, family and potential investors. You may want to do something similar, to ensure that your startup is always in the minds of contacts and that they may be more willing to invest in a known product, so to speak.
The third technique to implement is working where the buzz is. This means trying to affiliate yourself with major organizations as well as get regular benchmarks, giving investors confidence that your business is successful. One example shared is when Alumnify won the largest pitch competition at the University of San Diego during Aihie’s senior year of college. Over 60 applicants were chosen, and only four made it to the finals with a total of $50,000 allocated to the finalists. Aihie and his team were able to win $40,000 of the allotment, and this would snowball into being admitted into the exclusive Founders Den and landing the largest deal in their industry’s history. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that an investor got where they are by working hard, and they value the same. Be sure not to grow complacent while looking for funds or fall into the trap of doing too much alone.