You've come up with the idea for a fantastic app that's going to change the face of everything we know about mobile computing. It's a fresh take on entertainment, or a brilliant method of cloud computing, or a shocking new way to carry private financial information without the risk of theft. You've gotten developing off the ground, you've made the first moves towards development, you have a pretty good idea of how you're going to market the concept—but to scale up, you need investors.
It's a conundrum; to create a great product on a large scale, you need investors, but to get investors, you need to be able to demonstrate that you've created a great product. So what's an entrepreneur to do?
Perfect Your Pitch
Your so-called elevator pitch may be the shortest part of the information you present to potential investors, but it needs to be by far the most polished. It's your foot in the door; if you don't nail the pitch, no one's going to listen to the rest of your talk, no matter how pretty your data is. What makes a perfect pitch?
- Keep it short and sweet; don't ramble
- Start with the customer. See how this article begins? It's not a long story about how the author will show you how to successfully land every investor who comes your way. Instead, it addresses the problem that the reader will continue reading in order to solve. Your pitch needs to be the same way.
- Make it targeted. You'll speak to an investment banker differently than an angel investor. That's good! Know which pitch to use in which situation.
Deliver on the Follow-Up
Just because your pitch needs to be perfectly polished doesn't mean you can disregard the rest of your preparation. Craft your marketing plan, your business proposal, and your customer profile with care. Once you've got a potential investor's attention, they'll expect to see proof that you're more than just a great idea.
Think Outside of the Box
Funding sources for startups and small development projects are constantly in flux. At one time, only Angel Investors would help; a few years ago it seemed like absolutely every company runs a Kickstarter or an IndieGoGo campaign, so that it's almost impossible to be found there without serious publicity. Now, small business development centres are often running events like the American TV show Shark Tank, where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their idea to venture capitalists.
Where you look for investors is always changing. Be open to the all the options you can find. If you're not sure where to start, reach out to other developers and professionals in your field, and ask them who and what is out there. A referral can be a great way to get attention.
Don't Give Up
Sometimes, it seems as if all the stories of entrepreneurship that make the media are of businesspeople who tried and tried again, finding success that they never thought they would dream of. If you want to succeed in the world of starting your own business, developing your own app, and running your own company, you need to persist even when it's hard. If you don't want to, it's fine; this might not be for you.
But if you want to see your app idea come to fruition, then you're going to need to work for it. Start today; make a list of investment options that are available in your area. Look for local contests, regional events, options that not everyone has thought of. Look at your bank account, and see if you can get started on the money that you have available today. Accept that it's going to be hard, and do it anyway. Because it will be worth it in the end.