It’s a trait which has always ruled supreme in the natural world – adapt or die. And this fundamental evolutionary principle is never more pertinent than when it comes to the business ecosystem.
Successful entrepreneurs learn early on that adaptation is an essential skill to develop. From adjusting your product to accommodate customer demand to changing your strategy in response to shifting macroeconomic conditions. Being flexible and quick to embrace change can make the difference between those businesses that don’t survive and those that thrive. Another area where adaptation can be massively beneficial is when it comes to securing business financing.
The essence of selling is telling your audience what they want to hear, without deviating from the truth, and this is what lies at the heart of getting your hands on that vital business financing option you need. Much more than just developing a pitch deck, you should be tailoring your message and the way that you choose to communicate to your who your audience is.
The product you are really selling to an investor for business financing is returns. How smooth an exit they’ll be able to make a few years down the line. By doing your homework on your investor, their track record and business interests, pitching is bound to be a much more successful process. You should vary the content of your presentation according to what you know of your investor around these basic elements:
Insight to the market
It’s remarkable how many start-up businesses fall down on this basic principle. Knowing exactly what problem you are solving or opportunity you are giving to which market sector is crucial. Demonstrating effective demand for what you have to sell is imperative and this must be incredibly well researched. Map out the potential size and shape of the market and its growth potential. Predicting this correcting is a fundamental make-or-break for any business. You should also be ready to demonstrate how you plan to communicate with your audience – what platforms are they already using? What are they saying on them? Using tools such as social listening can really help with establishing market demand.
Establishing a commercial operating model
Having the insight is vital, but you also need to be serious about how you’re going to turn that opportunity into a bottom line profit. Look at similar companies – either direct competitors as part of a competitor analysis – or companies using a model that you could adapt within a different industry. Knowing exactly how you’re going to make it pay, and how long it’s likely to be before you get to a point of profitability, gives you a credibility that will appeal to investors. It creates the markers for a strategic roadmap to success, and this will inform all the rest of your activities, from the markets you launch in first to your marketing strategy – all geared around what you know of what the audience is really demanding.
Establishing a brand
Brand identity is how you set your business and it’s offer apart from a globally competitive market place. Developing your brand should be insight-driven – use audience data rather than personal preference when it comes to making selections and test and retest concepts prior to launch to ensure you have the tone right. Everything from your web design to your packaging and your social media presence should align with the vision and values that you have for your company. Find an investor who you think will have a natural symbiosis with this.