After a lot of preparation and networking, you finally landed a meeting with a promising investor. Now you need to maximize your chances for success. Here are some guidelines to make the most of every encounter. These tips may seem remarkably basic, but you’d be surprised by how many entrepreneurs slip up when it comes to professionalism. Here are a few reminders on how to put your best foot forward when it comes to communicating with potential investors.

 

1. Be thoughtful about email

Respond quickly

Every email you receive from a potential investor should be answered within 24 hours or less. If you can’t get them the document or data they need within that timeframe, at least email them back to let them know when you can get them what they’ve requested.

Keep it short

Investors are busy people, so keep your missives short and to the point.

Proofread and use spellcheck

Typos can cause a potential investor to lose confidence in your professionalism—and in your business.

Say thank you

After an in-person meeting, don’t forget to thank the investors for their time.

 

2. Keep your promises

Be prompt and meet deadlines

Show up on time. Be ready for phone calls. Deliver proposals, financials, and other documents your potential investor asks for by the deadlines you’ve agreed to.

Don’t cancel or reschedule meetings at the last minute

If you can’t show up at when you said you would, what does that say to potential investors? That you’re unreliable. Failure to keep your promises will raise red flags.

 

3. Know your numbers

As part of the due diligence process, investors will crunch the numbers to evaluate if your company is a good investment. But before you get that far, most will want to see preliminary data that show your business is viable and on an upward trajectory. You should be prepared to explain your company’s progress, from historical revenue (with hard data to back it up) to future projections (with well-reasoned explanations for the assumptions you made).

Here are some useful metrics to have at your fingertips:

  • year-over-year revenue
  • gross margin
  • year-over-year net income
  • number of customers
  • customer retention rate
  • customer acquisition cost
  • customer lifetime value
  • outstanding debt
  • projections for the next one to three years

If you can’t tell your growth story based on such metrics, or if the numbers don’t add up, you’ll quickly lose credibility—it shows that you don’t know your business nearly as well as you should.

Work with people on your team with a finance background to prepare the data you need for investors as part of an executive summary.

 

4. Dress for success

No one has lost investors because they dressed professionally for a meeting. So save the jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers for when you hit the bar to celebrate reaching your investment goals!

What #Professional rules do you live by? Let us know @LighterCapital and get all tips via #FundingFit.

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