Time and again, I encounter the exciting question of how a company can find investors. In most cases, the inquirers expect to be given concrete contacts whom they can immediately approach with their request. The search for suitable investors requires time and thorough preparation on the part of the person making the request. A company that urgently needs a quick financial injection is better off with a bank.
From my many years of experience in setting up the ETH Zurich Foundation, I recommend the following procedure, which has proven successful in the search for potential major donors as well as investors.
1. project/product description:
- Goal, scope, duration of the investment.
- An attractive, motivating project/product description, no more than 1-2 pages A4.
- A web page with the project/product description
- A more detailed presentation for seriously interested parties
2. business plan for the project/product:
- the finances, scope and duration of the investment
- a competitor analysis
- a marketing campaign for the project/product
- a risk analysis
- a risk management
- project goals
- What benefits can the investor expect? Repayment, return on investment, profit shares, co-determination rights, marketing rights, patent rights, intellectual property, company shares with or without voting rights.
3. stakeholder analysis: who is affected by my project/product and how?
4. SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
5. list of potential investors, with names and contact details.
We distinguish between institutional investors and private investors. Business partners, consultants, employees, friends and colleagues can be included here as door openers, as they might have relationships with potential investors.
6. feasibility study
In a first phase, one can conduct a feasibility study with a smaller group of potential investors. This gives input on the possible implementation and at the same time gets the project/product talked about.
In which country do I look for investors? Only national or also international?
7. the investor
- must be affected by the project/product:
- large companies that are distributors, suppliers or end consumers.
- banks, insurance companies
- private investors who have a special business or personal connection to the company, the project/product.
8. addressing potential investors
The approach must be made by the company top management, personally and individually.
2. mail or email project/product information with cover letter.
3. ask if there is interest
4. make an appointment for a detailed presentation of the project/product
5. possible reactions:
- Needs more information
If the reaction is hesitant or dismissive, you should bravely swallow your disappointment and remain friendly and patient, thanking them for their time and conversation. At this point, time just wasn’t right for this investor.
Call me if you want to know more or need assistance with planning: 41 79 374 59 04, email@example.com; www.susanne-keller.ch