Smart needs (was: Their terms)
Suggested topics & further reading:
An investor can provide you with more than just cash. Often they have experience as an entrepreneur themselves, have some valuable contacts or have links to talent that can help you expand your business. Using insight from the questions you asked yourself in the previous blocks, you can determine which aspects of building your business you could use some help with. A public investor might be able to help you come in contact with governments: if your business is focused on the public sector or if your product isn’t lawfully approved yet. A corporate partner or a university could, for example, help you develop your product further by leveraging their high-tech facilities and knowledge.
Just the way you did with your terms, think about your ideal investor and their ideal deal offer: What do they typically offer and ask for in return? Do the terms of that sort fit with the ones you’d like to offer? Think about ways to improve the alignment between your terms and your investor’s terms. Do not hesitate to be critical: It is fine to say no and explore other options if the terms of the deal don’t feel right.
Consider your smart needs and ownership preference: Do you want something more than money from your investor?
What kind of role do you want this investor to play? For instance, maybe you want an investor who has access to the US market, or maybe you want an investor who can attract solid technical talent to your team. Do they want to advise, be actively involved or just want to be passive?
Does your potential investor have a focus on your business’s sector?
Based on your current weaknesses and future plans, what expertise or contribution (beyond money) do you need from your investor?
What are areas in building your business that you could use help with?
Does the investor offer sufficient added value (beyond capital) for building, supporting and/or scaling your business model?
Have you checked the investor’s track record concerning the extra value they offer? Have you checked how many successful exits they’ve been able to orchestrate? It can be a good idea to talk to some companies in your investor’s portfolio; they can give a good impression of your investor’s track record in creating value and incentives for the portfolio companies.