It’s more than favorable projections and a straightforward pitch deck. Securing investors in 2021 means founders have to step up and shine.
That’s all well and good, but it is going to take a lot more than a well-timed pitch and some practice in front of the mirror to win these sharks over. Investors are looking for more than just a great concept and a solid business plan; they are looking to you as a founder to see if you will be a competent leader who can rally a team and inspire the company to great things.
In the ever-changing business landscape, top talent cannot be overvalued. As a founder, it’s your job to instill confidence in potential investors that you are the right person to lead your company to success and that they can trust you to manage both the day-to-day and the bigger picture, including scaling the business to new heights.
When it comes to vetting founders for potential investment, here are three qualities every investor is actively looking for.
1. They know how to hustle.
If there’s one thing everyone knows about entrepreneurship, it’s that the hustle never stops. From seeking out new creative solutions for outlandish quandaries to tackling the never-ending stream of late night emails and phone calls, investors want to know that you are willing to put in the work to make your business succeed, especially during unprecedented times.
Take Swish Goswami from Trufan as an example. A 23-year-old founder, his company has seen incredible growth due to the pandemic, which has meant many late night hours trying to figure out the company’s growth plan and quarterly strategy. The result of all this hard work? The company has doubled from 13 to 26 people in a year and raised more than $1.8 million to date from several NBA players and venture firms.
2. They are able to pivot.
One of the biggest skills of entrepreneurship is the ability to look at a challenge or hardship and see it as a springboard to find your next great idea.
When Diana Goodwin initially founded the sales and scheduling e-commerce platform MarketBox, it came from the heels of a previous business called AquaMobile, an on-demand swim lesson provider. Goodwin saw an opportunity to help other service businesses scale by leveraging technology and she decided to spin the software out of AquaMobile to form MarketBox. Taking this pivot and running with it, this female-founded business has now secured a full round of venture capital funding.
3. Professionalism, with a side of passion.
We’ve all met that super passionate founder who can’t stop raving about how disruptive their new business will be by 2030. While investors want to connect with founders who are passionate about their business, things can go awry when that passion takes away from their overall professionalism.
When meeting with potential investors, strike the right balance between seeming poised and reliable, and really divulging the heart behind your business. It’s OK to get caught up when describing your why. Just keep in mind that investors want to make sure that you have the skills it takes to focus and keep level-headed in all situations, so they can envision themselves seeing great returns in the future.