Ace Your Networking Game for Funding Your Start-Up

Networking is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people ace it and others find the process uncomfortable. Having said that it has become a necessity in today’s world. It gives more power to you as an entrepreneur and is a great tool if you do it right. Especially, if you are looking for investors to fund your start-up or business.

For start-ups, networking is essential. There are no two ways about it – be it finding customers, or looking for funding. It is not an easy task, and finding the right method of networking is not a simple task either, but it can be done. Here are some tips that will help you steer easily into the networking game and come out as a winner.


➩ Say Yes to Virtual Networking

The past couple of years has shown us the power of going virtual. From a way of life where we were all meeting people one-to-one, we had to be content with virtual meetings for everything from team conferences to business meetings. Thankfully, we are back on the track to one-to-one meetings, but that doesn’t mean you need to put virtual meetings and networking on the back burner. Quite the opposite – it is the best way to make an introduction. In a world where all of us are getting increasingly busy, it is best to introduce yourself to an investor virtually, via social media or business networking platforms. Even for those among you who are not comfortable with networking or meeting people on a one-to-one basis. The best part is that saves time and you get to gauge if they can help you with your needs.

Today there are many platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook (to name a few) to address your networking needs. From a one-to-one pitch to approaching groups, there are many ways to reach out to prospective investors to fund your start-up.

Keep it natural – it is very easy to overload your networking messages or conversation (in case of a one-to-one meeting) with unnecessary information. Believe me, that doesn’t do wonders for your cause. That is why it is important to get a goal when it comes to networking.


➩ Be Clear about Your Networking Goals

Set clear networking goals. Not everyone you network with can help you meet your goal. Make sure your approach the right contact – the quality of your network could ensure your success or failure (especially if you are looking at funding). It would be a good idea to keep in mind that the people you are networking with are busy So make the introductory contact (and every other contact) worthwhile for both of you. Understand that both you as well as the prospective investor stand to gain from this networking or association. There is a healthy give and take so make sure you put out your request for funding in an effective manner.

Keep the message concise and the ‘ask’ clear (when you get to the asking point). As I said before, everyone is busy (including you) and the clarity of your ‘ask’ can make things easier for both parties involved. I call it the 2Cs of networking – Conciseness and Clarity. For every networking your do – irrespective of the reason, it is important that you set down a goal as to what you want to achieve via that particular networking.

Create a pitch. Work and rework it, till you know that pitch aligns with what you want to ask prospective investors. Keep only necessary information or statistics. A one-to-one meeting is not always necessary. You can reach out to your prospective investors by sending them your pitch via email as well. Having said that if you are keen on a one-to-one meeting, book some time with them.


➩ Remember Networking Need Not be a Success Always

A lot of effort goes into networking when you are looking for investors for your business. It takes a lot of nurturing and finding the right ways and means to reach your goal of attracting investors. Despite every effort that you put into it, chances are that you may not find success with a particular network. It happens from time to time and from network to network. The key is how you can make the best use of a not-so-good situation. 

Not everybody you network with can help you with funding. But they may know other investors who can help. Request them to connect you with these investors. This is also a great way of increasing your network (and improving the quality of your network as well). Most investors, especially angel investors are connected with other investors. They are often a part of many investments and start-up communities and would be in a position to introduce you to these communities.


➩ Seize Every Opportunity to Network and Acquire Funding

Don’t limit your networking to social media or business networking. Sometimes, networking with family and friends can be a big help. You might tell me that it is not good to mix business with familial relationships or friendship. Agreed. But they may have friends or family members who invest in businesses. What I am trying to tell you is to leave no stone unturned in making a success of your business.

Another thing to keep in mind is that when you meet people, don’t be tongue-tied. Talk about your product or service – never let an opportunity go without talking about what your business does.

Sometimes, business conferences provide a great atmosphere conducive to meeting investors. Attend as many conferences as possible. Meet people, talk to them. Follow investor blogs – that helps too (they are a great way to connect and learn many things).

Once you go all the way out and seize every opportunity to network, it would make the going smooth to achieve funding for your business. Are you in such a dilemma? Are you looking for funding for your business or start-up? Reach out to me in the comments.

As a founder how do you like to network? Drop in your reply in the comments.