If you’re planning or just beginning to grow your startup, the question of when and how to raise venture capital has probably already haunted you. You have every right to think about it intensely because having enough capital to get your business off on the right foot is essential.
Regardless, knowing when to seek venture capital is a tricky step forward. It's especially tricky if you don't really know the exact size of your startup or how unique it is in comparison to your competitors.
Once you decide to raise venture capital, attracting a venture capitalist is almost as challenging as running a business. Those who provide capital to startups don't do so without plenty of provisions in mind first. It's here where it's imperative to understand every aspect of your business to make it look marketable.
No doubt you've seen plenty of examples on shows like ABC's "Shark Tank" where the startup presentations don't prove enough future success in the marketplace. While you might not be gunning for Mark Cuban's attention, you too must prove your potential. Let's take a look at how you can make your Internet presence do so when a venture capitalist researches you online. This can entail everything from how your website gets put together to how you market yourself in the online world.
Marketing Potential on Your Website
You should always start first with a compelling website, since any investor will visit it when doing online research. On your website, you should prove the size of your company and whether it's really appropriate to seek the help of a VC. On your home page, have some videos that indicate what market you're really going for and what your budget is.
Keep in mind that you may start small and expect to have exponential growth soon. As you've seen on "Shark Tank", most people there already have a business well underway and just need more capital to take them to the next level. In your case, you may need time for business growth before seeking substantial capital.
Nurturing Your Social Media Presence
Forbes indicated last year that a vibrant presence on social media also helps gather venture capitalist attention. They may even visit your social media accounts before your website since they know there's more immediacy there (and sometimes, it’s just easier to find). They'll look at your recent comments and the content you post to see how much passion you have about your business idea.
Most of all, you have to show credibility that you know what you're doing. This works in tandem with every piece of content you post on social media or your site.
Providing Your Worth in Content
While videos are great for introductions, you need to give more concrete facts about your business that proves your industry knowledge. You can offer this through whitepapers, e-books, or even blogs. Consider an inbound marketing approach. Pick topics in your field showcasing your expertise and proving your worth, even if it's through testimonials of those who can vouch for you.
Include any articles you've published in the past through magazines or other blogs that pertain to your industry. Publishing cred like this can say a lot about how the industry already viewed you before starting your business.
Getting a startup off the ground is never easy, and raising venture capital can definitely make or break how far you get. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you’re properly—and professionally—represented online in a way that will not only help you stand out from the crowd, but prove your worth in a real way.