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Opinions of Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Columnist: Charles Senam Worgbah

How young entrepreneurs can position themselves to attract opportunities for growth and increase

Charles Senam Worgbah, author Charles Senam Worgbah, author

As an entrepreneur, you would often find that your resources are exhausted at the initial stages of building your business. You probably used all the resources you had as seed capital to facilitate market research, planning and product formulation. By the time you are done, you realise you have minimal funds to expand the business. This is where you need to aggressively find investors. In the wake of COVID-19, prudent entrepreneurs are busy positioning themselves to attract opportunities for growth and increase. How is this possible?

Here are three tactics you can use:

1. Start a research

You may have funds to start your business, maybe up to the point it stabilizes if you are lucky, but to scale it, you need funding. This is where investors come in and yes, they are still available regardless of the pandemic.

To avoid being ripped off, you need to know which investors suit your business, how to target them, and how you want them to contribute. You also need to be ready to air what you are bringing to the table. Define your need, budget, and expectations before you target the investor.

Having this information is crucial as you define the type of investor you need and the strategy to apply in getting them. We will discuss this at length in a future article.

2. Exploit the digital space

Taking advantage of the social space may be as simple as making ‘constructive noise’ on social media, but it could also mean more engaging processes such as driving sales through digital marketing. Whichever platform you use, you need to grow your brand.

Holding online meetings, participating in webinars, and being active on forum discussions and business pages are some of the ways by which you can exploit the digital space. Try to have footprints everywhere, on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and so on. In addition, have an active and interactive website or blogs.

3. Pitch

Approach a potential investor you have identify and have clear and well-grounded description of what investments are needed. At the same time, present an honest and convincing picture of how far your business have progressed and what you've already achieved. Make sure the investor has to gain an objective idea of when their contribution can start bringing the return. Make a thorough professional business plan showing achievable goals and practical steps to reach them.

4. Know your Product

Just believing in your ideas isn’t enough, you need to back up your ideas with research and testing. If your business includes a product, have a working proto-type that you can present to interested investors. Show them that you’ve done your homework and know that your business is a ready to go and a game changer in the market place.

Master COVID-19 not the other way rounds

Here is a valuable reminder to every young entrepreneur; Coronavirus has deterred many companies and driven entrepreneurs off course but you do not have to be one of those. However, it takes more than knowledge, experience, and a good idea to succeed. Most entrepreneurs are abandoning great innovations simply due to a lack of growth and increase.

They hit a snag and withdraw. This does not have to be the story for your business. It is a convenient time to redefine your business by attracting investors, repositioning your products, investing time in training, and taking advantage of the technological space.

Repackage your products and your company to attract investors

Before we target investors, we need to define the type of investors we need and the strategy to apply in getting them. The company brand image speaks volumes about the unique proposition of their product(s) and or service(s).

Repackaging should not be limited to products and services but, additionally, look at physical evidence, a very important tool in the extended marketing mix. Personal brand is very important area in business as a young entrepreneur. Positioning yourself in the area of your outfits speaks a lot in your business dealings. Physical appearance is key when it comes to attracting a major investor.

Types of Investors

There are two main types of investors.

Angel investors – They mainly invest their money in your business. They do this mostly to share their expertise as they keep abreast of current trends. They are passionate and will openly share their expertise and networks to boost Return on Investment (ROI).

Venture capitalists – These are companies that invest funds or financial assets on behalf of other companies, mostly corporate bodies. They will be reluctant to take the risk if your business is still a startup. They are stricter than Angel investors thus want some control of the business as they are results-oriented.

Strategies for positioning your business for growth and increase

Before approaching an investor, you need to be clear on the areas you need support. It would be best if you also had a clear strategy, a budget, a ‘killer’ sales pitch, and a clear structure that determines how much control you want your investors to have. Once this is clear, you can now reach out.

How to attract investors

a. Warm-pitch: utilise your networks, whether in professional forums or social forums, target the core personnel, for instance, the grant managers. The prospects here include family, friends, and colleagues.

b. Cold-pitch: this means sending your pitch to people who do not know you. You would need to research widely to get the right prospect. Fine-tune your pitch to convince them on how your business can be a solution to their needs. Send the pitch and make calculated follow-ups.

Take advantage of the Social Space

Make ‘constructive noise’ on social media. Grow your brand by being attractive and active on social media. Have an active and interactive website as well as other social pages. Social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, help you reach nations you can’t be physically present.

YouTube is one major channel you can gain traction through many videos about products and services of your company. It is highly effective in positioning your brand on a different level out there. LinkedIn is a must for every young entrepreneur. This a platform that helps you build your network and connects you to people in different professions. LinkedIn also offers professional courses and training that can help in self-development for a smooth professional journey ahead.

Finally

Entrepreneurs are a passionate lot. Even amid global challenges, they maintain positive energy. That is the only way to grow consistently. If you fail, pick the lesson and run with it. Keep learning and getting equipped to be more valuable each day.