Is growth on your agenda for the 2022/23 financial year? If so, you may be hoping to attract investment or apply for a grant. An injection of money and business acumen can help business owners to realise their ambitions to scale up, but what will ignite an investor’s interest? Are you project managing the process of getting investment for your business?

“You can make your own luck in this life by putting yourself next to the people who are already winning.”
Jason Calacanis, Angel Investor

Why are investors interested in SMEs?

Investors are looking for a return. However, most also have a genuine interest in nurturing entrepreneurial spirit. A small business in the right market, with a great idea and strong team, offers an opportunity to fill gaps in the market and gain a competitive advantage. A smaller team is typically more agile and therefore is more easy to support, shape and adapt to future opportunities.

What are investors looking for?

Each investor will have an interest in a particular industry, where they can apply their knowledge, expertise and connections.

All will be looking for these common elements:

1. People – the company owners, team and company culture. People are at the heart of every business, so investors take a keen interest in who you are, how you work together, company values, skills and diversity. Synergy is critical for successful collaboration, so they have to connect with your personality as well as seeing business potential.

2. A realistic business plan – It is essential to have a clear vision, backed up by an understanding of how this can be achieved. This means knowing what resources, finances and processes will move you toward your business goals. What stands your business apart? How do you propose to mitigate risks? Where possible, back up forecasts with tangible data and research which will demonstrate your business as an attractive prospect.

3. Market insight – Can you provide a clear picture of your target audience? What do they want and why? What is currently meeting their needs and how can your company disrupt this by offering something better? Alongside this, there will be an interest in the marketing strategy. How is your company engaging customers and extending reach?

4. Sound financial management – An investor will require equity in your business in exchange for financial and business support, and therefore, to be an attractive proposition, your business needs to have a track record of financial management and evidence of financial growth. They want ideas that generate cash flow and plans that will generate a good return.

5. A confident pitch – Your pitch will likely involve the provision of paperwork and a presentation that succinctly conveys the key points. Usually, I’m talking about the 3 D’s, but for a pitch, it’s the 3 P’s: prepared, professional and personable. It is important to be genuine and open, yet confident and up to speed with the details. Your ideas, your story, your vision must convince them, but they also need to believe that you will deliver when they put you in front of others.

Project management for investment

So, attracting an investor is on the cards and that means it’s time to project manage the preparation. What tasks will need completing and who is the best team member to allocate them to?

To help get things started, I have prepared a Project Management Template. This is free to download from the 3 Document Solutions template library and it includes RACI, which is a project management method to identify who is:

  • Responsible – the person/people undertaking the task
  • Accountable – the person checking and approving the work is complete
  • Consulted – the person/people who must be consulted as part of the process
  • Informed – the person/people who must be informed that the task is complete

Allocating responsibility in project management

Getting everything ready for an investor pitch can be a momentous task, especially when daily operations continue. Who are the people with the right skills and knowledge and what capacity can they offer?

To ease the pressure, you can allocate responsibility to relevant parties outside the organisation which will help. Your accountant is an obvious resource for financial support, but you may also outsource market research, marketing and document preparation.

As a document architect, I can transform your information into professionally branded documents and presentations. Let me illustrate your data with infographics, graphs and Gantt charts so that you can deliver crucial information in a succinct and appealing format.

Looking beyond the business plan and pitch presentation, I can update other business documents which might be scrutinised as part of the process. Policies, handbooks and manuals. The result will be consistent branding and professionalism across the board.

To find out more about my document services and therefore how they could support your endeavour to attract investors in this financial year, get in touch with 3 Document Solutions.

For the best chance of investment

Gaining investment is fundamental for scaling up a small business. For the best chances of success, you need to articulate a clear vision, backed up by knowledge, insight and sound information. You need to balance professionalism, presentation and personality. Give it your all and be open to external advice and support.

Project Management Tracker: Free Download

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Is your SME attractive to investors?