We get it. You’re a young company with stars in your eyes and a dream in your heart. You’re setting out to change the world, and you’re willing to take on any challenges standing in your way.
To put that in a more concrete way, you might be a startup with a groundbreaking concept, new software platform, or creative endeavor that you think could make a splash in the market. Good for you. It’s not easy to make your way as a startup, and we applaud your efforts.
There’s a problem, though—you have the talent, but you’re lacking something critical: Money!
We feel your pain, trust us. One of the biggest challenges facing startups is attracting investors who support the cause.
Investing in the Future
Being broke as a joke is a problem for many of us, both individual and startup alike. We’ve all wished there could be some benefactor with plenty of income who would descend from the heavens to invigorate us with financial fluidity.
Good news! In the business world, they exist. These angels of investment are actually called “angel investors” (what a world!) but also take the form of Venture Capital (VC) firms or crowd-sourced funding groups like Kickstarter that aggregate donations from thousands of individuals contributing what they can.
And as you likely know, if you’re one of these cash-strapped startups, finding these investors can be a real hassle. But you can give yourself an edge by optimizing your website with the following strategies to make yourself more appealing to the wealthy and the generous:
Create an Investor Relations Page
The first step in presenting yourself as what investors call a “fundable company” is to create a page designed to give them a snapshot of your startup. Your investor relations page should be easy to locate from your home page and should include the following:
- Contact info: Name, phone number, address, email, social media, and any other channels through which you can be contacted.
- Credentials: Specific links to examples of your work and what you do outside of the site. Your LinkedIn, for example, may contain important information in this area that your site doesn’t list.
- Executive summary: This is where you need to pitch. When an investor reads your executive summary, the summary needs to clearly outline your vision for your startup, the passion you have for the industry, and the opportunity you provide to investors.
When creating this critical rundown, don’t be afraid to get a little personal. Investors hear tons of pitches, and if your business plan follows a cookie-cutter formula, you’re bound to get passed over. Statistics and high-minded ideals won’t make you stand out. What will make an impact will be a compelling narrative about the origin of your company and why you’re passionate about its growth. Stories resonate far better than data—test a few different options to see which best represents your brand.
Show Them You’re Serious
Aside from your investor relations page, you’ll want to include several things on your site to show VCs and the world at large that you’re a serious business with a serious mindset.
Best Web Design Practices
Initially, this means approaching your site with the same attention to detail and care that a billion dollar business would. (Not that you’ll have the same budget, of course, but you can certainly find a qualified web development company to give you a hand here.)
Follow the best practices of web design as a first step and ensure a smooth and comfortable web experience for whomever may visit.
You’ll want to include visuals and descriptive material that shows the public what you’re all about. Show videos about your products (even if they’re just prototypes) or describe in detail how your service fills an un-met need in the market.
If you’re aiming for crowd-sourced funding through Kickstarter and the like, make sure your site is accessible to more than just business-savvy investors and stresses values that will appeal to a broad market.
For example, you’ll have more success generating crowdsourced funding if you include descriptions about previous charitable actions you’ve done (if any) and what you plan to do as you grow. This type of information can be valuable in generating interest and goodwill towards your startup from both the public and investors alike. Find your unique selling points and stress those to attract the attention of your desired market.
Above all else, don’t get so caught up in optimizing your image that you misrepresent yourself, your business idea, or level of existing support. A lack of integrity is the kiss of death in this field—as such, honesty is essential in every move you make.
Do your best to distinguish yourself and show potential investors how you’re different from anyone else in the market. Attracting investors is a delicate balance of confidence in your startup and humility. Take Vince Lombardi’s words to heart if you manage to secure the attention of an investor: “When you get into the endzone, act like you’ve been there before.”