In order to succeed on a massive scale, you need to create values that people will follow and support. This is how brands and companies succeed. This is also how brands gain attention. “Apple” did not become successful because they made great computers; they became successful because their marketing campaign wasn’t about computers, it was about people and their creativity. “Nike” did not become successful by advertising shoes; they became successful by advertising great athletes and building values that were telling everyone “work hard and your dreams will come true because people are amazing”.
You should think about the most important value that you are trying to showcase on the market, not just your idea, and you should promote that value, not your product or services. This also shows that you are a visionary, someone that is not working to create something that is useful now, but someone who is able to predict the future and tell everyone: I believe that our future is going to look like this in 20 years, so now I am creating this because….
After you create that image, you can show people how you help them cherish that relationship and save money and time by giving them a part of a puzzle they need to realize that image. Help people understand those values, get them attached to your cause emotionally, so they can understand your goals.
Before you approach any investor, you should think about all this. Investors usually support projects that need their help to grow, not projects that need their help to start (unless they personally know you for a long time). First, you should create a landing page and collect emails – validate your idea – get a validation that people are interested to use your platform.
Once you can prove that users are interested to use your service, and you have active and growing userbase, regardless how big it is as long as it is growing and users are happy, it can even be a simple form of emails people left at your landing page, you can raise some funds.
Your app and online platform needs to look good and urban, it should focus on modern features that reflect your core values. Your UX needs to be symbolic and reliable. People are judgmental, so most of them will judge the quality of your services through the visual quality of your platform, plus, it is 21st century, robotics and virtual reality are taking over industries, your technology should be remarkable. A lot of teams on the market focus too much on the formality when it comes to their design, so users do not find their branding enjoyable and immediately forecast the wrong image about their service. Your website should be simple, stylish and friendly. This is why you should also create plans for further development and improvements that you can make once you raise some investment or grow your idea into a successful business.
Your presentation needs to be short, clear and supported by facts, research and results, not your opinion or ambitions, so use data from your market plans and feedback from your potential users to create a pitch deck for the investors. In the attachment, You can also use Visme to create your deck – it is awesome and full of great templates.
There are many great companies and projects on the market, so no one is willing to risk with emerging startups; everyone is looking for investment opportunities that are safe, improving our well-being or generating significant revenues quickly; show them that you are that opportunity by showing them that you understand every corner of your market and you can see how it will evolve in the next 20 years.
Your idea should help you present your vision, but once the investors invite you for a meeting, you need to inspire them beyond the letters of a document.
You should also conduct interview with your potential and current users, talk about your vision, ask them for feedback etc. You can easily create your questionnaire with Google Forms and share it with others. This might not look important, but this data is your leverage when it comes to fundraising. It also shows that you care about your service and customers. Remember, satisfied customer means successful business.
My next advice is that you should be very careful with features that you offer to your users – add them slowly, create a long term feature timeline; otherwise, they will be confused and hate your platform. Let me share with you one great story about this. One of my friends who used to work at marketplace in Sarajevo taught me a great lesson related to creating a great business. This might not be related to your idea, but you will get the point. One day he decided to start selling fruits and vegetables, so he prepared his business plan, found a supplier and started selling products on the local market.
When I went to see him, I saw that he was selling only a few types of fruit and vegetables. I was wondering why, but I went to see him again in a week and I saw that he added oranges and tomatoes, but removed potatoes. From that day on, every week he was adding something new and making some changes. All this confused me a lot, so I asked him what was going on? He told me:
“Look at all these sellers around me. They are all the same, selling everything at the same time, it confuses people and it’s boring. Look at me, I am making changes every week, so people are actively coming back to see what is new. I am adding something new so my customers will be interested to come back every week and I am removing products that are not selling well, so my new customers can focus only on things that are great.“ He was doing so well… he opened his own shop after two years”
You can also consider crowdfunding, but you need to create a really creative campaign. You can offer different benefits and discount as perks to your backers like free premium accounts and discounts etc. There are also many great agencies on the market that will help you raise funds for a percentage fee. Here are two of the best sites at the moment:
- CrowdfundX: http://www.crowdfundx.io/
- Agency 2.0: http://www.agency20.com/
Your plans have to adapt to industry trends, investors want you to be ahead of your time, plus it will save you from becoming a marketplace dinosaur. Look at what Netflix did to Blockbuster. This is why you need to put a lot of focus on expanding your offering, so if you establish some market share at this stage of your project within different product sectors, you can later dominate those positions individually,
Do not forget to share your knowledge with others through a blog. This might seem irrelevant, but it will help you establish amazing company (long term) and trust from the customers. Show them that you share the same spirit with them – “enjoy life” soul. Plus, it will give you additional channel from which you can gather amazing feedback that will help you shape your products.
Create your pitch deck and start hustling for funding.