flickr photo by: KatLevPhoto
Since moving to San Francisco, CA in February I’ve interacted with tons of Angel Investors and Venture Capitalist (VC). More so on the Venture Capital side than angel investor side. Part of my interactions have been connecting prepared entrepreneurs for demo days, pitch meetings, or giving VCs referrals. Other interactions have been for customer development on a new product I’m working on.
There are a few basic VC rules when it comes to meeting with investors for entrepreneurs such as:
- Never be late to an investor meeting
- Always be prepared
- Always be honest
- Even when you’re not pitching you’re always pitching
- Do your investor research to know what type of companies they fund and any recent company
- Be prepared for rejection
- Always follow-up
Those are a few basic rules not only for venture capital meetings but for general business meetings and negations.
During, before and after meeting with an Angel Investors and Venture Capitalist as an entrepreneur a lot of times you’re in the position of need and the investor has all the answers to your problems, money. So it seems. In fact money is far from the complete solution to your problem and investors know that. But for many first time entrepreneurs they see investors as banks for loans and not as partnerships. This is a huge mistake.
Angel Investors and Venture Capitalist are people too and believe it or not the key data point that could decide if they’re going to invest into your company or not may not be your idea, your team, your profits or the size of the market for your startup but it could be does an investor like or trust you. Think about that the next time you visit the bank or your favorite restaurant. How do you treat your waiter, what would the teller at a bank say to a potential investor about how well you treat them.
One common paraphrase to describe the relationship between investors and startups is could you see yourself in the relationship with one another. In other words, as an entrepreneur could you marry an investor and the same for an investor, could they marry or live with the entrepreneur and their team. Yes, the relationship can and should be that serious.
Entrepreneurs at the end of the day, regardless of how an investor may act or treat you, people do business with who they like, know and trust and as the saying goes, treat people like you want to be treated.