As a business owner, finding the right partners, employees or investors is key. When I started my business, I invested a lot of time in online research about how to attract interest in my project, where to find investors and how to attract the right people. There was tons of advice out there for start-ups. But, very often, I found this advice superficial and far from the real world. When I went through all the articles, I felt silly. It all sounded so easy: You just show up with your concept and – boom! – people will run after you. Well, it was not. Attracting interest in a business was a lot more effort than most people imagine. Where were all the potential partners? How could I find the right people to collaborate with? I eventually found my groove and decided to share it with you. So, what is it that you can do to spark interest of potential partners in your business?
Talk about It
This is the most important thing and it is often very hard especially for women: If you do not talk about your business, you will not get noticed. If you do not ask for advice or help, you will not get it. Use every situation to your advantage. The good thing for you as a business owner is that this type of career attracts a lot of interest. When I worked in Finance, people asked about what I was doing but they quickly moved on to the next topic. Later I realized that a lot of people are really interested in hearing about what it is like to be a founder. Use that to your advantage. You never know, they might know somebody who knows somebody who might help. I met a lot of really interesting people with this strategy.
If you want to talk about your business and successfully draw attention to it, you have to be confident. If you do not believe in your business, why should others want to join you on the ride? Always remind yourself about the “why”. We all have doubts and there are some days were it is really, really hard to not lose your confidence and your belief in your business. However, even on these days, you need to be perceived as positive. My personal trick is to have your story ready and train yourself to be able to capture your counterpart even if the rollercoaster ride is going down. Preparation really helps.
Fake it till You Make It but Do not Lie
On those tougher days, you will have to fake it. As I mentioned above, the key is to be perceived as positive and that you know what you are doing. You compete with established organisations for employees, partners and investors. Therefore, you need to convince everyone that you are worth the shot. This means: fake a smile if it does not want to come naturally and convince your counterpart that “Yes, of course, it is the best thing ever!”.
Imagine you let a bad day affect you and therefore miss a great opportunity. That would make it even worse. However, I do not mean that you should lie. Misleading others about what is going on will not only damage your reputation but also get back to you in the long-run. You yourself do not want to be cheated into a partnership. Hence, do not do it to others. But also, not everyone really needs to know if you are having a rough phase.
Be able to explain your business in a sentence. You might have heard of the elevator pitch. Imagine the following: you enter the elevator and you spot your ideal investor/partner. You have time until he/she reaches their floor to pitch your idea to them. This means you only have a few minutes or only seconds to share your business. An elevator ride might sound really short but compared to the attention you get in real life it is actually quite long. Our attention spans are really short. Usually, we decide after the first one or two sentences if they want to hear more. Therefore, I find it useful to be able to explain your business in one sentence only. If that sentence is right, you got them. And my personal tip: learn that sentence by heart. If your ideal partner/investor really is in the lift with you, you do not have time to think or stutter. You have to seize the moment and be fast. Preparation, again, is key. 🙂
Have a Demo/Brochure with You
If you managed to intrigue your counterpart, it is very helpful to have a demo or brochure with you. With digital products it is easy because they are only one click away. If you sell a service, talk about one of your all-time favourite projects to make it tangible. If you sell products have pictures on your phone with you. And do not forget to always (always, always) bring your business cards.
Tap into Your Network
Apart from the above-mentioned conversations with friends or people you casually meet at events and parties, strategically tap into your network. Who might be able to help to overcome your current challenge? Does anyone know the right people? Can anyone make introductions for you? Similar to what I said in the first point, asking for help is crucial. Again: If you do not ask for it, you will not get it. I cannot stress that enough.
Do you own a business? How did you draw attention of potential partners to it? Share it with me, I am really keen to learn more!