I recently attended an excellent funding workshop for high growth businesses by Martin Carruthers from Grant Thornton. He spoke about the different funding sources, their pros and cons as well as the long-term implications for companies.
One thing that struck me was how even here, communications is key, in order to achieve the desired results. Banks, venture capitalists, angel investors, funds – they all represent stakeholder groups and it is of paramount importance that you use the correct content and communications channels to engage with them effectively.
Using the DNAsix model, let’s examine the six steps you need to take to achieve this.
Clearly, if your strategy is for high growth and this involves investment funding, you need to put together an effective business plan. This should include a strategic vision, key messages as well as a cohesive long-term vision for the company. It is also vital that you understand exactly which funding sources you should be targeting. From here, you can then ascertain the best way to communicate with them.
It goes without saying that if you have a high growth business, then you should be prepared to take risks and rip up the rule book. Whilst some leaders may possess this mindset, if the whole senior management team or workforce are not this way inclined, then you’ll not progress. Innovation, creativity and an environment where good ideas are nurtured, are critical. This is something which will quickly be picked up by investors.
If you want to reach out to individuals or companies and encourage them to invest in your business, then you will have to create relevant and informative content. Depending on the audience this could go from simple spreadsheets and written documents right up to concise infographics and even short videos. Communicating your vision is key to getting investors on board. Some may not be able to visualise your plan immediately so will need a route map.
Engaging with stakeholders is key – using whichever channels are most appropriate. LinkedIn is clearly a vital tool and should be used to its full potential. As such, your business should have a defined strategy for using LinkedIn across the company. However, face to face networking is still the most effective, while Twitter can also be a great market intelligence and networking tool. You do have to be proactive though and engage with your stakeholders wherever you need to.
In order to reach out to the correct people to fund your business, you may need to invest in paid-for services on LinkedIn. Premium or Sales Navigator help you to identify both the companies and individuals you may need to target and reach out to them either using In-mails or using your existing network of contacts. For this to work though, you will need to have an effective LinkedIn strategy in place within your business.
There are three ways you need to use and interrogate data in order to get the funding you need.
- Look at your market. What market intelligence can you extract to understand how you can grow your share in it?
- Who are the investors, how can you reach them and what can you learn about them?
- How can you use the data your business creates to form a cogent argument within your business plan? This includes your CRM system, channel analytics, competitor analysis and financial statements.
How you represent this data may be key to bringing investors on board so think carefully about how it can be translated into the content appropriate for the individuals you are targeting – whether this be in the pre-planning phase, presentations or in-depth investor statements.