Each Athena Executive Club meeting includes Business Development Training. These short sessions are designed to share useful tips, facts and ideas covering a wide range of issues relevant to executives and entrepreneurs. Athena Executive Members come from a diverse range of backgrounds with an immense wealth of knowledge and experience which we all benefit from during these member-led training sessions.
Are you thinking about seeking investment for your business? If so, consider:
Where do you want your business to go? What can be achieved without any investment? Will you develop a new product, perform market research, create more awareness, do more marketing or hire staff with the investment?
When Alexia began to invest her own money for things such as website design and advertising, she soon realised that it wasn’t going to last forever. She approached those around her for ‘Love Money’ – a type of investment received from friends, family members and loved ones with little expectation that they will ever see it again.
With this ‘love money’, Alexia was able to hire an intern and one employee to start the momentum in her business. This meant that most profit went back into the business and a return on their investment will take time to mature.
Instead of allowing organic growth, FoxySales decided that they wanted to accelerate it and needed investment to do this. A 5 year business plan was developed and they began the process of meeting investors.
Who should invest in your business?
This should be decided by all parties before you start looking for investment. Once you have decided that you are going to seek investment, it is important that you decide on which type of investment you are looking for. Rather than leaving it too late and seeming desperate, make your choice early and take your time in finding the right person.
Think about your business and who might be interested in collaborating with you. For FoxySales, types of investors who could be interested might be within the media industry (for advertising potential) or logistics – their network and expertise would be useful additions to the business model.
Business Angels – this type of investor might be within your business network and see the potential in what you are doing. They may want to invest a small or large sum of money but have little to do with the day to day running of the business. Often, business angels are keen to start their own company but decide to invest in someone else’s company as a first step.
Venture Capitalist (VC) – these investors will expect a proportion of your business and/or profit in exchange for their financial input. They are also generally very well experienced in the business world and provide business advice and mentoring. Return on investment is very important to them; VCs are business savvy and will expect a defined business plan with a clear growth and profitability strategy. When meeting with them, they will question you a lot so you must know the business inside out and be prepared to answer anything.
The investment pitch
Once you have selected the type of investor and decided why you want the money, you will need to prepare a pitch. You might be competing with other businesses for the same investment so it’s important to spend time considering and preparing your pitch.
Knowing what is at stake for your business makes this a very stressful process, but here are some of Alexia’s top tips:
- Be prepared – you must know the company, product, service inside out
- Have passion – believe in what you are doing
- Ensure you have a unique value proposition
- Explain what problem you are solving for customers
- Be creative and make them dream about your business – create a vision
- Highlight your team members and what they bring to the business
- Be simple, unique and catchy
- Don’t say too much, let them ask for more information
- Create scarcity and exclusivity
- Don’t expect an instant investment – it rarely happens after one meeting
- Don’t be ashamed about asking for money
- Make it clear there are no guarantees
They have both worked in marketing and brand management roles in France and Asia so they understand the local market well and how important brand awareness is.
After much research and studies into the Asian online shopping market, they joined forces to launch FoxySales and Wanted Labels – an online retail concept offering pop-up ’boutiques’ introducing exclusive brands from overseas not available in Singapore, Hong Kong or Malaysia yet.
An exclusive members-only online shopping club, organising 7-day sales of well-known brands and designers at up to a 80% discount, FoxySales brings fashion apparel, designer bags, jewels, kidswear, footwear, sportswear, homeware, books, and electronics to their members.
FoxySales is always on the look-out for great deals, and they work hand-in-hand with internationally recognised and established brands , including:
Fisher Price, Tefal, Sassy, Swatch, American Vintage, Clarks, Little Blue Lamb, Le Creuset, Barbie, Nintendo – and many more
FoxySales aims to enable members to discover and buy brands they could not normally afford as well as to help brands sell their surplus stocks in a qualitative environment whilst meeting new and unexpected customers.