2012 is the perfect year to take your business to the next level. Start by increasing awareness for your venture. This way you can source feedback on your product, gain new ideas needed to make improvements, meet new co-workers and connect with possible customers, partners and investors.
At VC4Africa, the process starts by answering a series of questionsthat crunch your business idea into one page. This acts as a ‘business card’ you can use to promote your business and build a network amongst fellow members. By registering you join a growing network of entrepreneurs and make yourself visible to an investment community spread across 159 countries.
What are the benefits?
– A neat 1 pager on your business idea + Pitch (video if you have one)
– Download it as a pdf. and distribute yoursel
– Make your venture searchable to the VC4A investor network
– Build your own fan base and start developing your social traction
– Start sourcing feedback on your ideas and testing the market
– Become eligible for the VC4Africa Mentorship Program
– Become eligible for the VC4Africa Booster Program and be introduced to VC4A investors
– Be seen, and maybe our editorial team will contact you for a venture profile
Ok, we believe there are more than enough reasons to register your venture. Bottom line, it will be very hard to get people to support your business if they don’t know you exist. VC4Africa gives your venture visibility and this is what you need to connect with the world.
What about my intellectual property?
Look at some of the crunched plans online. They don’t have enough detail for you to even give away secrets if you wanted to :) Really, see this more as a profile like you have on Linkedin or Facebook. It’s a business card so people can find you easier. That said, your venture has to be interesting enough people will contact you and as always, never publish something you think is too sensitive and should not be known by the world.
How do I get my venture to stand out?
Investors see hundreds of ideas and rarely do they see a business they haven’t seen in some variation before. So how do you stand out? Well, actually, it’s easier than you think. You have to realize that most entrepreneurs starting out don’t have all of the pieces in place and simply doing a good job answering the questions puts you into the top 5%. It is about showing you have a working product, tangible traction, a great team, a simple (understandable business model) and give a clear idea about how you are (or will soon) make some money.
Here are some additional Tips:
Make it Personal – The investor invests in the entrepreneur behind the idea. Make sure your profile is complete and you have added any/all relevant information about yourself. Can they find your website, your profile on Linkedin and Twitter? Few people with take you seriously if you haven’t taken the time to upload a nice picture and give a clear introduction on who you are and your areas of expertise. If you have worked on similar projects in the past than be sure to say that! It shows you know what you are talking about.
Easy to Understand– Limited number of characters is a good thing because it makes you think about what you really want to say. Review your venture profile and now read it like an investor :) Is it easy to understand and convincing enough? If your not 100% sure ask someone (totally outside of your business) to check it and give you feedback. An example: When you get to talk about the team don’t say something like we have a ‘Finance Guy’ when you can give the name of the person and a link to their profile on Linkedin.
Show Traction – Ideas are not investible. Investors want to know what you have already achieved in building your business. They want to know you have TRACTION. Make sure whatever progress you have made has been mentioned i.e. the product has been tested, you have 2-3 launch customers, you are already making some revenue, the organization has been registered, you have a business plan ready to distribute, etc…All of these points make your business tangible, show results and invites the reader to contact you and find out more. The more concrete your progress the better.
Funding Need– Many times entrepreneurs ask for the most money possible. But is this really what you need to take the next step in growing your business? If you start lower you increase the chances an investor will reach out to contact you. Also realize, the more money you need the more of the business you have to be willing to give up in equity or eventually pay back later. The less you need the better. You keep more of your business and you force yourself to focus on only the essential parts of your plan. It cuts out any room for the ‘nice to have’ and investors appreciate you taking this step up front.
Once you feel confident about your venture, submit it for review. The VC4Africa team will take a look and in 9-10 cases come back to you with questions or points for improvement. It’s part of the process and to make sure that you always are putting your best foot forward.
Ready to register your venture?