Congratulations your venture has been published to VC4Africa! So now what? To be honest the process has just started :) The road to funding is a long one and 9 out of 10 ventures never make it. They either fail early, the founder quits or in the best case the entrepreneur realizes they don’t actually need funding and builds the business on their own. Whatever happens, you are sure to learn more than you would likely pick up with an expensive MBA. So what can you do to improve your chances of finding partners and support for your venture? Here are some tips we recommend you follow.
Post Updates – It is important you come back to your profile and update it. Make sure the community knows about your progress i.e. you hired someone new, you just finished a marketing campaign, your venture was presented at a conference or picked up for an article, etc….. The more activity you show the greater the chances someone will notice your work and be curious enough to contact you. And really, if you were an investor would you put money into a venture that has been ‘standing still’ for three months?
Build a Fan Base – How many people like your idea? Promote your venture and encourage people to like it. When members vote for your venture make sure you thank them for their support and work to keep your fan base up to date on the venture’s progress. They are your ‘social proof’ and can help to get your venture noticed in its respective field. Many times fans are your most valuable contacts. They can act as references for your work, give you invaluable feedback, potentially join your advisory, connect you to an investor or even invest themselves.
Engage the Community – Bottom line, if you spend time helping other members they have a reason to spend time on you. Join Groups on VC4Africa and participate in discussions. Post articles related to your business, ask questions to the forum or answer questions asked by fellow members. Look for a meetup in your area and network with fellow members. The more engaged you are the more visible you are. The more active you are in the community the more the community can see what you are about. This is the kind of ‘social proof’ you need if you expect members to notice you.
Seek Feedback – Investors want to know you are open to critical feedback and want to see that you are working hard to make your ideas better. Take a look at the Questions and Answers on VC4Africa and share your most difficult questions with the community. Get their feedback on your ideas and engage them in the process of building your business. You will be surprised by how many people are willing to help you. But remember…it starts with you!
Engage a Mentor – Do you have really difficult questions or do you have to go through an unfamiliar process? Applying for the VC4Africa mentorship program could be the right solution. Contact ben [at] vc4africa [dot] biz and express your interest in getting a mentor for your business. Your application will be reviewed and who knows you might score a mentor willing to coach you and help brainstorm solutions.
Free Feedback Friday – Free Feedback Friday is a mentorship program hosted by VC4Africa and stems from our interest to support entrepreneurs build successful companies on the continent. You can call in with your questions and business experts will see if there is any way they can help you. Get some valuable feedback on your business and some tips on how to improve your presentation. You can see the details for the next session scheduled for January 27th.
Conduct Due Diligence – Remember, there are a lot of faulty ‘investors’ out there and the African investment space is murky to say the least. At VC4Africa we are working to make the investment process, the organizations and individuals involved more visible. In turn, we seek to flip investing in Africa inside out and to bring more transparency to the space. Just remember, ONLY YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE for your due diligence. You have to check people out before conducting ANY KIND of business. Whether via VC4Africa, Linkedin or any other platform online or offline. If you want to know if the team at VC4Africa knows the ‘supposed investor’ in any way, send me an e-mail ben [at] vc4africa [dot] biz and I will see if I can help.
Starting a business is one of the hardest things to do. We know it is not easy. Just remember the VC4Africa (team and community) is here to support you. We want to see you succeed and we will do whatever we can to help you. At the same time, we want to celebrate your successes and encourage you to share your stories with the community! After all, your success is our bottom line.
Now let’s get your venture into the spotlight!