The word investor has become synonymous with billions.
Wherever you go in Zimbabwe, you hear people talking about investors. It’s an exciting time for our people and country.
But what is an investor? How does an Entrepreneur making furniture in Glen View attract an investor to help grow her business? This article must not be confused with political writings that have secured permanent placement in the press in recent weeks.
According to investopedia an investor is an institution or any person who commits capital with the expectation of financial returns.
From the above definition it is clear that an investor is someone who is willing to commit something in view of earning future returns. An investor is forward thinking. So how does one attract a forward thinker? How do you convince someone to commit and sacrifice their hard earned money to support your vision? How do you get that $1000 to help you grow from the tuckshop you are running at home to having a stall at the market? How do you convince a smart person to commit to your vision? How do you move from concept to commercial?
Invest your time; your first investment as an entrepreneur is in time. The discipline to commit time toward a vision. You can not expect an investor to commit more into your business than how far you as the proprietor are willing to go. They say whatever you focus on grows, and one of the objectives of business is sustainable growth.
Invest in skills: no one wants to deal with an ignorant Entrepreneur. As the proprietor of your business you must invest in knowing so much about your business, industry and market so much that you can answer questions in your sleep. You must be able to justify your numbers and defend them. The internet has blessed this generation by placing so much information in one place, be willing to pick up a book, learn a new skill or sit down at a workshop to hear from someone who has been there.
Invest in yourself: personal branding is essential, however beyond branding there must be real work that seperates wheat from the grass. Who are you? What is your identity? What do you do? Oftentimes the only difference between most businesses is in the company name and company logo. There is no genuine investment in building a real business or building a brand (which most people mistakenly assume to be a name or logo).
Invest in solutions: The space for the primitive copy and paste businesses is growing smaller. You can’t do zvihuta anymore because everyone is doing them. You can’t build a legacy by shifting grounds always in pursuit of what’s hot or what’s fresh because like mheni (lightning) when you hear the sound, it has already struck. I am not implying that you should not have fluidity of mind nor should you be rigid in your ways. If you are going to get in there have a solution, a business model of some sort. These in-season business seldom last the mile unless if you have a plan to sustain the business beyond any seasonal hype. A good business goes beyond the customer, it attracts the investor.
‘As an Entrepreneur I have found that rejection has been my biggest teacher. I think many Entrepreneurs rush to find investors yet they are not investor ready. Entrepreneurs need to take their time instead of chasing that dream offer. How can you expect someone to trust you with their money if you have no idea how you are going to use it.’- J.P. Matenga
Before anyone can invest in you or your business, you must be investable, others will say bankable. Investors no longer just invest in companies they are interested in the people running the companies. What do you have to offer?
Being investable is not a matter of having money, but having the character, work ethic, clear vision, a game plan etc that any investor would want to associate with.
Everyone wants to associate with results. Find a way of moving from concept to work in progress. This way you have bargaining power (valuation) and a better chance at securing an investor for your business.
If you are in Zimbabwe your investor may not be the big Massachusetts venture capital firm, they could be someone within your network. A family member, a colleague etc.
Now go out there and be epic! God bless