I watch Shark Tank too often. It’s embarrassing if I told you how often I watch it. One thing that I notice on the show is that the Sharks will talk more about the person and less about the business. Just this past week, Bethenny Frankel was the guest Shark and she told one of the entrepreneurs she liked him and would invest in him, not so much his company. So this brings us to the question of which is more important: the person or the idea? I’m here to tell you it’s the person. The person is more important than the business. You can have a really great idea but if the person is not up to task, the business will fail. So how do you become the person worth investing in? Great question.
When you’re looking for someone like a VC, Angel Investor, etc. they want to see a person worth investing in. Here are some of the things those investors will look for:
Are you just the CEO or do you own the company?
If you’ve watched Shark Tank a time or two (or 26) you know one of the questions asked of these entrepreneurs is how much equity they own. Are they 100% owners or have they essentially become employees? Investors want to work with someone as invested in the company as they are, and as a founder you’re pretty invested.
How are you treating your team?
The Captain of the boat is always the last to get on a lifeboat. They make sure everyone else, including their team are taken care of first. Are you putting your team members first? Are you treating them with the respect they deserve? Are they compensated fairly? What does your company culture say about you? This is something investors are looking at. They want happy employees who are treated well because it speaks volumes about the CEO and high turnover rates are expensive. When looking for an investor make sure you are treating your employees with the respect they deserve.
Share your values
An investor will invest in those companies they share values with. Be open and honest about your values. Make sure your website offers a mission statement. Facebook has a mission section. Have you ever noticed the social entrepreneurs on Shark Tank? They usually get an investment because they are vocal about their values.
Bonus tip: when you share your mission and values, you are more likely to attract more clientele who share those values.
People don’t buy what you do but why you do it. There are thousands of competitors but your unique values are what draw your clientele in.
The moral of the story is to be someone worth investing in. This goes for both investors and consumers. Investors want to feel good about their investments and people want to feel good about the businesses they spend with.