What my time in prison taught me about raising angel investment funds

So here I am sitting in my prison clothes, fingers on the keyboard, posting selfies. To be honest it was a bit of a crazy week. It was a crazy week because every day I was posting questions and making remarks about my up and coming time in prison on all my social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter etc).

Of course I wasn’t really going to prison, I was drafted in by colleague of mine to do a Jail Break to raise funds for Transitions UK, please do send them a donation if you found this article helpful in your entrepreneurial finance raising. One phenomenal fellow convict I was privileged to meet was Andy.

Now I don’t know if Andy was a professional fund raiser or what but…..well all I can say is that it was like watching a well-oiled finance raising machine in action. Here is my very impromptu vlog interview I had with Andy. In this vlog, Andy shares his system on raising money for charity.

Now as per normal, we share our own notes of the interview below the vlog, but you have to watch it as you will pick up much more than is covered in our notes. The notes I’ve written share how we have used Andy’s fund raising techniques to raise over £2 million in angel investment for our businesses and property acquisitions.

7 steps to being the ultimate fundraiser

  1. Make a spreadsheet list of every single person you know.
    • This spreadsheet should have several sheets for friends and family, business colleagues, suppliers, people you’ve met at events and so on. Essentially do a mobile phone and email contact list dump
    • If you use social media, then do a dump of your Facebook, Linked-In and Twitter accounts
    • On each sheet create columns for Name, address, phone number, email, FB account
    • —-
  2. Once you have made a list of all your contacts, call or email everyone and let them know a month in advance how you’ve started a new business and might at some time in the next 30 days call and share your business with them.
  3. Create an angel investment proposal. The proposal should include what you want and what you are prepared to give in exchange for what your contacts will lend you. Have in mind the maximum you will offer should you contacts wish to negotiate for more than is in your proposal.
  4. A few days to a week after your initial email contact, call your contacts and ask if you can come over and share the details of your new business.
  5. There are two approaches when you see your friends. The direct approach and the indirect approach. Whichever approach you use, you must make the whole presentation fun, friendly and un-intrusive. Choose the strategy that suits your personality.
    • With a direct approach, you share the investment proposal with your friend and then ask them what they would be willing to put down against the total amount you are trying to raise. For example, if you are trying to raise £100,000 end your proposal with “so can I put you down for £10,000 or £20,000 pounds.
    • With an indirect approach, ask your contacts if they know of anyone who is intelligent enough and able enough to understand the benefits of your proposal or ask if they could look at your proposal and tell you how they feel you can improve it. Share your proposal with your contact. Let them ask the questions. Then ask, “so who do you think would be interested?” The more questions your friends ask, the more likely it is that they are interested in investing in you.
  6. Once your contacts have agreed to invest in you. Write your contacts phone and email details and ask your contacts the best time for them to give you a cheque.
  7. Should your contacts decide to invest with you. Follow the call up with a thank you card or a small thank you present.

Whether your contacts say yes or no be courteous and friendly. Do not try to convince your contacts against their will. Although your contacts may not invest in you today, they may just need to see how firm you are in your convictions and may invest in you in the future.

Final notes, looking at Andy and his character. In everything you do when making calls to your contact list:

  • Pre-warn them of your intentions
  • Make sure you develop deep connections and add value to all your contacts
  • Talk more about them for a few minutes but not too long before you get to business
  • Make things fun
  • Have a system
  • Be friendly and happy with all outcomes
  • Make the whole process simple

The responses will be “yes”, “not today,” and “I need more information”. For those who need more information, leave them your angel investment proposal but also ask what other information they would like.

Special thanks to Andy for doing this impromptu video interview with me. If you found this article helpful please do make a small donation to Transitions UK.

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