What do you need to start a business? A good idea, a business plan, and the resources to execute it.
It sounds simple enough, but any entrepreneur knows that it’s a trial and error process for the first part. After all, innovation is in our genes, and quite often, when someone thinks they have a brilliant idea, it turns out it’s occurred to somebody else before. Then there are times when the concept is indeed marvelous, but the context is not yet right for it.
The plan itself is not a work of pure creativity but an almost scientific-like mapping of how things should progress.
And then there is the question of resources, often meaning good old-fashioned money. This is where attracting investors comes into play.
How to attract investors for your e-learning business
There are several ways of approaching this – in some cases, you can work with charisma and persuasion alone, and in others, you’ll need to come up with hard evidence. Either way, a combination of these two strategies can bring in quite the capital.
Have a bulletproof business plan
This is a requirement even if you own all the necessary resources to start and develop a business (though some analysts claim it’s never a good idea to invest your own money).
A solid business plan shows anybody interested that you have done your homework and know exactly where you want to go and which milestones can tell you are on the right path.
The focus should be the first year – since it’s usually the hardest and can make or break a business – but it’s better for the plan to go up to five years, so it will show that you have a medium to a long-term plan and are committed to your idea for the long haul.
Although the plan should have some flexibility to adapt when confronted with various challenges, the strategy should be set. You want potential investors to see certainty and determination.
Rely on market research
Since your business is in the realm of e-learning, you’ll have no trouble finding resources from the most prestigious institutions. Yes, we all know e-learning is in high demand right now, but that’s not merely enough to convince someone to trust you with their money.
Pie charts, graphs, infographics are your friends when it comes to showing that there is an audience for your business, and they are willing to pay for online courses. You need to show you are aware of the competition and have a strong unique selling proposition that differentiates you from them and gives you a competitive advantage.
This is also where you need to demonstrate you are fully accustomed to and can easily operate by the industry’s standards. I’m going to stress once more the idea that it’s better to be overly- rather than under-prepared in this area.
Find the right audience
This comes as a continuation of the market and industry research you need to conduct. Pitching your business idea is a serious endeavor that can take quite a bit of effort and cause no small amount of stress and anxiety. This is all worth it only if, at the end of it, you reach your goal. Achieving your goal depends on finding the right investors in the first place.
The best crowd to pitch to should become apparent as you do your market research. Starting from there, you can figure out where the best opportunities are. Of course, once you have a clear sight of the target audience, you need to develop your strategy to approach, hook and ultimately sell them on your idea. If you prove to these people that you can market your business to them, they will trust you to market your products to customers.
Practice and refine your pitch
Last but not least, you need to figure out the actual pitch. It needs to be innovative and engaging while also sounding achievable. It also needs to be short as the initial goal is to get potential investors intrigued enough to want to know more.
A tall order? Certainly.
Impossible? Not in the least.
The single most important aspect is to focus on one core concept and not clutter it with all the details, regardless of how relevant they may seem to you. In business terms, this is called an “elevator pitch” – a quick synopsis of your concept that should be brief enough to present during the length of an elevator ride.
Creating a successful pitch depends on knowing who you are pitching to and what makes that particular audience tick. You may not come up with a brilliant one right off the bat, so you must keep trying and changing until it’s pitch-perfect.
While many factors influence an investor’s decision to give credit to your e-learning business, doing your part of the work diligently can only increase your chances of attracting capital. You must believe in your idea and keep working on it even when there are setbacks.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.