What is angel investing anyway? It’s simple – it’s when individual people with perhaps a million dollars to invest, will band together to chip in and help a private entrepreneur out; even when that person isn’t a member of anyone’s family. Angel investing happens to be a very important part of the whole business financing system in the US. The angel investor these days, forms angel groups – organizations that help individual angel investors coordinate and pull together to invest in ideas.
The angel investor in most cities will be in touch with others of his kind, and will belong to a kind of informal group. Angel groups will often put panel discussions together, bring up ideas for possible areas of interest, and in general, try to help their members out. Before you approach an angel investor for help with a project, you have to make sure that you’ve picked someone with the exact kind of business interest you need. Finding an angel investor who is right for you also depends on how you’re able to establish a somewhat close relationship that can blossom into an investing relationship. You’ll need to find ways of creatively finding your angel’s ideas on what a successful business looks like.
Once you get down to talking what you are actually interested in – getting an angel investor involved in your project – you need to approach the whole endeavor scientifically. You couldn’t possibly sit around and try to guess at the business criteria that could be important to your angel before he or she will gain enough confidence in you. You need to just sit them down and ask them point blank what kind of performance they expect to see out of your business, before you can win their confidence. A health food recipe website that my friend had just started, needed a good deal of financing; my friend spoke to an angel investor, and she was completely willing to get on board. But there was one little milestone she wanted to see first. She said she’d get on board as soon as the website drew in 250 regular users. It happened soon enough.
Find an angel group in your city, and attend their monthly meetings. This is where they have entrepreneurs step up, and discuss their business idea with the group. The really good angel groups will actually charge something like a few hundred dollars to allow you to attend and pitch your idea. This is actually very good way to go about it. The cost of entry weeds out the nonserious entrepreneurs, and you get an environment where there are just a few entrepreneurs, and several angel investor types. And you will have their undivided attention. And once you actually do get heard, make sure that you are completely upfront about what exactly you need. You do need to build a business relationship, but it’s a relationship that is to be based on facts.
The angel investor concept has taken a bit of a hit in the recession. Surveys have found that angel investor funds have fallen about 9% over the last two years. But then, the investment solicited by new entrepreneurs has fallen somewhat too. So it all works out well.