Congratulations! You’ve birthed an idea, and it has grown legs. Sadly, you don’t have a wealthy benefactor waiting in the wings. So, it’s time to go hunting for funding. This can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a negotiating newbie. So, here are five tips from top negotiation training programs you can use to see your idea take flight.
There are different ways to fundraise for your idea. For example, are you crowdfunding or going the more traditional route of seeking venture capital? Each option has its own negotiation strategy. For instance, when crowdfunding, you’re essentially asking strangers for money. So, you need to be able to make a compelling case for why they should invest in your idea.
On the other hand, if you’re seeking venture capital, you’ll be dealing with professional investors. They’re going to want to see a solid business plan with clear goals and milestones. Plus, a path to profitability. Take the time to prepare a comprehensive plan, so you can make the best case for seeking funding.
Develop relationships before you need them
Investors are more likely to invest in someone they know and trust. So, it pays to develop relationships before approaching them with your request. Think of it as planting seeds. The more you water the seeds, the more likely they are to grow and produce fruit.
Some ways to develop strong relationships are to attend industry events or join the same clubs or associations. Remember to focus on how you can add value to others not just on how others can help you. For example, you might offer to introduce an investor to one of your contacts that could benefit their business.
Learn the art of effective communication
Many people pushing for funding make the mistake of talking the ear off potential investors. Yes, being able to articulate your idea clearly and concisely is an attractive quality. However, effective communication is more than just being able to talk a good game, say negotiation skills trainers. It’s also about being a good listener.
Listening attentively allows you to better understand the other person’s needs and how your ideas can address them. It also allows you to build rapport and trust, which is essential in any negotiation.
Be assertive, not aggressive
Many novice negotiators confuse being assertive with being aggressive. However, there is a stark difference between the two. The former is about confidently and clearly stating your needs and wants. It’s the sweet spot between being a pushover and being a jerk. The latter is about trying to bully the other person into submission.
Assertiveness inspires confidence in you, and by extension, your ideas. Don’t forget that when you’re negotiating to fundraise for your project, you are also selling yourself. Aggressiveness will only lead to animosity and resentment. People are unlikely to want to give you their hard-earned money if they don’t like you.
Be prepared to walk away
Having the courage to walk away may not sound like the most negotiation-savvy move. However, it could help you get closer to your ideal deal. First, it shows you’re not desperate. Desperation can push you towards ugly compromises that hollow out the value of your idea.
Second, it allows you to be choosy about with whom you partner. You want to work with someone who values your idea as much as you do. Otherwise, you’ll always be at a disadvantage. Taking a step back also frees you up to pursue more fitting options and opportunities. You also have time to reassess your strategy and come back stronger.
These tips can put you on a solid path to fundraising success. However, remember that every investor meeting is different. The key is to stay flexible and be ready to adapt on the fly. One way to ensure you’re always in negotiation mode is to practice regularly. Also, consider taking negotiation skills training courses. The more you practice, the better equipped you’ll be at handling any curve balls that come your way.