According to a GoDaddy survey from last month, COVID-19 lockdown has prompted one in five people in the UK to consider starting a new business or side venture. Among those who had seen their job security threatened by the pandemic, this figure rose to almost a third (31 per cent).
The reasons for this are understandable, having more time at home due to remote working or furlough will naturally give people more opportunity to consider a venture that they’ve maybe been putting off due to being too busy with their 9-5. While the economic turmoil of lockdown will have many questioning their job security and could make the idea of entrepreneurship and being your own boss even more attractive.
At the moment, the internet is rife with stories of “living room entrepreneurs” who have made the best of the current bad situation and seen quick success and growth with their lockdown startups. From a woman in Wales who started selling her fashion art online during quarantine, to a startup delivering vegan pie and mash in Newcastle.
These businesses all have several things in common. Crucially, they’ve instantly tapped in to the drastically altered coronavirus economy in a way that other bigger names perhaps haven’t. Secondly, many are extremely small, inexperienced companies, clearly with the scope for growth, but perhaps without the means to attain it independently.
If you’re someone who has started a business during lockdown you might now be looking to the future and thinking about how you can take your fledgling company to the next level. Here are three key tips on how to begin to attract investment in your startup, which could help you make that step up to serious growth.
Crowdfunding sites aren’t just used for people raising money for charity or asking friends to help them raise funds for a project, they’re also used by entrepreneurs looking to market themselves to investors and banks who are looking to find new avenues of investment.
If you’re looking for crowdfunding that goes beyond just donations and is more geared towards getting investors interested in your business, then there are several platforms that specialise in connecting investors to startups. To name a just a few, AngelList, Seedinvest and Wefunder.
With social distancing still a fact of life, and likely to be for some time, opportunities to network with investors at events is going to be limited. For that reason, harnessing social media to market your business is more important than ever if you’re targeting growth.
Social media such as LinkedIn and even Twitter and Facebook can be incredibly useful in getting the message about your business out to investors. LinkedIn is useful for sharing content such as blogs, news about your company and insights into your business and you can seek to engage investors with this content through sponsored posts or direct messaging.
For more immediate contact, Twitter can be incredibly useful for engaging investors in conversation by responding to their posts or messaging them directly.
Also, more "social" networking sites such as Instagram and Facebook can help you to get the word out about your business with unique, eye-catching, engaging branded content. This can be invaluable in raising the profile of your business. After all, you never know where and how you might get noticed by the investor you've been waiting for.
Startup accelerator programs have long been a great way for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. They enable you to network with fellow entrepreneurs and offer guidance, advice and help on relevant issues, such as launching fundraising rounds.
Sometimes, they will also involve directly connecting startup owners with investors, either in workshops or at demos where attendees will be given an opportunity to pitch their business to several investors at once.
Obviously, due to COVID-19, the face-to-face element of these programs is unworkable. However, many are offering online versions, enabling you to still access valuable mentoring, resources and opportunities to network.
While COVID-19 will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the economy, investors everywhere will be reacting to the changes it has wrought and looking to put their money into companies that have tapped into the “new normal”.
Small startups that have thrived during this difficult time and have the potential for growth will therefore be extremely attractive to investors. The onus is now on those living room entrepreneurs to sell themselves and prove that they are the company to invest in.