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Building Meaningful Investor Relationships with Ian Dixon

Today, we want to show you how to build meaningful investor relationships and raise investment with our Business Support Artur and Ian Dixon, an Access To Finance Advisor, who has done it time and time again, working with thousands of founders.

A cold, uncalibrated approach to investors has a bad reputation; it’s considered a lazy way to reach out to investors, leading to frequent rejections for founders and resulting in frustration.

There are numerous reasons these cold, uncalibrated messaging strategies don’t work:

  • Selecting the wrong type of investors who are not investing in your startup’s category, stage of growth, or ticket size.
  • Investment funds without actual funds to deploy.
  • No prior relationship with the investor or group.
  • An inexperienced founding team.
  • Too small a market.
  • Bad pitches.
  • And more.

In today’s busy world, you’d better come up with a more unique, valuable and personalised strategy when reaching out to potential investors.

So, what can you do?

Let’s dive into our conversation with Ian Dixon

Step 1: Find Your Support Network

The lonely wolf can go far, but the pack can go the distance. It’s rare to raise investment on your own, so it’s important that we surround ourselves with well-connected individuals and organisations.

And there’s plenty in Greater Manchester, to name a few:

  • Barclays Eagle Labs
  • Bonded Warehouse
  • Oxford Innovation
  • Growth Company
  • Access2Finance
  • InnovateUK Edge
  • Huckletree
  • NatWest
  • Simplifi

Simply visit their websites and join events. Before you know it, you’ll have your wolf pack, helping to raise finance and sharing unfiltered feedback.

https://manchestertechevents.com/ is a great resource to stay up to date with events in Manchester. 

Meaningful collaboration stems from shared enthusiasm and vision, resonating particularly with the creative sectors in Greater Manchester, where the uniqueness of an idea often requires equally unique backers to bring it to fruition.

“Securing a few well-aligned investors is more beneficial than engaging with a large number of indifferent ones,” says Ian Dixon.

There’s a lot of support networks, for example, in MediaCity Immersive Technologies Innovation Hub for immersive businesses. Join the above networks to generate a snowball effect as you get introduced through multiple sources.

Step 2: Find Investors

There are millions of investors out there, accessible through platforms like Crunchbase, investor lists and many more. So why is it so difficult to start these conversations?

“Look beyond the capital; seek investors who are genuinely interested in your sector,” advises Ian Dixon. Find investors who are not just funders but true believers in your vision.” Ian Dixon

Due diligence isn’t just for the investor; it’s also for the founder. Look at what types of businesses those funds/angels invest in, what stage, what the ticket size is, and what their latest investments are. And make sure you’re within their criteria.

Get in touch with advisory services like Access2Finance, InnovateUK Edge, Oxford Innovation, for example. Access2Finance offers a roadmap to financial readiness but also acts as a compass, pointing entrepreneurs towards opportunities that align with their unique paths.

Ian Dixon kindly shared the below list for funding opportunities:

Step 3: Pitch

Once you get on the first call or in a face-to-face meeting, how do you make investors fall in love with your business? The essence of a great pitch lies in its simplicity and the passion behind it.

“What made the pitch memorable was the innovation around the business model, the quality of the management team, their experience, what they had done, and what they had attempted to do within a commercial and organisational context, often unsuccessfully, which is a common theme we hear, of course. The fact that they were so passionate about what they wanted to do and they were able to communicate that passion through a presentation that was, in essence, very simple. They weren’t making many detailed points but created that engagement, that bridge with the investment audience and went on to raise funds very successfully, I have to say. And that’s a business that subsequently scaled successfully as well.” – Ian Dixon

Your pitch needs to focus on your business journey, your vision, and why it matters. “It’s about bringing the investors into your story, making them see the world through your lens,” Ian Dixon suggests.

Consider:

  • The problem you’re solving.
  • How your solution stands out.
  • The impact it aims to achieve.
  • Demonstrate passion and clarity.
  • And make sure the market is massive.
  • Can your business return a 100x return on investment?

Passion, paired with a clear, concise delivery, can turn potential interest into commitment. “Investors are drawn to entrepreneurs who not only have a clear vision but are also deeply passionate about their pursuit.” 

“You’ve got an opportunity, when you pitch an early stage business, to demonstrate your passion, your enthusiasm for what you’re doing. And for early stage businesses, there’s a huge risk from an investor perspective and often that investment decision is largely driven, 80% plus, by the entrepreneur who’s presenting. We are trying, as investors, to gauge the credibility of the investor. We’re trying to build that trust in the investor relationship so the ability to communicate clearly is so so important.” – Ian Dixon

Leverage data and insights. Does your pitch show a clear path to growth? “Show them the numbers, but also show them why those numbers matter.”Ian Dixon

Dive deep into customer feedback, market research, pilot studies, and market size.

Step 4: Get in Touch Now, Take Action

So, you’re just starting or in the middle of your fundraising. Months have passed, but you still can’t see traction?

Refer to the resources and people below for help.

Join networks from Step 1 and seek support. Expand your reach to cities like London, or even outside the UK. Look at the newly launched Simplify platform. It’s a brilliant resource for anyone looking for funding support. Get in touch with Artur and Ian (details below).

Leverage Local Resources and Networks

“Attend events, participate in forums, and don’t hesitate to reach out to fellow entrepreneurs. Often, it’s these connections that open doors to unexpected opportunities.” Ian Dixon 

Greater Manchester is a melting pot of innovation, with numerous forums, innovation hubs, and networking events that offer fertile ground for connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs and potential investors.

Take the Leap

“All the preparation, networking, and planning culminate in this moment. Reach out to potential investors, schedule meetings, and deliver your pitch with conviction.” This step is about putting yourself out there, embracing the possibilities, and navigating the outcomes with resilience and adaptability.

Wrapping It Up

  1. Events – Join 500+ entrepreneurs from Greater Manchester and attend our events at Salford Innovation Forum
  2. 1:1 Business SupportAccess direct business support for your business through our network of Innovation Directors. 
  3.  Office Space – Give you small, medium or large office space

Follow us on all social media channels for more content like this – LinkedIn 

And for more tips and advice see how out Business Support can help you.

Want to find out more? Get in touch or come and join us at one of our upcoming events.

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Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Have your questions answered
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Secure your choice of meeting or conference space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Salford Innovation Forum White Logo

Relocate to a well-established business community of innovators and entrepreneurs:

  • Book a tour of Salford Innovation Forum
  • Get more information on workspace sizes, pricing & availability
  • Have your questions answered
  • Secure your choice of office or meeting space

info@salfordinnovationforum.co.uk  |  
0161 743 3500

Covid-19 Statement

Update – 11 August 2022

Our Innovation Centres remain operational and accessible, and provide a safe environment for our staff and customers. We continue to assess the risk of COVID-19 alongside the latest guidance from government. In the meantime our Innovation Centre remains COVID-19 Secure and fully open for business. Our detailed risk assessment can be found here.