I am writing these tips to newbie startup co-founders. How to get ready for a mentor / potential investor / consultant meeting, how to get the maximum you can?
My team and I are running a startup support program in Istanbul-Turkey called SUCOOL, since 2014. I closely worked with more than 50 early-stage technology startups, mostly web and mobile platforms. Every year we bring together our startup cofounders with international mentors, executives and investors. We went to Silicon Valley, Boston, London (4 times) and Berlin before, with 27 different startups’ co-founders. I accompanied them in 100+ meetings. What I am going to write is coming from these experiences.
You have to know as much as you can. You can’t know who you are going to meet truly, you can’t know how can they help you, until you study well.
Here are the tips for you…
Before going to a meeting:
- Google search for the man/woman you are going to meet
- Check his LinkedIn account, previous experiences (angel.co, cruncbase.com and quora.com also help)
- Read his background (from official websites like companies he worked for, startup support/mentorship programs, organizations he is member of)
- Check his (or his company’s) previous investments/roadmap, look for something related to what you do. Analyze the related companies. Compare your situation with theirs.
- From what you learn, take notes about what you can ask from him; (1) an introduction to a startup cofounder / CEO he worked with, (2) problems you have and they might be dealt/solved it before.
- Know what you can learn from him!
While in a meeting:
- Give enough information about yourself. Not too much, not too little. (1) Who are you? What is your personal experience about your business? (2) What do your business do? How much time did you spend on it ? What is your current situation? How many customers / active users you have? (read this: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/elevator-pitch.htm)
- Try to understand his interest.
- Ask what you want to ask, be clear & specific. An introduction to someone else, some guidance, anything else.
- Investors want to see some KPI’s and progress. Understand next steps needed for the next meeting and specify your roadmap.
- Ask permission to have his contact information. (I believe, you personally need to have a CRM system, you may not need his knowledge now, but later?)
- BONUS: Always have a pen and notebook. Take notes.
After the meeting:
- Send an email to him, in 2 days, about how happy you met him. If you asked something in the meeting or need to request more help, summarize your meeting (use the notes you took) and send an email, in 24 hours.
- Add him on LinkedIn.
- (If applicable) Send monthly emails to him about your current situation. In this way, he will know how much work you put into your business & find more help.
“If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money.”
1. Be prepared.
2. Regular, continuous, ongoing communication is the key.
3. Give back. Say “thank you” and share how he/she was helpful.
I hope these tips will help you to have more productive meetings with great results.