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If you are planning to launch a business in 2021, you are likely looking at how to maximize funding to get your business or product up and running. Whether you are seeking investment from an angel investor or applying to an accelerator program, there are certain things they look for to ensure they are making a sound investment. Make sure you have the following buttoned up before reaching out to increase your chances of success. In addition, Cox BLUE shares helpful articles for startups and small businesses to stay up-to-date on industry trends and provides tips for running a successful business. Here are some interesting tips I have found.

1.Solid business plan. Investors always have a keen eye towards preparedness. It’s important to show your competency of the market with a detailed, data-driven business plan that includes your concept, market insight and financials. 

2.Value proposition. If your concept is simply a “nice to have” instead of “need to have,” you will have a tough time selling to consumers, much less investors. Focus on the benefits of your product and how it will solve consumers’ problems.

3.Market need. If the market you plan to enter is saturated, monopolized or unprofitable, then investors will quickly dismiss you. Do your research and plan to show exactly why there is a need for your product or service.

4.Market size. Most investors are looking for a business opportunity with significant growth potential. Not every product is going to have a global market, but you need to have a market with significant reach and more than just the 25 miles around your headquarters.

5.Leadership. Be ready to prove that your team is well positioned to execute your business plan and become authoritative market leaders. Highlight individual skillsets and strengths, and the chemistry your team has when working together.

6.Passion. They say that investors don’t invest in ideas, they invest in people. Many value the passion and drive of the founders over any business plan, because ultimately you are the one bringing the concept to reality. Illustrate your passion with personal anecdotes, knowledge and experience in the market.

7.Differentiators. What makes your product or service unique? Investors want to see proof that your competition cannot easily beat or copy you. Be prepared with a thorough competitive analysis to highlight your differentiators. 

8.Exit strategy. Investors want to see a financial timeline and when they will begin to see a return. Include a capital budgeting and ROI analysis to address these concerns.

9.Great pitch. In order to perfect your pitch, practice your pitch in front of peers, take public speaking lessons, and be sure you are talking with investors instead of at them. It’s not important to be overly professional (that might feel stiff), so just be you and show up confident.

10.Connection. There’s a moment that an investor has with a founder where everything just seems to click. Focus on how you are going to build that close connection with the investor such as mentioning a common interest, mutual colleague or shared background. 

Lisa Lovallo is the Southern Arizona market vice president for Cox Communications, leading a team of 250+ Southern Arizona Cox employees. Prior to joining the Cox Southern Arizona team, Lisa ran a family business based in Tucson and is an undergraduate of the University of Arizona and received her MBA from the university’s Eller College of Management. Reach her at lisa.lovallo@cox.com.