In 2017, it can be more difficult to access entrepreneurial funding from banks, crowdfunding organisations and bridging loan companies. Lenders are demanding more guarantees, higher interest on returns, and better credit ratings, so it’s little surprise that smart disruptive entrepreneurs are seeking other avenues to fund their ventures and investments. This has been seen by some to be a source of pain and frustration, but what if I were to tell you that you should be looking elsewhere, even if loan conditions were easier-going?
One of the fastest, most secure routes to incredible success is to surround yourself by those whose level of success matches the level you would like to achieve. I’m not talking about those folks with a decent income and a comfortable portfolio of properties, bringing in a moderate income that keeps things nicely ticking over; I’m talking about the millionaires, the decamillionaires, and the billionaires. These are the entrepreneurs and role models who can mentor you, set you up with better contacts, and contribute the funds you need to attain the most valuable assets and investments.
But how do you engage with these elite disruptive entrepreneurs, who you may never have even met until now? They don’t exist on another plain of existence, and they are within accessible reach – you just need to know where to find them.
1. Contact your contacts
The first step I would take would be to go through everyone you haven’t yet met in your contacts book, in your email account(s), on your phone and anyone else you have had on your radar, and drop them a message. Just touch base, without expectation or demand, and aim to initiate the potential for a relationship at some point in the future.
You obviously don’t want to seem like you’re fishing for potential investors or entrepreneur funding, so just keep things light, tell them that something you saw or heard reminded you of them, and you decided to make contact.
2. Party more – but not hard
At parties, people’s guards drop and there is the potential for a bit more open conversation. This doesn’t mean that you should head out, drink yourself crazy and stay up until 5pm the next day, but there are certainly some high-level gatherings that are completely worth your time. Go with the aim of meeting, chatting and casually becoming better acquainted with potential business contacts and other disruptive entrepreneurs, and all in an informal environment.
3. Find the right clubs
There are certain clubs that attract a certain type of disruptive entrepreneur. Rotary Clubs. Yacht Clubs. Flying Clubs. Shooting Clubs. Even Freemasons.
My business partner Mark is a member of a shooting club, and says that there isn’t a single person there who doesn’t have several million in the bank. He’s raised finance, made some great business connections, and found mentors there. Any club with hefty entrance fees is likely to put you in contact with money-makers and those with a high net worth, as it is a great qualifier for those who can afford to pay such fees.
4. Guardian angels
If you have never been to a business angel event, you should make it a priority to do so at some point this year. If you do, you are immediately going to find yourself in contact with the real whales: those with hundreds of millions, or even billions of pounds at their disposal, who are actively seeking people who need entrepreneur funding.
Even at an event like this, it might not always be the best strategy to immediately pitch your plan and ask for money. This could be worth trying if you have a specific deal or project that needs immediate entrepreneurial funding, but your primary aim should be to simply make contacts.
Pitching tends to give you one make-or-break chance. Making a contact allows you the opportunity for a relationship, which almost gives you the right to pitch multiple times in the future.
5. Events, events, events
Business and property networking events offer you access to a wide range of possible investors and future partners. You can find them in every major city throughout the UK, and while they range in quality and popularity, it’s likely that you will find a worthwhile event to attend somewhere within your area during the next week or two.
Quite often, the biggest and best property events will take place in London, so make it your aim to get to London at some point in 2017. I dare you!
6. Charity balls, launches, openings and functions
You will often find that business owners and successful entrepreneurs will show their faces at local launches, openings, charity balls and functions. Unsurprisingly, you might also find that they are the ideal places to engage with people who have access to large amounts of cash.
What you often find with charity balls is that they involve a group of rich people tipsily bidding on signed memorabilia and trinkets that they’ll never use, just to prove that they have money to throw around! When people are in such a generous mood, they are also often open to making contacts, and maybe even to conversations about entrepreneurial funding.
7. Online opportunities
I’ve found that following social media influencers on Facebook, Twitter and others is an effective way of mingling and engaging with the ultra-wealthy.
Some people you contact will immediately reply to your comment or message and be happy to chat; others won’t. Just get in touch with them in a casual, friendly, informed way (resisting any urge to ask them for money!), and see if they are open to conversation.
Social media also allows you to see the kinds of other people that these entrepreneurial titans are engaging with and following, giving you the opportunity to do the same with them, too.
These roundtable events pretty much guarantee that you are going to find yourself amongst some seriously wealthy, seriously disruptive entrepreneurs. Programmes like this will generally range in price from £2,000 up to tens of thousands of pounds, but like the clubs with the high entry fees, you often get what you pay for. Even the entry-level masterminds that cost just a couple of grand are likely put you face-to-face with millionaires or even business owners with ultra-high net worths, as well as giving you the opportunity to make contact with fellow entrepreneurs who may be seeking others to partner up with.
9. Private schooling
I don’t mean this in any kind of elitist way – just as a method of meeting people with a high net worth and therefore giving you access to money – but by sending your kids to a private school and maybe even getting involved with the school, you are likely to meet other people with seriously healthy finances. These people are also likely to network with others who have access to money.
10. Public speaking
Speaking publicly has shown thousands of new people the areas that I specialise in, and built my network of contacts immeasurably. It’s all well and good heading to an event and handing out business cards to as many people as you can possibly meet, but you can turn that around and bring the contacts to you if you present to them on stage.
It’s the difference between maybe converting 2 or 3 of the people you give your card out to, compared to perhaps 30 or 40 seeking you out and hungrily giving you their business cards. By getting up on stage and speaking to an entire room, you are practising “pull” marketing, and making those present remember you in a much more effective way than you could be otherwise.
What advice do you have for other disruptive entrepreneurs looking for wealthy contacts? How do you raise funds and mingle with the ultra-rich? Let me know in the comments!
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