If you’ve taken part in the investment round hunting game for a while, chances are you’ve heard investors say:
“We invest in a team first, then in a business model.”
“The team needs to work; the business model you still can tune.”
There are good reasons for this (topic for another post), and the problem is:
Chances are, those potential investors haven’t known you since high school. They simply don’t know who, at the core, you are and what your flaws and tendencies under pressure will be.
Investment decisions are risky, and investors need to reduce insecurity about the team they are about to invest in.
So what will they do?
Chances are they will google and LinkedIn you.
You and your team.
So your Linkedin profile will be the first contact point besides the pitch deck – and you better make sure it works FOR you instead of against you.
Before we dive into the details, there is an important principle you need to know about so you get why the details are so important:
Confused people don’t buy.
If you want people to buy something, you want them to trust you, not confuse them.
Why is it important not to confuse them?
Because confused people don’t buy.
They do not buy if they don’t trust you and your solution, and they will do it even less so that more risk is involved. Think about how much risk is involved in early-stage investment, and you’ll get a sense of how much trust you need to be able to build in a short period of time – and how sensitive and risky it is to lose it before you even got it.
Next, you might be wondering
what exactly IS confusing potential investors?
Roughly: Any unclear, foggy and/or contradictory pieces of info.
So what would be confusing your potential investors when they check out you and your team on Linkedin?
Those five crucial mistakes we see most often:
- Other names/naming than the one you normally use or use on your pitch deck
- Changing your profile picture and/or your main slogan messaging there all the time
- Showing a CV that is pretty different from the story about your background that you normally tell other people or that other people (former colleagues etc) would know about you
- And – not to be underestimated – fluffy abstract buzzword bingo. Abstract, foggy words cause precisely that: a foggy feeling. Foggy = confused = nope, we don’t want that.
- Team profiles that look not even loosely connected – using header pictures of all kinds, family or travel pictures… you name it. But overall not give a clue at which company the person works and not even remotely that they are passionate about the company’s mission.
The How to Do it Better List
For your profile and each profile closely connected to you:
Make sure your profiles are trustworthy in each and every regard.
What does that mean?
- Use nice and friendly professional profile pictures. The suit is no longer compulsory, but too much naked skin in any gender is simply too much information for the occasion.🙂 People should be able to see into your eyes and see the truth there.
- Use your full and your real name. This is not a gaming platform. Do not use abbreviations for your last name or any middle name. Use the middle name in full or don’t. And yes, it needs to be the name that I would find you for in your college yearbook. For women who have due to marriage changed their surname, it might, therefore, also be helpful to include the maiden name somewhere so people get a chance to connect the dots – someone might still recognize you from university, know so. who can be helpful – et voilà: networking.
- Please, please, do not use your profile pic to add variety to your communication and messaging by changing it all the time. There are other places to do that (your posts, your personal blog), but not the profile pic. This needs to be a place of friendly stability. Otherwise, one can easily feel like one would be a “shapeshifter” – people who change their face, personality, and behaviour like their clothes. That can feel fun for you, but it creates a (damaging) feeling of instability with your potential investors.
- Also, resist the temptation to use a video in the profile if you are not 100% sure it is helpful in terms of messaging and is well crafted.
Referring to the team profiles:
- Make sure that the team profiles look and ARE aligned.
- Have a choice of branded header pics ready that your time can choose from.
- Also, provide a slogan/message or options about what your company does and use them in their current job profiles.
This will automatically help create the feeling that you are genuinely on the same page.
Sometimes during growth phases, you will still work with several freelance people. That is ok; they do not have to look branded all over, but at least if they are included in your external company image, they should add a positive aura to your overall system. OR – not to sound harsh, BUT if those people are not decisive to the growth story to be pulled off, leave them out of your “team” slide so they do not get checked out by the investors.
So this means:
- Do not overly tune your ‘teams’ slide in the first place.
- Show the people who really are involved.
- Do not try to show you’ve got 20 interim managers fiddling around in the cake – this feels like what it is: a gang of friends sharing a hobby.
For each detail, ask yourself with as much inner distance as you can come up with:
If you would stumble over those profiles in combination with the pitch deck…
Would you trust those people?
Would you want to invest in that team?
The good news is: Lots of your competitors have not taken care of those details – yet
As you’ll probably become aware now, these things are neither very hard to do nor especially surprising. Still, we see them ignored so often and hey if this is your competition not giving a damn about those details:
Good for you!
Can you even imagine how devastating it could be if details in the LinkedIn profiles shut the doors to a several if not 2-figure million investment before they even were open?
So, if you get those small but decisive details right, it will again raise your chances to build trust and gain that yes.
Here you go – make sure you check the marks for those – then focus on sth. else in your hunt for investor’s money again.
We wish you much success! (should you want some support in shaping your business model, messaging, or pitch deck, drop us a note, we’re happy to help).
Please let us know which details make you trust or mistrust people based on their LinkedIn profile so we can add those things to the list.