How to find entrepreneurs to invest in

I’m a big advocate of investing in entrepreneurs. I’ve written time and time again that when done well, private investments can produce returns which far outperform regular market instruments. In my mind; it’s a no brainer. Banks, advisers, accountants, financiers; they all want their cut – but dealing directly with an entrepreneur removes these added costs from your deal. In addition to this, investing with entrepreneurs provides a direct source of social benefit by helping to fund small businesses who provide employment to a community. But before you can invest in them, you have to know how to find entrepreneurs.

If you’re not yet connected with entrepreneurs, there’s an easy way to do so. Here in the UK, the bulk of our economy is made of SMEs (that is Small and Medium Enterprises). If you’re on the hunt for entrepreneurs to invest in, there are two things to bear in mind. Firstly, people like to spend time with others who are like them – entrepreneurs are no different. By extension, if you build a relationship with one, you’ll soon be introduced to an entire community of others like them.

Secondly, entrepreneurs are nearly always looking for funding and advice; after all, no man is an island. By offering your services, you’ll find most entrepreneurs receptive to your approach; not all will be suitable vehicles for investment, but if just one in ten is a good fit, you’ll soon be overwhelmed with opportunities to carry out your due diligence.

Four steps to help you find entrepreneurs

  1. Get Googling. Type in ’[City Name} entrepreneurs’ or ’[City Name] real estate investors’ and you’ll find plenty of meetups, networking opportunities and organisations ripe for joining.
  2. Connect with entrepreneurs in your personal network. You likely already know a few people who are dreaming of quitting their day job. Invite them for coffee, pick their brains and see if a deal can be made.
  3. Build your online network. There is no end of web forums, LinkedIn and Facebook pages that cater to entrepreneurial communities; reach out and introduce yourself. Start a blog, showcase your skills and offerings; get marketing yourself!
  4. Attend local conferences and talks. Entrepreneurs often invest in their education by attending these kinds of events. They’re great informational and networking venues.

Be bold, be brave and start making connections. Build your network and start helping out where you can. At first, you’ll sound like an amateur; that’s OK – you are one! The key is to be honest about what you can bring to the table and before long you’ll start realising that there are endless opportunities to bring real value to fledgeling business enterprises. Usually I advise patience in all things, but if you follow the four steps above, you won’t need to be patient for long as you find entrepreneurs.

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