To say that adequate funding is essential in the life of a startup – especially in those precarious early days – is something of an understatement. Remember that you’re not just trying to gather enough money to open your doors for the first time – you’re trying to get the funds you need to keep them open.
You’re trying to gather necessary support to allow you to make the right decisions at the right time and to take advantage of business opportunities as they happen.
But even going beyond the logistical aspect of startup funding for a moment, it actually means something much more powerful. It means that your vision – the one that motivated you to start your journey of entrepreneurship in the first place – means something to other people, too.
It means that people believe in what you’re trying to accomplish and, more importantly, believe that you can actually do it.
Communication Is (and will always be) king
Many people don’t realize just how critical proper communication is to startup funding in the first place. Think about even something as simple as your startup pitch deck.
A startup pitch deck isn’t merely a presentation designed to impress would-be investors. It’s a roadmap of sorts – a way for you to clearly outline the journey you’re trying to take, all while convincing them that it’s one you should take together.
Every piece of collateral you include has less to do with “here’s why you should invest in my product or service” and is more about something deeper – “here’s why you should believe in me and my vision.”
Never forget the fact that 82% of businesses that fail do so because of significant cash flow problems. According to a survey conducted by the NSBA, 27% of entrepreneurs said that they just weren’t able to receive the initial funding that they needed to stay open.
None of this occurred because people didn’t have a great idea for a product or service or a perfect plan of action. In the vast majority of all cases, it comes down to someone not being able to properly communicate that idea to others.
This is where visual communication and similar practices just may be the silver bullet you’ve been looking for.
Visual communication: The secret ingredient
It’s also essential for you to understand that startup funding is all about the little details. You need to be less focused on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and more on the small, actionable and realistic steps that you’re going to take to get there in the first place.
In terms of a startup, there are a practically limitless number of ways in which you can fail. Even going beyond the mistakes that you’ll make yourself (and rest assured, you will), Murphy’s Law very much applies. What can go wrong, will go wrong, period.
All of this is to say that securing startup funding is all about convincing people of the little details and in those terms, visual communication is the most powerful weapon you have access to.
Remember that human beings are visual learners. According to a study conducted by Wyzowl, people only remember about 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read. However, they remember an incredible 80% of what they see and do.
According to Hubspot, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text by the human brain. What better situation to leverage these simple principles to your advantage than one where you’re trying to convince a potential investor to throw as much money your way as possible as quickly as you can?
When crafting elements like your pitch deck, you need to rely heavily on compelling, relevant visuals to sell your most important product of all: yourself. Visualize your data in the form of an Infographic to not just give people access to your current financial numbers and other topics, but to do so in a way that is easier to understand and more emotionally resonant.
Show the relationship between you and your market in the form of a Venn Diagram instead of as a large block of text. The point on the diagram where the two circles overlap is the goal your startup is trying to achieve.
If there’s a particularly relevant topic that would be much more successfully conveyed as a video as opposed to an e-book or whitepaper, get out there and create that video.
Remember that technology has advanced to the point where you no longer have to be a designer in order to craft rich, original visual content. Anyone can do it using equipment that they probably already have access to.
The path to success is paved with visual content
Think for a moment about how you would react if the situations were reversed.
You’ve got two entrepreneurs in front of you – Startup A and Startup B – both of which are asking you for equal amounts of money. They’re both going after the same basic market and they’ve got similar companies they’re trying to build, right down to the product or service they want to release.
Startup A gives you a phonebook-sized stack of information containing an incredibly detailed outline of their entire plan for the next few years. Sitting in front of you is a bible filled with where they’ve been, where they’re going and how they’re going to get there.
Startup B took that same information and presented it to you in the form of compelling visuals. You’re looking at the same basic story, just in a wildly different way. You’ve got charts. You’ve got graphics. You’ve got videos and Infographics.
Again – the ideas are essentially identical. Startup B isn’t just more impressive from a design perspective – it’s also easier to understand. Easier to visualize yourself. Easier to connect with. More emotionally compelling.
Which of those two entrepreneurs are you going to feel more compelled to give your money to, do you think?