Branding for Venture Capital

Let’s say you’ve invented a new product that will require tons of capital to bring to market. It’s probably more capital than your local bank is willing to advance you, more than the SBA will loan you, more than all your friends and relatives could dredge up even if they were willing to back you.

You’ll need to seek out and convince professional venture investors that your venture has a good chance of succeeding..

So you write a plan and get all the legal compliance docs you need to raise money. You’ve even developed a presentation and printed business cards.

But an important part of the package is missing unless you’ve already created you brand.

Even at this early stage, you have more than a product idea. You have a vision, a dream, a mission, a passion. And those core business drivers can best be communicated to investors through the branding process.

Even though the business may be an intangible at this point, it just makes sense to build a brand that reflects and reinforces your passion, and helps convey that passion to potential investors.

First you’ll need to establish a brand platform. This document is usually a synthesis of your mission statement and strategic business model, crystallized into a six-point, one page document addressing: business model, product category, competition, markets to be served, uniqueness of your product, and how you’ll position your product. It should be a prominent page of the strategic description of your business plan

Then, you’ll want to demonstrate how you’ll differentiate your product and activate the platform by creating a name, logo, tagline and color palette at a minimum. These elements should be part of the graphic design of the solicitation materials and the presentation. They may also be featured in the business plan itself.

Building a brand that emanates from your vision in a professional, convincing manner will help demonstrate much better than mere words why an investor should feel your venture could be a sound investment. It will help build confidence in the venture, demonstrating that you are business-savvy and have a market-orientation many entrepreneurs lack.

This is the ultimate example of adhering to my admonition to all entrepreneurs, “Brand smart from the start”.

Oh, and a powerful brand can’t hurt when you go to your local bank, either.

Martin Jelsema

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