Getting Your Business Off The Ground

Entrepreneur, TED Speaker, Bestselling Author, and Financial Fixer Chris Jarvis has spent the past three decades teaching the country’s most successful companies how to build, maintain, and protect their wealth. He’s also inspired thousands of small business owners around the world with his own startup success story. When it comes to building your business, he knows exactly where to get you where you need to go.


While working with his startup clients, there’s one common question that Jarvis always gets: “what are investors looking for?” Turns out, it’s more straightforward than we may realize. Most of us have some metrics and guideposts that help us filter out the things that we’re not going to spend our time on, and investors are no different. They have predetermined what will work best for them, and will go into meetings with that knowledge at the forefront of their minds. 


Know that some investors will automatically rule you out. If that happens, congratulate yourself! This wasn’t the group for you, and knowing that now will save you a lot of time down the road. For every rejection, there are plenty of others out there who will be interested in investing in your business. 

Expert photo of thought leader Chris Jarvis.

People, Not Projects 

Remember: investors are looking to invest in people, not projects. In order to find the right match, you need to make personal connections with potential investors. Start by asking yourself who you know. Take a look through your contact list, your social media connections, and any other resources you can think of to find people outside of your immediate circle. Is there anyone who might have a connection within your field that could be useful? Reconnecting with old acquaintances can lead to more organic links to new partners, which already sets you up for a better relationship with potential investors.

group meeting at a long conference table. In the foreground, two people are shaking hands.

Know Your Team

In anything you do, your team is really important. At all times, you should know:

  • Who each member of your team is
  • What they do in your business
  • How they are uniquely positioned to help you get ahead

If you don’t have a ready answer to each of the prompts above, it’s time to reassess your team makeup and whether or not you are dedicating enough time as a leader to get to know your people.

overhead shot of parked cars in a large lot.

Know Your Industry

Behind people, investors care most about the industry that you’re a part of. Along with knowing the person you’re getting ready to speak with, you should also have done your research on their pre-existing business connections. If you run a tire shop, for example, does the individual already have a number of investments in the automotive industry? If so, you’ll need to assess whether they’re looking to expand their investments or if they’re looking for something new. If not, figure out if they’re trying to break into the industry, as well as if/how your company can help them achieve this goal.

question mark drawn on a sheet of paper

Know Your Story

Investors are looking for potential breakthroughs. They’re not going to be interested in investing in a company that’s marginally better than the competition – they want something that’s entirely different from the competition. 


As a business owner, you need to know your startup’s story. What makes you stand out? What is it that you’re doing ten times better than your competitors? Most importantly, what is your vision for the future? Where do you want to go, and how can this partnership help you get there? The more specific you can be with potential investors, the more likely you will be to get them to buy into your idea. Craft a story for your company that will build connections and help you grow.