Have you ever wanted to bring an investor into your business, but you just weren’t sure where to start to find the right ones to strategically help you grow? In this episode of Success Unfiltered, you’re going to learn how to get the right investors for your business!
Will Smelko is the visionary and CEO behind Ora Organic as well as a fervent foodie. Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, he dove headfirst into the world of strategy consulting for Fortune 500 healthcare and pharmaceutical companies but soon realized his calling was elsewhere. Understanding that the most promising solution to climate change involved food, Will began exploring plant-based nutrition. Ora is changing the status-quo by creating nutritional products made directly from food without the artificial additives. Ora reflects the values of its co-founders, which is why the company prioritizes organic farming, sustainable harvesting practices, and delicious, plant-based nutrition.
You started a business, now you need funding. Awesome! Except, you have no idea where to start when it comes to finding the right investor for you. I’ve got you covered in THIS BLOG POST! Read to learn how to find lenders for your business.
Here are a few key secrets we talked about in this episode:
- Michelle introduces Will Smelko.
- Will, the Shark Tank veteran of the month, created a plant-based supplement, named Ora Organics to avoid additives in food and supplements.
- The most NOs that Will heard were in the early days from investors. There was a long string of NOs!
- In the beginning, a lot of people said NO because it was a product that had a negative connotation: many people were not interested in supplements.
- One of the earliest NO’s was overcoming objections through education and helping people see that their supplements weren’t “artificial”. They were made from plant-based products.
- Working with investors can be hard because they ask the tough questions, some of which won’t have answers! Prepare as much as possible, and embrace that you won’t have all of the answers in the end.
- Learn what numbers and metrics are important and focus on those. Make sure that you are working with the data that is most important to you and your company.
- When investors don’t give money, sales will keep you afloat!
- “When we are out there talking to investors, you can figure out pretty quickly (in the first 5 or 10 minutes) what investors care about.” ~ Will Smelko
- Instead of catering to all of your different audiences, go back to the core of who you are and what your company is all about. That will naturally attract the right kind of investors and help vet out the ones that aren’t the best fit.
- Shark Tank was especially defeating because most of the Sharks said NO so quickly, and they critiqued the packaging. Ora Organics was able to turn it into a conversation on social media, and have conversations with their consumers.
- Ora Organics had to go to a completely new manufacturer and risk selling out of stock. When making that decision, it came down to staying true to their core values.
- Will and his team vetted potential investors to see if they’d actually be a good fit for the company and the culture. It was scary to do that, for fear of investors feeling like they weren’t trusted, but Will and his team would follow up with references.
- The key thing that they looked for was value for both parties: “If you can’t sit down and write out clearly on paper exactly where this, “value add” investment fund is actually going to add value, then they’re not a value add.”
- It took Will a while to grow into being the kind of entrepreneur who would vet investors. “The 2015 Will would have just been like ‘Oh my God I’m so grateful that these people are talking to me! Maybe we’ll get an investment! I don’t know if I should even call – if I call the references, are they going to think that I’m like doubting them?’ I lacked that self-confidence at an early stage. I was just happy to be talking to someone and that they hadn’t told me NO yet.” ~Will Smelko
- Will and his team knew that even if the company failed, they would still be committed to creating the product, and would somehow be involved in something like it. That kept them going through the hard times.
- Will shares what he would tell his younger self.
Connect with Will Smelko:
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P.S. Are you struggling to figure who the right investors are for YOUR business? It’s time to go back to the core of you are and what your business! Learn all the necessary tips to bring on the right shareholders in THIS BLOG POST!