I've noticed that some entrepreneurs seem to have no trouble attracting investors, while others with a great business plan struggle. The reality is that "angel investors" are humans, and personal traits often make or break the relationship, even before the investment is considered.
On the top line, angel investors look to invest in entrepreneurs that have an almost unwavering passion and sense of urgency. In the business, this is commonly called "fire in the belly." If you don't have it, you probably won't succeed, even with funding.
Of course, this fire has to come in concert with a variety of visible characteristics that indicate that you, as the entrepreneur, have the attitude and practical skills to make it happen. Here are some key ones they look for:
At the stage during which the angel is normally investing, the entrepreneur may be all the angel has to go by to decide whether the deal is worth pursuing. The technology or product may be at an embryonic stage. There may not be any customers to talk to in order to evaluate the market need.
The investor, in order to eventually be successful, has to spot not only winning technologies but winning people, and all investors have a slightly different view of what a winner looks like. So, of course, they try to guess the internal traits, like honesty, dedication, vision, intelligence and leadership based on external traits listed above.
If you think you want to be your own boss and run your own business, look in the mirror to see if you have the right traits to be an entrepreneur in your domain of interest. Better yet, ask a real friend, who won't just tell you what you want to hear. We can't change you, but you can change yourself, if the current pain level or the future reward is high enough.
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