The Dos and Don’ts of Cracking an Investment Deal

Business How To’s

01 August 2017

The Dos and Don’ts of Cracking an Investment Deal

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

When running your own business or start-up, aiming for a long-term relationship with your venture capitalist is imperative so that you don’t have to worry about facing a cash crunch. But before you build that relationship, you need to find the right partner and negotiate the right investment deal; one that satisfies both sides.

You must remember, investors have walked these steps before you and are seasoned professionals in their field of expertise. Nevertheless, with a little preparation, you should be able to negotiate a good investment deal. Here are a few crucial points to keep in mind when approaching and shortlisting VCs for your funding.

Find The Right Investors

You need to feel confident with the investor, yes. What matters more is to find someone who is as interested in your business as you are. Look for someone who has previously invested in an organization like yours, or has a keen understanding of your industry.

This kind of investor understands the market and knows how your business is likely to develop. However, take care not to divulge too much information right in the beginning if he is already working closely with your competitor.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cracking an Investment Deal

Image Courtesy: LinkedIn

Time Your Bidding Process Correctly

Do not try and look for investments when you are low on funds. Time your bidding process to coincide with the end of a good business quarter. Call 4-5 investors who have prior experience in your industry and make your pitch to them. Allow them a week to ten days to study your offer and business, but make sure you close the funding within six weeks of the start of the process.

Observe The Investors

Observe and understand what the investor is looking for, and negotiate your terms accordingly. Does the investor’s term sheet include liquidation preference or participation? Is the VC more focussed on board seats, voting rights and gaining control? Neither of the scenarios is wrong, but it will give you a sense of what the investor foresees. You can ask better questions, negotiate a better deal and at the end of the day rest assured that you have chosen the right partner.

What Is Your End Goal?

Right from the start of the negotiation process keep the closure in mind. It’s alright to change the approach a little and to make minor sacrifices, but know your deal breakers before you step into the meeting.

The Dos and Don’ts of Cracking an Investment Deal

Image Courtesy: Colourbox

Lose The Battle To Win The War

The investor assumes that you will ask for a better deal. They know you are scouting around for other options to compare and that you will use all possible leverage to get the best deal. However, don’t get bogged down by smaller details. You can always work them out as you go along. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture and don’t let the lesser issues derail the negotiation.

Be Eager, Not Over-Eager

Seasoned investors know how to make founders sweat it. Don’t be over-eager to please. Be confident and convincing. Let your pitch do the selling.

Are You Ready For A ‘No’?

Even if you make the right pitch, have your numbers in place and are ready with the right answers to all questions, you should be prepared for a ‘no’.

The bidding process could go either way and your potential investor might not be as keen as you’d hoped she was. Do not lose heart. And most definitely do not change your offer. Stick to your guns. Investors admire people who are confident and not willing to compromise as they will bring the same traits to their business.

If the investor recognizes your confidence and determination, a ‘no’ today could turn into a ‘yes’ later.

As with any negotiation, leave room for compromises and make minor adjustments on the go. Look beyond the value of the deal and consider the intangible benefits that the investor could bring. Closing the deal is just the beginning of a long successful journey.

Marketing During a Pandemic: Dos and Don'ts

Business How To’s

05 June 2020

Marketing During a Pandemic: Dos and Don'ts

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected business in ways beyond imagination. Market experts have estimated that COVID-19 will cost the global economy a whopping $2.7 trillion. This has not only scared businesses and marketers out of their wits but makes them ask – what to do next?

Unless you are in the business of essential products and necessity items, you need to change the way you have been marketing your brand.

Here’s a set of marketing guidelines for those trying to stay afloat in the present economic landscape.

Be agile.

Businesses that can adjust and adapt to the restrictive environment will be the ones to stay ahead of the others who fail to change their strategies. Just because you cannot serve your customers in person, doesn’t necessarily mean you stop serving them altogether. Include free services or change how you deliver. Abide by the hygiene practices issued by health authorities. If you are an offline business, now is the time to switch to online and be available 24/7.

Focus on paid ads.

With customers increasingly turning to online modes of information and entertainment, this is the right time to jump into PPC advertising and other paid digital campaigns to capture traffic and conversions. Cost Per Click rates are down, and this leaves room for marketers to make the most of the opportunity. Exploit the reduced competition and scoop up the market share, while others are pulling themselves out.

Offer flexibility of payment and services.

If you are in the retail business, (not necessarily in essential goods) and have managed to retain/acquire customers, offer the flexibility of payments to make it convenient for them in this tough economy. This helps you retain loyalty as well as ensures a consistent flow of customers by easing their payment plans. If you are in tech-based or SaaS services, offer more informative and educational training to your customers. With people losing jobs and looking for newer opportunities, such offers make for a good gesture and help them stay connected to your business.

Expand your social outreach

This is the perfect time to stay connected with your customers through social media and digital channels for information and support. Harness the power of interactive content, instant updates, and entertaining resources to interact with your customers/clients. This will make them feel included in your business even when you are not working in full capacity and would go a long way is your brand awareness and outreach.

Along with the above, remember:

Do not panic and make a hasty marketing strategy if there is a sudden shift in the market. Always use the available data and analyze your next move.

Do not game the market. Stock buying from wholesalers and reselling them at a hiked price might work in the short run but won’t be sustainable or become a legit business strategy.

Do not go silent on your customers. Always stay connected and let them know that you are present and striving to be in the business.

As COVID-19 continues to turn the world economy topsy turvy, businesses must make the most of every possible resource and avenues to make themselves heard and seen.

5 Myths about Coworking Spaces Debunked

Business How To’s

04 February 2020

5 Myths about Coworking Spaces Debunked

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

In a world where startups are booming, and more people than ever are venturing into entrepreneurship, a coworking space becomes a blessing! This has given rise to multiple shared working spaces in India.  Typically, coworking offices offer business-standard infrastructure, including cubicles and meeting rooms along with top-notch amenities for people who are early-stage-entrepreneurs – individuals or groups. They provide the perfect environment to grow creatively and financially as well as provide extensive networking opportunities.

However, as with anything new, multiple myths surround these shared spaces. These myths often don’t hold ground and need to be cleared for it not to become a hindrance in your way.

The top five myths around coworking include:

Myth One: Coworking offices are expensive.

 

A coworking space is never going to cost more than renting or buying an exclusive property. Usually, the charges are per seat or combined for a large team. Further, coworking offices often have great deals and discounts depending on your requirements.

When someone tries to build their own office space, the infrastructure is not the only cost at hand. One has to take care of electricity, appliances, hospitality support, etc. Whereas, all these things are together taken care of by the coworking provider. Hence, whenever you want to compare the costs, do take into account the miscellaneous expenses which are already included in the coworking space price.

Myth Two: Business privacy goes for a toss in a coworking space.

 

It is natural to think so, because unlike private self-owned offices, here you will be sharing the space with others as well. But it all depends on how you can utilize the space and make the most of the services provided by the provider. For confidential discussions, it is ideal to take a meeting room where the conversations remain private within the coworking spaces. So, it is all about where you are having those discussions; if you are careful, all information stays safe and private.

Myth Three: Working in a coworking office is the same as working from home or a coffee house.

 

Coworking spaces provide amenities and infrastructures that become a perfect fit for business and creativity. At home or a coffee shop, you might find the ideal corner, but will always miss out on the professional office vibes of a shared working space. The infrastructure itself differentiates it from an average coffee shop. Also, things like stationary, excellent wifi, hospitality support and tech assistance are things that coworking offices can offer.

Moreover, the most significant advantage of choosing a coworking space over cafes or home is that there will be less distraction. Also, not to forget, when one walks into a coworking, they walk into a pool of network where ideas can really grow. Often there are networking events and unwind sessions organized by the coworking centres that help businesses get inspired.

Myth Four: Coworking offices are too noisy!

 

You might assume that because it is a shared office space, the environment will be noisy, disturbing and unproductive. But the reality is, the atmosphere is extraordinarily conducive and calming. Nobody likes a place with constant chattering, so everyone makes conscious effort to make sure that their discussions are as silent as possible. Additionally, almost every coworking office will have open areas where people usually step out to have conversations, therefore, making the actual working area peaceful.

Myth Five: It is only for freelancers and extremely small groups.

 

It is a common misconception that coworking spaces are the go-to choice for only small-scale businesses. Step into any coworking space, and you would be surprised to see even mid-scale or big scale groups there. You can book as many seats as you want, which quashes the myth about limited space and seating in a coworking is absolutely false. It is all about making that inquiry call and opening the gateway to better opportunities and spaces.

With these myths debunked, one can be assured that there is no reason to be hesitant about opting for a shared office space.

Awfis offers excellently designed and competitively priced coworking offices across various locations in India. Walk into any one of our centres to witness practically designed spaces, calming décor, productive work areas and extensive networking opportunities. Visit an Awfis space today!

Marketing 101: How to Organically Build a Brand in a New High-Growth Category

Business How To’s

20 January 2020

Marketing 101: How to Organically Build a Brand in a New High-Growth Category

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Embarking on the journey of building a brand – especially one that belongs to a relatively new category – is no child’s play. It entails bridging the existing gaps in the sector while staying true to the brand vision. The competition may be significantly low, but so is the general awareness around the category. And this is where the challenge lies.

With renewed focus on flexibility, mobility & suiting the work preferences of the millennial workforce, most companies are adapting Coworking spaces. As per a Colliers International Report 2019l, the big jump in expansion has been in the last five years, between 2014 and end of 2018, where the number of flexible workspace sites expanded by +205% while the number of operators expanded by +138%The growth potential of the category is undoubtedly enormous, but how does one build the brand is a question that hovers around.

Here are the 5 steps of organically building a brand in a high-growth and new category.

Positively impact the stakeholders

Coworking spaces naturally have multiple stakeholders – landlords, brokers, tenants& own employees. Starting with the direct stakeholders is the most reasonable way of going forward as it gives one the leverage of word of mouth. It is a synergistic partnership where each stakeholder has a crucial role to play and reap benefits in return. For example, the landlord will only gain if more people opt for the coworking space. Again, the greater the number of tenants, the more popular the coworking space is likely to become. This in turn adds value to the tenant’s office location while also providing greater networking opportunities. It’s imperative that each employee/staff of the coworking space becomes a brand custodian & delivers as per the brand promise to the stakeholders at every step of the way.

Identify the high-impact touchpoints

Customers are everything to a brand; they are the reason the brand exists in the first place. Hence, identifying the right touchpoints is an integral part of brand building. For a coworking space to grow its brand, leveraging cost-effective yet highly impactful touchpoints is the key. Office buildings are the most effective to grab attention of office goers. Attention seizing building facades & signages at the entrance never go unnoticed and serve as high visibility touchpoints. While having hoardings and signages at prime locations can do the trick, there’s nothing cheaper and effective than online engagement, which brings us to the next step.

 Focus on real conversations/engagements online

The target audience for most coworking spaces is millennials, which is why a strong social media presence is crucial. Creating the brand’s own niche and building a community on social media can go a long way in ensuring maximum engagement.  For example, sharing relevant content and latest industry news, celebrating members’ successes, covering and promoting brand events, and raising awareness around causes close to the brand are highly effective in creating a conversation and building a community. It also goes on to show that the brand cares about its customers, thereby boosting brand image and presence.

Effectively use PR

A good public relations campaign is the backbone of building a strong brand image across offline and online channels. The PR campaign should essentially aid the brand’s objective of creating a niche. PR can be used as a robust tool to build thought leadership and establish a strong recall value. It is important to ensure that PR communications are consistent across all channels to achieve maximum impact.

Build brand partnerships

Affiliate marketing has been around for years and is one of the primary ways to drive traffic and generate sales. Coworking spaces can leverage this to reduce cost per lead while benefiting from the partner brand’s customer base & brand reputation.

Establishing tie-ups with brands by offering value to their customers through discounts on products/services is the right way. Coworking spaces can partner with BFSI companies, business hotels, retail brands, cab providers, etc. to delight customers on both sides. When done right, it also reflects brand’s genuine care for customers.

Coworking spaces are seeing a steady rise, thanks to incredible technological advancements and a shift in work cultures towards more flexible schedules. And if their branding game is top-notch, the opportunities to grow are tremendous.