With 2016 fast approaching, we’re all starting to feel the ambitious urge to sign up to weekly veg box deliveries and yoga classes in an attempt to undo the cumulative damage wreaked by a week of festivities. While there is no doubt that such pursuits are both noble and worthwhile, there are other (less strenuous) practices that you might want to consider.
So, in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, we bring you the seven habits every investor should think about adopting.
The following list was put together by Harry Stebbings, who has interviewed countless VCs and angel investors for the SyndicateRoom podcast, Angel Insights, and his own podcast series, The Twenty Minute VC. We hope it gives you food for thought.
1) Give before you take
These days, investors can offer more than just money. The most savvy active investors add value before they invest. So, before investing, ask yourself if you have something to offer the company. You can give your investment an extra push by introducing the founders to relevant contacts, offering advice from your own experience, etc. It can make the difference between bank and bust.
As an investor, you don’t need to dominate the conversation. What is far more useful is to listen to what the entrepreneurs are saying and proceed from there. Bill Gurley is a famous example of a VC who spends a lot of time paying attention to what others have to say; as a result, when he speaks, people listen.
3) Face to face
In the world of email, it’s easy to go through life without connecting face to face, but speaking with someone in person induces 78% more productivity and 64% greater gains than doing it by email. Try meeting with new people regularly, whether it’s once a day or once a week; the more, the better.
4) Organise your social media flow
Dedicate the last part of your day to automating all your social media activity for the next day. This is crucial to building a personal brand, and in today's competitive seed environment that is crucial for ensuring good quality deal flow. Use Buffer or another scheduling app to make it work.
5) Get some headspace
In today's environment it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel stressed. Don’t let this get the better of you. The best investment you can make is in yourself, so take a an hour or even just 30 minutes each day to unwind. Need a kickstart? Try an app like Headspace.
6) Optimise your diary
‘Sorry, I’m busy.’ These days it’s all anyone seems to say, but ‘busy’ does not mean effective. Look at your schedule and use Pareto's 80/20 principle to analyse which 20% of your activities produces 80% of the returns. This will always be tough, but it’s also always possible. Be strict and time efficient, not busy.
7) Say ‘no’
On the back of being time efficient, get into the habit of saying ‘no’. Many angels say ‘maybe’ and entrepreneurs take that as a ‘yes’. If you don’t want to invest, say so. Say ‘no’ in that initial meeting, say why and let them know that you’d like to stay in touch. You don’t need to close the door, but don’t lead them on either.
All the best for the New Year; we’ll see you on the other side.