A solid relationship with a venture capitalist can lead to valuable connections, a great job offer, and future investments. In addition, the right relationship can help you build a sustainable enterprise. Research the venture capitalist firm’s investment focus and portfolio companies when networking. Then, tailor your outreach to fit their interests.

Know what you’re looking for

The first step is knowing what you’re looking for in a relationship with a venture capitalist, for example, Brad Kern. If you’re a founder, it can be tempting to build relationships with VCs because of the potential funding they could provide your company. Still, it would be best to understand that VCs invest in about 1% of the companies they talk to. Defining your target role can help you develop your unique value proposition and elevator pitch, which communicate your skills, experience, and achievements in a way that sets you apart from other candidates. In the case of venture capital, this includes things like market knowledge, strategic thinking, and financial expertise. Before approaching a VC, research the firm and its investment focus, portfolio companies, and team members. This will allow you to tailor your message and demonstrate your genuine interest in working with the firm. Then, prepare by practicing your answers to common VC interview questions. This will make you feel more confident and prepared on the interview day.

Make yourself available

A strong network can be critical to landing a job in venture capital. It can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends, models, and best practices in the industry and provide access to valuable mentors. For example, when you attend events, be proactive about introducing yourself to new people and engaging in conversations. Moreover, if you see a particular investment firm’s name pop up in news articles or social media conversations, reach out and introduce yourself. As you develop relationships with VCs, prioritize getting warm introductions from advocates willing to vouch for your capabilities. Having an advocate to pique the interest of investors can make all the difference in breaking through their guard and building a relationship.

Be a good listener

Venture capitalists are known for posting content and messaging about the industries they’re interested in and what they want to invest in. Founders should always be on the lookout for their content and messages but also take the time to find out what makes them tick as people. This can be as simple as taking notes during your first meeting or even a phone call and discovering how to add value to them as individuals and business professionals. Then, if you’re not the right fit, that doesn’t have to be the end. He says she remains friends with many founders whose companies she didn’t invest in. And, of course, being a good listener will also make your conversations more productive and beneficial for both parties. You’ll be able to share opinions and information faster and more efficiently, which is what you want in any partnership. Then you can move on to the next one.

Be proactive

Cultivating a relationship with a venture capitalist before you need capital can be very beneficial. You never know if they’ll be interested, which may make the process easier. It also allows you to determine if the VC is appropriate for your business and a good fit for working together. During or after your meeting, find ways to add value to the investor. For instance, if they’re interested in a new area of your market, send them articles or connect them with someone who is. Adding value is one of the best ways to keep the conversation going and show you’re more than just asking for money. Like most professionals in the financial industry, VCs start their day with The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times and read trade publications specific to their area of expertise. Afterward, they’re often filled with meetings with partners at their investment firm, other investors, executives in their portfolio companies, and budding entrepreneurs looking for investment.