Dion Appel

Dion Appel

Thursday, 13 September 2012 00:00

Small Business Idea: How to Gain Credibility With Investors

I’m worried people won’t take my business seriously as I’m only 21. Help!

This article first appeared on November 25th, 2010.


I’m looking for investors for my business but I’m worried that they won’t take me seriously as I’m only 21-years-old. Are my fears justified?


Everybody has ideas. Successful people turn ideas into reality. Thankfully, technology has enabled old money to look beyond their comfort zone for opportunities.


Gone are the days when age equals experience, you just need to look at the biggest brand in the world to rationalise that. Facebook, created by college students for college students, is now a global phenomenon adopted by all ages.


But how do you start? It’s simple – if you believe in your idea then get some runs on the board.


Investors are more likely to take you seriously if they can see how your fantastic business idea attracts a customer base and revenue.


I was 26, I’d successfully built a sports management and marketing business that was sold to a publically listed company on the UK Stock Exchange. Granted I had some experience but it was back to the drawing board before Lifelounge was born.


Unlike the management business that was service based and required relatively little investment to get started, the new idea was a digital media business and required funds.


The first thing I did was turn to family and friends who believed in me. That got the wheels turning, but to gain real momentum we required additional capital.


Armed with a glossy business plan and a huge vision I was put in front of a sophisticated investor. Leaving the meeting quite disheartened with a ‘no’ and a list of reasons why, I regrouped and reviewed the feedback.


Simply put, I needed to prove that the digital business Lifelounge could attract an audience and advertisers. I did and the business received its capital injection.


I was once told that money follows management. If you back yourself then be sure others will back you too.


My tips are:

    • Back yourself.
    • Learn from other people’s experience.
    • Age is irrelevant, get some runs on the board.
    • Work hard to continually deliver.
    • Don’t die wondering.

      Dion co-founded Infinite Management Solutions in 1997, a sports management and marketing agency, before launching Lifelounge, a youth-focused media, entertainment and marketing company, in 1999. Clients include Fosters Group, Schweppes, Adidas and Levi Strauss.

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