How do business angels or entrepreneurs develop their business relationships?

I often believe that too many startups are focussed on raising money as if money were the answer to all problems. Whilst a focus on giving business angels and VCs ‘what they want’ is admirable, it often comes at the cost of not focussing on the relationship.

Here’s the thing that matters – when the ink is dry on your funding deal – you are going to have to live with each other.

Actually, it is more than that..

You will be sharing moments of great excitement, massive fear and at times, deep disappointment.

The collective ability of the management team and investors to pick themselves up from setbacks will be key to the long term success of your project.

So, here’s a thought. Why not get to know each other a bit first? And one of the best ways to experience those highs and lows is to share great sports events.

This year, the Olympics really captured the imagination of the world.  Watching on TV was great, but imagine actually being there with your colleagues, partners, investors or companies? What might that sort of corporate hospitality have done for your business relationships and equally, for your ability to agree investment deals?

Corporate hospitality has always been a great business tool for entertaining clients and really showing them their value and worth to you, but it has been under used by business angels and entrepreneurs. It is where business relationships are forged and where they continue to blossom.

So, where might you go now that the Olympics is over for the next 4 years?

There are three main sport based opportunites – football, formula 1 and golf (plus the secondary sports of tennis, rugby and cricket).

Premier League football

In the UK we enjoy world class football almost every week and it is right up there in terms of excitement and world stars. For example getting Executive Club sports hospitality at Manchester United for example will give your team a great day to remember at one of the world’s biggest sports teams. Seasonal hospitality from the Exec Club is perfect as it will give you and your teams the chance to attend matches throughout the season it will really show them how much you value them, as well as cementing lasting business relationships over the course of the season

Of course, it really helps you build relationships in your local region as you will invite regional business contacts more often.

Formula 1

Formula 1 offers the ultimate in glitz and glamour. Whether at the British Grand Prix or any of the world’s major business centres there’s nothing like fast cars and the ultimate battle for first place to really make it a day to remember. The corporate hospitality will be top class and there’s no doubt it’ll be the perfect ingredient for your business and personal relationship.

Golf

The golf course is where many important business deals are concluded, so it’s the perfect way to entertain investors or entrepreneurs. You can play 18 holes yourself as part of a competition with hospitality after your time on the green or simply attend the hospitality tent at one of your country’s top events. Either way it will give you time to iron out those important business deals.

Sports hospitality is a tried and tested technique, but don’t simply opt for any event that takes your fancy. If it’s not necessarily a sport your contact follows it may not go down too well and you’ll be left with an expensive mistake.

Get to know them as a person and as a team. What are their individual sporting interests? Once you know this, tailor the package you pick to their tastes. If you do this, it won’t go unnoticed and could have a real impact on your business and investors relationship moving forward.

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