Have a really good idea? Here's how to get a little financial backup.
Step 1: Go to the SBA website to learn about SBICs Go to the Small Business Administration website to learn about SBICs or Small Business Investment Companies. These are privately-owned and managed VC companies licensed through the SBA.
Step 2: Prepare a solid business plan Prepare a solid business plan on your own with SBA's business plan writing guide. Or find a mentor through SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
Step 3: Find an SBIC through the NASBIC Find an SBIC through the NASBIC, the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies. Their website has a state-by-state SBIC list, and a searchable NASBIC member directory to focus your search.
TIP: Focus your search criteria to an SBIC specializing in your company's industry.
Step 4: Find individual angel investors Find individual investors or "angels" through the National Business Incubation Association. Incubators offer mentoring as well as introductions to angel investors; search the NBIA directory for an incubator near you.
Step 5: Find private venture capitalist companies Find private venture capitalist companies through the membership list of the National Venture Capital Association. Send out your business plan.
TIP: In a tough economy, use the shotgun approach, sending your plan to many VCs.
Step 6: Prepare a presentation to go with your plan Prepare a presentation to go with your plan for pitch meetings with VCs. Practice your pitch.
FACT: During the dot-com boom, angel investors gave $20 million to DigiScents, a company promising to deliver odors over the internet.