How to Network on LinkedIn: Authenticity is Key

"The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity." - Keith Ferrazzi

In today's digital age, LinkedIn has transcended its initial resume-sharing function to become a vibrant community where professionals connect, share, and learn. It's a platform where your digital footprint can significantly impact real-world opportunities.

The question arises: How does one show up on LinkedIn to make a meaningful impact? The answer, while multi-faceted, hinges largely on one principle—showing up as you would in the real world: authentically, with a genuine desire to build meaningful relationships over time.

Be Yourself, Unapologetically

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one." - C.S. Lewis

Authenticity is magnetic in any social setting. The same holds true for LinkedIn. Let your true self shine through when crafting your profile or engaging on the platform. Your professional summary isn't just a list of job roles and skills; it's a narrative of your professional journey, aspirations, and what drives you.

Share your challenges and successes with humility and pride, respectively. This authenticity fosters trust and relatability, laying a solid foundation for connections that transcend transactional interactions.

Value-Driven Content Sharing

"Networking is more about ‘farming’ than it is about ‘hunting.’ It’s about cultivating relationships." - Ivan Misner

Just as you would in face-to-face networking events, aim to add value to every interaction on LinkedIn. Share articles, insights, or experiences that showcase your expertise and contribute to the growth of others. Comment thoughtfully on posts, offering your unique perspective or support.

When you approach content sharing and engagement with the intent to enrich the community, you naturally attract a network that resonates with your values and vision.

Meaningful Conversations Over Likes

"The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people." - Theodore Roosevelt

In the real world, meaningful relationships are built through conversations, not through passing glances or superficial nods. Apply the same principle on LinkedIn. Instead of merely liking a post, engage with it. Ask questions, share insights, or express genuine interest. These interactions, though small, are powerful steps toward building relationships that matter.

Remember, a thoughtful comment can begin a fruitful conversation or collaboration.

Consistency is Key

"Your network is your net worth." - Porter Gale

Just as showing up consistently in the real world strengthens relationships, being active regularly on LinkedIn enhances your visibility and the depth of your connections. This doesn't mean you need to post daily, but a steady rhythm of engagement shows your network that you are present and invested. Consistency also applies to your messaging and branding.

Ensure that your online persona accurately reflects your real-world self across all touchpoints on the platform.

Networking with Purpose

"Networking isn't about using others but being helpful to others. It's a two-way street." - Paul M. Rand

On LinkedIn, networking for the sake of adding connections misses the mark. Instead, approach networking with purpose and intention. Seek out individuals and groups who share your interests, values, or goals. When you send a connection request, personalize it. Mention why you're interested in connecting and what you admire about their work or insights.

This personalized approach demonstrates respect and genuine interest, creating a meaningful connection.

Giving Back

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others." - African Proverb

Those who give selflessly in any community often receive the most in return. LinkedIn is no exception. Whether it's offering advice, mentoring, or simply cheering on the achievements of others, your generosity will not go unnoticed. These acts of kindness can significantly amplify your impact on the platform, leading to deeper connections and opportunities.

Embrace Vulnerability

"Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome." - Brené Brown

Finally, showing up authentically means embracing vulnerability. Sharing your struggles, asking for help, or admitting when you don't have all the answers can be powerful. It humanizes you, making you more approachable and relatable. Of course, there's a balance to be struck between professional vulnerability and oversharing, but don't shy away from showing your human side.

In conclusion, showing up on LinkedIn mirrors how you would want to present yourself in the real world—authentically, with integrity, and a sincere interest in building relationships. It's about being consistent in your engagement, offering value, and being genuinely interested in the success and well-being of others. By doing so, you not only enrich your professional journey but also contribute positively to the broader LinkedIn community.

Remember, authenticity remains an unwavering beacon of connection and opportunity in an increasingly digital world.

How to Prepare for Raising Capital: A Primer for Startup and Real Estate Principals

At ThinkFISH, we field roughly 600 inbound inquiries each month from prospective clients who are founders of startups and principals of new and existing real estate companies. Depending on your experience raising capital from investors, what you're about to read may seem obvious. However, for the many founders and other amazing leaders we meet, we must help you understand the fundamental insights we need to help you raise capital.

Whenever we meet with a founder or business leader, we seek to understand as much as possible about your business, where you are now, and your goals. To evaluate our ability to help you connect with qualified investors, it's essential to help us understand the following insights. Providing these details will enable us to assess the potential collaboration more effectively.

  1. Business Idea and Market: Concisely describe your business idea and the target market you intend to serve. Any market research or customer feedback you have gathered would be valuable.
  2. Team: Share information about your team members. Highlight their relevant experience and qualifications in the industry. LinkedIn profiles and bios are welcome.
  3. Financials: Share your startup's financial status, including revenue, expenses, and profit margins. If available, provide annual reports or financial statements.
  4. Investors: If your startup has received investments, inform us about the funding rounds and the investors involved. Any press releases or news articles related to funding would be appreciated.
  5. Competitors: Identify your competitors and provide insights into how your business compares to them. Data from sources like Crunchbase can be beneficial.
  6. Legal Structure: Share details about your startup's legal structure, whether a corporation, LLC, or another entity. Include relevant legal documents if possible.
  7. Technology Stack: Describe the technologies and tools your startup uses. This information can highlight your technical capabilities.
  8. Customer Base: Offer insights into your customer base, including demographics, case studies, or testimonials from satisfied clients.
  9. Revenue Model: Explain how your startup generates revenue. Is it through subscriptions, advertising, or other means? Share your business plan or revenue model details.
  10. Growth Plans: Outline your plans for future growth and expansion. Any strategic announcements or press releases related to your expansion strategy are valuable.
  11. Regulatory Compliance: Provide information about compliance with regulations relevant to your industry, primarily if you operate in any country outside of the U.S.
  12. Cultural Considerations: Discuss any cultural factors that may impact your business operations outside the U.S.
  13. Political and Economic Environment: Share your assessment of political and economic stability for companies outside the U.S.
  14. Security Measures: Describe your data security and privacy approach, mainly if your business deals with sensitive information.
  15. Success Stories: Highlight any success stories or case studies related to your startup. These examples can showcase your achievements.
  16. Pitch Deck: Providing a current pitch deck suitable for prospective investors, stakeholders, etc., helps us understand your story or pitch.

In conclusion, ThinkFISH is dedicated to assisting startup founders and real estate principals like you to raise the capital needed for success. Every business is unique, so we request these fundamental insights. Providing us with the information outlined in this article enables us to assess your potential collaboration more effectively and tailor our support to your specific needs.

Remember, our goal is to empower you to secure the investment you require. Whether you're a seasoned entrepreneur or new to raising capital, ThinkFISH is here to help bridge the gap between your vision and the resources necessary to bring it to life.

We appreciate your interest in partnering with us, and we look forward to working closely with you, sharing your success stories, and contributing to the growth and prosperity of your venture.

The Art of Raising Capital: Finding Your Highest and Best Use of Time

Raising capital is a crucial part of growing any business, but it's also a complex process that requires careful consideration of how you spend your time as an executive. This article will explore the art and process of raising capital, highlighting the importance of determining your highest and best use of time in this endeavor.

The Art of Raising Capital

Raising capital involves obtaining the funds needed to fuel your business's growth and achieve your goals, such as expanding operations, developing new products, or entering new markets. However, this process can be demanding and time-consuming.

The process of raising capital is dirty work. And only some people can raise capital well, let alone find the work rewarding. Therefore, raising capital successfully is based on several critical factors.

Step 1: Identify Your Strengths

Every executive should begin by assessing their unique strengths and talents. What are you best at? Where can your skills and expertise have the most significant impact on your company's success?

Step 2: Prioritize Your Time

Once you've identified your strengths, it's crucial to prioritize your time accordingly. If tasks like cold outreach and vetting suitable investors aren't your strong suit, focusing on other business aspects that align with your strengths might be more beneficial.

Step 3: Determine the Best Path, In-House Team vs. Outsourcing

Here's where an important decision comes into play. You have two options: building an in-house team or outsourcing the capital-raising process to a specialized firm like Thinkfish.

In conclusion, recognizing your highest and best use of time is crucial in raising capital. As an executive, your time is your most valuable asset. 

By aligning your efforts with your strengths and considering whether to build an in-house team or outsource to experts like Thinkfish, you can make the most of your time and increase your chances of securing the capital needed to drive your business forward.

Remember that the decision ultimately depends on your unique circumstances and goals. Choose the option that best suits your needs and positions your company for success in the competitive world of capital raising.


The Nuts and Bolts of Raising Capital: The ThinkFISH Investor Outreach Process

At ThinkFISH, we realize funding is hard for founders, real estate firms, and everyone else seeking equity capital. In contrast, the list of willing and able lenders is always long. But when it comes to raising capital, there are several essential questions every founder or person raising capital needs to ask:

  1. What is my highest and best use of time as a founder and leader? Doing a task that is not of the highest and best of your time is simply another lost opportunity cost.
  2. What is the best process for raising capital? It takes a lot of hard work, a bullet-proof process, and people committed to doing the hard work. If a founder agrees, delegate the tasks and responsibilities to those with the experience to do the job right the first time.
  3. Who’s the best person to meet with qualified investors and make the pitch? Founders and clients of ThinkFISH tell us they are best suited to pitch to investors.

The ThinkFISH Process for Raising Capital

Given the hard work involved with finding, reaching, and engaging prospective investors to invest, let’s look at the many steps taken daily by the ThinkFISH team of over thirty professionals:

  1. 1. Research and Planning
    1. We research and identify accredited investors likely to be interested in your startup or real estate venture.
    2. We clearly outline your value proposition to communicate the value you offer.
  2. Developing Sales Materials
    1. We create compelling sales copy using persuasive and clear messaging tailored for LinkedIn, email, and warm outreach to potential investors.
    2. We review and optimize best-in-class pitch decks highlighting the key features, benefits, market potential, and your team.
  3. Technology Platform Licensing and Integration
    1. We ensure the digital platforms we license are fully operational, secure, and ready to deploy your message and drive qualified investors to your calendar.
    2. These platforms include LinkedIn, email servers, calendar links, and access to remote meeting solutions such as Zoom.
  4. Outreach and Relationship Building
    1. We launch LinkedIn campaigns using the client-approved sales copy to connect with and message targeted investors.
    2. We send personalized emails to a curated list of potential investors with a compelling message and invitation to discuss further.
    3. We leverage our existing network for introductions and referrals to potential investors.
  5. Scheduling and Confirming Meetings
    1. We qualify investors who seek to book a time for a pitch meeting, thereby saving you time and money.
    2. We send confirmation and reminder emails or messages to ensure high attendance rates.
  6. The Investor Pitch
    1. We help you perfect your story and pitch with the ThinkFISH Pitchdeck Mastery coaching process. We help you craft a strong narrative that connects emotionally with investors, outlining the problem, solution, and journey for investing with you.
    2. We empower you to schedule a compelling, live demonstration or a detailed walkthrough of your investment thesis and offer.
    3. We engage potential investors by sharing testimonials, success stories, or endorsements from credible sources to build trust.
  7. Follow-up and Relationship Maintenance
    1. We help you with the art of timely, professional follow-up with investors. Follow-up includes sending a thank you message after meetings and providing additional information or answers to any questions.
    2. We coach you to nurture relationships with potential investors about your company's progress, milestones, and news or press.
  8. Negotiation and Closing
    1. We coach you to present your investment terms, expectations, and agreements.
    2. We ensure you have the processes and platform to finalize the investment with legal documentation and funds transfer.
  9. Post-Investment Relationship
    1. We help you maintain regular communication with investors, providing updates and seeking advice when necessary.
    2. We support you continuously to keep investors informed and engaged, potentially opening doors for further investment or referrals.

In conclusion, ThinkFISH understands the challenges founders, private equity, and real estate firms face when raising capital. It's crucial to focus on what truly matters and delegate tasks efficiently to experienced professionals. Founders are often the best-suited individuals to make the pitch to investors, but the journey to securing funding involves a series of well-planned steps.

So, if you're a founder or seeking equity capital, remember that the path to success involves hard work, delegation, and a dedicated team like ThinkFISH to guide you through the process. We can help you achieve your funding goals and advance your venture.