As remote work becomes more popular every day, investors have to find ways to work in a virtual landscape. With remote work, connections and relationships become even more critical. Trust is one of the most studied elements in virtual work.
Investors spend almost every hour on the hunt for the next big opportunity. They constantly meet with investors, start-ups, entrepreneurs and review opportunities and proposals. To maximize exposure, investors source new opportunities from as many sources as possible – meetings, events, personal introductions, in-bound inquiries, referrals, etc. It’s difficult and cumbersome to manage and keep track of this vast network of relationships.
The turmoil of the past two years has given all of us reason to consider the importance of relationships in our lives. Over the past two years, most investors have experienced some degree of fracturing as social connections and business cohesion has been strained. The challenges of remote work, high degree of uncertainty, the clumsy process of figuring out what investing remotely could look like, and the poor form of communications have all served to threaten a sense of losing potential opportunities. Moreover, most of our remote work interactions have been with our immediate network and focused mainly on the tasks at hand. Yet many of us had found ways to maintain our most important relationships— business and personal—even when that meant conducting them virtually. When the pandemic struck, few could have imagined that relationships of all kinds—including those that drive the investment world—could be relocated successfully online.
Today remote work has created new requirements for connecting fellow investors, start-ups, and entrepreneurs to achieve shared outcomes.
Here are three approaches I’ve seen help investors re-establish strong connections across industries as they’ve shifted to remote work environments.
Ensure nothing lose timely touch
We know the frustration of seeing a target company we jotted down on our ‘to-do’ list but never made the time to contact. Investors live in a world where one missed opportunity can turn out to be the next Google or Meta. The most successful investors ensure that no relationship gets lost in the weeds. They track and manage all opportunities and relationships. Our relationship data live in our communication, CRM, and social media. If we can capture, connect, and track this disjointed data, we should easily track relationships and eliminate communication silos. The use of relationship intelligence helps investors manage and follow up with all the relevant connections.
Consistently nurture relationships
For investors, cultivating strong relationships with other investors and entrepreneurs is critical. Strong relationships help investors keep current with the latest happenings and help ensure they are well informed of the next opportunities before other investors. With AI and machine learning, investors can keep track of relationship follow-ups and any risk of losing important touch. In addition, there is a lot of data in the public domain about people and companies relevant to us that we are not aware of. Knowing this data and keeping in touch with important people and organizations in our network help nurture and manage our relationships.
Access intel quickly
In the world of investment, time is of the essence. Investors don’t have time to scour a CRM system for information about their network. Instead, they need this data at their fingertips. That’s why they aspire to gravitate towards AI-driven search tools. These innovative search tools allow investors to ask questions about their network that can’t be answered without hours of research. For example, they can determine which companies they should meet with when preparing for an upcoming business trip. Or, during preparation for a quarterly business review, they can identify which companies they’ve met with over the past quarter.
Business opportunities don’t come so quickly in today’s competitive world. The investor’s most important asset is their network. Building and maintaining a solid network can mean the difference between raising the next fund or not. As people start coming back to work in whatever form that takes, investors must invest the time to reset relationships within their team and between their team and partners, portfolio companies, prospects, and service providers. Use the opportunity to shed old baggage and start new by strengthening weak ties.
The coming year of remote workplaces offers a marvelous opportunity to refresh and reinvent the most important relationships for investors. Thankfully, the process need not be complicated.