Starting your own business is not the easiest job to do on earth. In-fact, it is one of the most challenging bets you play- putting your life’s savings on stake. Arranging money for starting a business is one of the major factors that affect the working and growth of the business as well as your future. When you pitch an investment proposal to an investor, they don’t just look at what your business plan is, but they look for everything- how you speak, how you behave, how focused you are, how passionate you are and a lot more! So it is important to understand that a lot goes into convincing an investor; it has to be a complete package!
But the most important thing is how you dress or should we say how you look! The way you look is the only thing which is judged much before you even begin to speak or present yourself.
So the real question is how should you look? Should it be Casual, Formal, Semi-Casual / Formal?
Well, the answer is- It depends!
There are always two ways of looking at this situation:
- How the investor expects you to dress up
- What are you comfortable in?
When you meet an investor, your first impression is extremely crucial and can decide your fate.
At the same time, the way you dress or the way you look from Top-to-Bottom, represents you and your company. While, it is important to be yourself, it is also important to understand that your there to sell something. Your actually there to sell your company, your product, your idea or for that matter yourself! So, to do so you have to have a lasting impression in all aspects.
This can also mean luring your audience and dressing is an important part of it! Dressing crisp is more important than wearing a suite & tie. Many investors do not really mind or look at the way you dress unless you are standing there in an un-ironed t-shirt and have uncombed hair. You must understand that huge decisions are made in those meetings and you should dress accordingly.
Factors affecting the decision:
Some of the factors that must be considered while finalizing your attire for a meeting with the investors are listed as follows:
This is one of the most important factor to be considered when deciding on what to wear for an investor meeting. Your outfit should match the type of firm you are heading or representing. For instance if you are going to sell hats or bow ties, it is better to wear one from your own brand to the meeting. But this is not advisable for all sorts of businesses- It is fine to wear jeans and a shirt if you sell funny costumes.
It is a well known saying in some countries that “One must eat what they please and dress like what pleases others”. It is recommended to know the people you are planning to meet. If it’s a huge VC firm and they have an “all formals” dress code, you must match the same. Do not reach for the meeting in a nightgown; after all not everyone could be Mark Zuckerberg.
Some people working in the VC firms in the US tell us that a pair of well fit jeans is the new startup dress code. Choose a good fit shirt and a jacket or a blazer to go with the same. Remember to look crisp! Make sure that the cloths you are wearing are as wrinkle free as possible. Do not wear your funky party t-shirt to the meeting unless you are planning to sell the same.
Go to the company’s website, research a little bit about them, their culture, what they are generally wearing, etc. and choose your attire accordingly!
Venue of the meeting is also a considerable factor to help you finalize your attire for the “big day”. Meeting with investors over coffee at an open coffee bar would require you to dress up different from what you would have looked like while meeting the same people at a business center. Wearing a suit and tie to the meeting, if it is undertaken in the investor’s office. And if it is a restaurant or a coffee shop in the venue, wearing a suite with an open collar shirt without the tie would work better.
For women entrepreneurs it is best to wear business formal while meeting in the office and a semi- formal dress or a shirt and a trouser or a well fit shirt when meeting at a more casual setup.
- Geography & Related Social Norms
Geography also plays an important role in understanding the dressing sense and has also created confusion for many young minds from other cities too! For instance, investors in east coast, US prefer something more formal whereas the investors in west coast don’t mind casuals too! Looking at trends in Asian countries there is still more formal dressing that works. Dressing up in formals gives a more serious and responsible look, when talking about the scenario in nations like China, Japan, India, Gulf Countries and even in some states of United Kingdom.
There would be many more factors that might affect your meeting with your investor, but it is always better to go well prepared- be it your looks or your business proposal. This will help you feel more confident and present your solution in a more confined and confident way leaving a positive impression on the listeners.
Some other suggestions that must be considered and inculcated in your life style are:
- Wear Tailor Fit Apparels: Formals look best when they are tailored according to your measurements. Always prefer getting your formals stitched rather than settling for a “ready to wear” piece.
- Color & Pattern: Avoid loud colors and big patterns as they might distract people from what you are saying and make them focus more on what you are wearing.
- Cloth Material: For men, a heavy suite material with wool mix makes the best stuff for business attires. For women, it is suggested to avoid too much lace and see- through materials. This will help you carry yourself easily and look well groomed.
- Jewelry: Talking about women- It is suggested to wear light jewelry with the dress you select. Do not choose big jewelry pieces as they would divert attention of the listeners. For men- wearing a ring is absolutely fine and if it is a very formal meeting, wear a pair of cuff-links! Also, wearing a watch is a good practice and shows that you respect time. So wear one always!
- Fragrances: When it comes to selecting a perfume or a deodorant, you must go for natural mild fragrances. Avoid strong fragrances as some people might get irritated due to the musk and this might affect your efforts negatively.
Along with a good or decent dressing make sure to carry a great Idea, good market Knowledge, high commitment, enthusiastic team, traction, vision, passion and grit. After all you have to have an idea worth the investment.
We hope these tips along with your product fetch you good investments and help you chase your dream.
If you have something to add to it, please share the same in the comments below.