What is the best method to not only find investors, but to also get them on board with a prospective idea?
There is an international not-for-profti organisation for entrepreneurs - TIE International.
This organisation is normally run by investors and "angels" - these are the types of people who are on the committee to run the TIE group.
I have been a member of TIE Sydney - they run all sorts of networking events, advisory groups, 1:1 mentoring. They run a fabulous "Pitching " competition and go through how to structure a pitch when looking for capital from investors. The winner of this pitching competition goes to Silicon Valley and pitches with the other international competitors.
TIE International members - from the investors side - help startups with information, they are also there looking for great ideas. Associating with this group can really help from an information viewpoint, meeting with investors and talking with them about how to source funding and basically networking - you never know who is in the room that might be interested in your idea.
Learning from investors who have been there, is really valuable. Look for your local TIE International chapter or for Startup networking groups - there will be investors in the room.
Jef Lippiatt , Owner at Startup Chucktown
I would say reach out to other entrepreneurs that have raised money from investors in your geographic area. Also do some research online. You want to target your venture at investors that are already interested in your industry or the type of product, service or technology your business will offer. It is better to look for aligned investors than any investor.
Do your homework on the investors once you've found information on them. What were the last 3-5 ventures they funded? How much funding did they provide? How much equity did they want in exchange for the money? Have they mentored or assisted the companies they've funded or just given them money? These are the types of answers you need to find (if possible) before ever trying to talk with an aligned investor. Doing so shows that you have taken the time and effort to familiarize yourself with them instead of just expecting a check.
Also, try to only focus on aligned investors, unless you are just trying to practice your pitch in front of qualified investors to get feedback and refine how you talk about your business. Chances are if the investor only finances hardware startups and you are launching a new food product - they may not be interested. But if you are just looking to refine your craft and get feedback pitching to any set of investors could be helpful.
Mick, I agree with Jef and Adrienne, may I also suggest some entrepreneurial pitch meet ups in your area. This can be a great place to get your pitch right and to uncover any objections, issues or scenrios you may not yet have discovered. Good Luck!