There are many ways in which an angel investor can support an entrepreneur and his/her business. In their book Winning Angels, Amis and Stevenson break down these various roles as silent investors, reserve force, team member, coach, and controlling investor. These roles are listed in order of least involvement to most involvement. Investors normally decide their level of involvement based on things such as how much have they invested, what kind of support does the entrepreneur need, how much time do they have to give, etc. Their level of involvement may also change as a company develops. Many times, entrepreneurs need more hands-on support during the early stages, and once the business is more developed, then the investors can scale back their involvement and be available when needed.
Based on the quotes provided in this book by experienced angel investors, it seems that most of them prefer to have some level of involvement as opposed to the silent investor route. The silent investor seems to be more for a minority investor who is just looking to trust an entrepreneur in hopes of getting some return on their investment. These investors usually have a lot of other things going on to where they simply don’t have the time or desire to have much involvement. I personally would like my investors to have some level of involvement as an entrepreneur, and if I were an investor, I would also like to have some level of involvement in the company I am investing in. One angel, Steve McGeady, says “I always like to add some value other than simply money. I try to get involved in things where I can help out personally.” I love this quote because it shows that the investor cares about the business and wants to help the entrepreneur in any way he can. It also shows the importance of investing in businesses that you can actually add value to outside of writing a check. Money is helpful, but experience and expertise are just as valuable. Especially if it can help you avoid costly mistakes and potentially save you money.
At the end of the day, developing and running a successful business is a team effort. The more people involved who have experience in the industry at hand and a passion for the product being produced, the higher chance of success. I’ve learned that surrounding yourself with well-connected and like-minded people is a must. A mutual respect among business partners and team members is essential as well.