Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
EB-5 investment capital, which is often available at below-market rates, is a welcome source of funding for U.S. business owners. However, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program does far more than strengthen the U.S. economy — it also transforms the lives of foreign EB-5 investors by granting them permanent U.S. residency. Relocating to the United States is often a lifelong dream for EB-5 investors, many of whom are eager to share in the benefits created by the country’s political and economic stability. Therefore, EB-5 business owners should strive to build positive relationships with their investors and gain their trust.
Treating your EB-5 investors with consideration can benefit your business in many ways. For example, your investors will likely be inclined to ask you for guidance on future investments or business ventures once they relocate to the United States. In addition, they may recommend the EB-5 investment program to family and friends in their home country. Ultimately, you will form strong, long-term relationships with your investors.
The following guidelines will help you gain the trust of your EB-5 investors and assist them throughout the EB-5 process.
1. Be reliable
Investors must expend significant time and resources to participate in the EB-5 program; since the minimum EB-5 investment amounts are substantial, investors may have to use most or even all of their savings. Therefore, strive to keep all the promises you make to your investors. If, for instance, you agree to call an investor or provide a document for their visa petition by a certain date, make sure to follow through.
2. Get to know your investors
Many EB-5 investors are successful, high-net-worth professionals who plan on relocating with their families. Others are young people who have been gifted the EB-5 investment funds and want to study or work in the United States. Whatever the case, knowing your investors’ backgrounds will help you empathize with them and gain their trust.
3. Keep your investors informed
The EB-5 process takes several years, and your investors will want regular updates on how your business is doing. Do your best to contact your investors every month or every quarter. If any setbacks or issues arise, you should communicate them transparently. Moreover, be willing to share details about your professional and academic background to prove that you are properly qualified to manage the business.
In addition, you should be available to answer your investors’ questions directly, even at odd hours. Receiving key information from the owner of the business rather than from an employee makes investors feel more confident.
4. Comply with EB-5 regulations
If their EB-5 funds do not create at least 10 jobs, remain at risk and fulfill various other criteria, investors will be ineligible for U.S. residency. To help your investors relocate successfully, you must understand the requirements of the EB-5 program and adhere to them as you manage your EB-5 funds. The EB-5 program can seem overwhelmingly complex at first, but many business owners have successfully complied with EB-5 regulations thanks to the expertise of knowledgeable industry professionals.
5. Keep cultural and language differences in mind
Foreign nationals from any country are allowed to make an EB-5 investment, so there will likely be cultural and language barriers to surmount when you interact with your investors. Some investors may not speak fluent English or have a background in business management, but you should still provide them with detailed, transparent information about your offering.
The EB-5 program is much more than a viable source of funding for your business — it also offers life-changing opportunities to investors from around the world. Taking the time to earn the trust of your EB-5 investors will help your company grow and bolster your expertise as a business leader.