You’re dreaming of the success of your startup business. I mean actually dreaming. In your dream a smiling investor hands you a silver suitcase, and when you open it, it’s stuffed with dollar bills. You realize that everything you’ve hoped for your enterprise can now come true. You’re fully capitalized, you’re ready to rock.
And then you wake up.
The suitcase full of money was just a dream, and you start another day facing the prospect of keeping the team going, struggling to get your product perfected, and wondering how and when the huge promise of your business will be recognized and rewarded.
Is that a scenario you know? For very many startup entrepreneurs, it will be familiar territory. You’ve had the great idea, gathered a capable team, and already travelled a long way together. But now you need to take the next giant step, where the idea becomes real. To do that you need money – a lot more money than you can hope to scrape together from your friends or family. You’re ready to go large but you have little or no idea where to go to find that suitcase full of money that you dreamed of. Who will be willing to finance you, and what will you have to give them in return – your house, your soul, or perhaps even worse, part of the company you have created?
Even the prospect of shaking the magic money tree to see what fruit drops out can be scary. Perhaps – maybe – the tree will be full of riches. There again, you could have missed the harvest altogether, and the tree could be empty. Can you and the team hang on for another year, waiting for the next opportunity to get financed?
Well, let me tell you two things: there are actually lots of money trees; and shaking them to get money is not magic. Rather, if you take my logical, step-by-step approach to finding and attracting investors, you’ll see that dreaming of getting your business financed can very quickly become a reality. The first major thing to realize is that you are in control. It is you who should have created the budget, and knows it thoroughly. You should know what you want to ask in the way of finance, and what (if anything) you’re willing to give in return for that money, and you should know who your ideal investors are.
Say what? That usually stops entrepreneurs in their tracks, when I say that they can define who their investors are. It’s true though – for every business offering there is a matching ideal investor profile, and not all investors are the same, or merely faceless people who are only interested in one thing: making more money. In fact investors are as varied as the enterprises they support, which means the enterprises must define as precisely as possible who they are seeking and why. Let’s take the harvest of real trees – you wouldn’t expect to get very good plum jam from the produce of an apple tree, would you! Money trees are just as varied, and how you nurture them must exactly match their nature. Let’s say your unique idea is a high-tech medical gizmo: it’s unlikely that an investor in theatrical shows is going to get attracted to your offering. Possible of course, but you really should be identifying and working hard at developing relationships with investors who are close to your niche market.
Being niche is a key concept in all of this. Define your niche, then go after investors who fit within that niche. Now instead of the forest, you identify specific trees, and know what they are capable of producing, and when. And this is all within your capabilities. Trees don’t come to you, you go to them. Trees produce the fruit you need as and when you shake them. You shake them by producing a very shiny story, a concise and realistic budget, and a world-beating idea. What’s more, you do this in a step-by-step, staged process which is logical, and repeatable. If it doesn’t work the first time, OK, you move on and repeat the process, each time getting closer to success. What you don’t do is to re-invent the process each time you approach a new investor.
My experience, and that of my clients, is that if you are Serious About Success, finding and attracting the right investors can actually come quite quickly. Typically I expect that within four weeks of a startup entrepreneur having adopted my 6 Steps program, their dreams of that suitcase full of money will be on the way to being realized.
If that sounds unlikely, you can just carry on believing in magic, and luck.
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