I often read “How I raised it” stories from entrepreneurs who recently raised their funding. Most are filled with a (journey to hell and back) saga about persevering against all odds. The entrepreneur’s journey is hard but it doesn’t have to be a fiery march through hell and back. There are steps you can take to avoid such a journey.
Before setting out to raise funding make sure of one thing- Don’t show up empty handed.
Bring more to the table than an idea. After talking with thousands of investors over the years, investing in startups comes down to two things: team and execution. Show up with both of those in whatever manner you can.
Bring execution results to the table – not just promises for the future. Sales, team, product, IP, and fundraise are the core operational goals you need to show. Sales can come in the form of leads, LOIs, pipeline sales, and more. Team can include partners, distribution channels, advisors, and mentors. IP can be provisional patents or trade secrets. Fundraise can include soft circled interest, committed funds as well as invested funds.
I’m amazed at how many startups take the strategic decision to not sell their product so they can focus on building it. With no revenue in hand, they’ve lopped off 80% of their potential investor prospects. Strategic decisions should expand your investor prospect list not shrink it.
Start taking steps that make it easier to raise funding, not easier to live your lifestyle. And whatever you do – don’t show up empty handed.
Hall T. Martin is the founder of TEN Capital and a builder of entrepreneur ecosystems by startup funding through angel networks, funding portals, syndicates, and more Connect with him about fundraising, business growth, and emerging technologies