Guest post by Social Enterprise Associates, www.socialenterprise.net, a consulting firm helping companies to get funding ‘game ready’ and positioned for success. The firm fosters ‘triple bottom line’ solutions supporting entrepreneurs, their companies, and industries in which they operate. Contact Drew Tulchin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-256-2692
Many companies, particularly start-ups, rush preparation in asking for capital, increasing the probability to fall flat at ‘the pitch’. There are tried-and-true steps to get ‘game ready’ for funding, no matter the enterprise or who is asking.
Below are 3 top recommendations to lay the vital groundwork needed.
1. House In Order
Make sure the foundational elements of your business are in place and documented: legally registered, full incorporation paperwork, initial stock ownership, etc. Don’t wait until asked.
2. Team Assembled
What are the first three factors an investor considers when making a decision? People, People, People. No man is an island; no venture succeeds without an all-star team of managers, advisors, board members, and vendors (let alone investors, partners, and customers).
Identify specifically who you need to get to the next level; make sure those people are oriented to their role in and being able to communicate the story. Who is your kitchen cabinet? Start with who you’ve got now, and begin to grow bigger for the ‘reach list’. Network with those you know, connect with LinkedIn and enjoy coffees. It’s about relationships.
3. Baseline Documents Prepared
Ready to pitch? To succeed in selling your company, you need the right tools.
A written business plan and financial projections are good starts. Potential investors won’t read your 100-page plan. Have an airtight, crisp, PROOFREAD and nicely presented executive summary (2 to 4 pages).
How many PPT slides in your deck? 10-12 MAX. Mostly pictures, tables and graphs –few words as possible. Have support stuff available, if requested; interested people will ask. For more the killer pitch, see Guy Kawasaki’s blog.
Make sure your website, email, and social media are up / active. Can your grandmother understand what your firm is and what you offer? Even if you’re still in beta or stealth, communicate a clear image and concept.
Investors need confidence in you, your team and your firm can adapt to weather circumstances that are unknown now. Be on top of everyday communication as an indicator of your performance under duress.