YOUR MATCH: THE ART OF MEETING THE RIGHT INVESTORS
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In my practice,
I meet with many entrepreneurs. Listening to their stories is a poignant
reminder about just how difficult it can be to find the investment money
they need to grow their businesses. Many often ask me about the best
ways to raise money for their businesses. Believe it or not, often times
my answer begins with a story about my dating life. It goes something
Although I was not blessed with Brad Pitt’s good looks or the
best conversation skills, thankfully, I did catch the height gene and
measure in at about 6 feet, 2 inches. Now, by Midwest standards, this
is no significant thing, but in New York City, for whatever reason,
it was one way to differentiate myself from many of the other guys in
the singles scene. So, when I went to parties or out with friends, instead
of competing with every other guy for the attention of the same group
of women, I would try to meet the women who were taller than most of
the men in the room. Knowing my dating limitations, I played the odds
that were most favorable for me.
For me, the strategy was a success. Last year in November, I married
a 6-foot tall brilliant and beautiful woman!
Finding the investment money you need to grow your business is not that
much different than my dating story (albeit, maybe a little less fun).
To be successful, you first have to put yourself out there and meet
a lot of people. But, then, and perhaps most importantly, if you are
aware of your company's limitations and you focus your efforts on the
funding strategies where you have the greatest odds for success, you
will find more money, faster and with less effort.
For some of you who will have immediate positive cash flow and assets
you can afford to use as collateral, a bank loan may be the best, and
certainly the fastest, way to get started.
For those of you who have a business model that is scalable into the
9-figure range, with principals who have prior entrepreneurial success,
and/or businesses in the latest hot industry, VCs or angel groups may
be a viable option.
For the rest of you (who incidentally represent 99% of the people who
come through my office doors), serious consideration should be given
to finding a Joint Venture Partner or executing an "extended"
friends & family private offering-at least to give yourself enough
time to grow the business to a level where you can more seriously consider
one of the other two funding options.
One more thing. When I was single, I did not date tall women exclusively.
If a shorter woman came my way, I obviously would not turn her down
for a date! It is the same situation with pursuing a funding strategy.
Just because you focus your efforts on one funding strategy, like seeking
a Joint Venture partner, doesn't mean that if you meet a VC who offers
you an opportunity to pitch your story you should not take it! The point
is, you will ultimately have more success if you concentrate the majority
of your efforts on one focused strategy.
Remember, efforts directed towards looking for investment money will
be time spent away from doing what you do best: growing your business
and achieving your financial goals. You need to be both strategic and
realistic about it. The idea is to pursue the strategy where you will
have the greatest odds for success.
To receive your free copy of the Target Investor Inventory, a powerful
tool to help you rapidly discover potential investors within your professional
network, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Stephen T. Furnari
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