I was at a great event last week called Food Funded. Kate Danaher of RSF Social Finance was speaking on a panel and said that she meets too many entrepreneurs who tell her that they have certain goals for their business but they have already raised money from investors in a way that is completely inconsistent with their goals.
A few years ago, I started telling entrepreneurs that they need to raise the Right Money from the Right Investors because I was seeing something similar to what Kate was talking about.
The Right Money means that the type of investment you are offering is designed so that your investors‘ interests and expectations are aligned with yours. For example, if you offer equity and never plan to pay any dividends, your investors are likely to expect you to sell the business as quickly as possible so they can get paid. If you don’t want to be pressured to sell the business before you’re ready, you should offer something different!
The Right Investors means that your investors share your goals and values, as well as your vision for the future of your business. They won’t pressure you to take things in a direction that doesn’t feel right to you.
Unfortunately, there are still far too many entrepreneurs that (usually inadvertently) take on the wrong money from the wrong investors.
If you are thinking about raising money for your business, I would love to talk to you about your strategy. My Women Raising the Right Money from the Right Investors mastermind program summer cohort is starting soon. If you’d like to learn more, click here.
Here is an exercise we recommend in order to make sure you get your fundraising done within a reasonable amount of time.
1. Imagine you have reached your fundraising goal. You are looking at the list of all your investors and how much each one invested. What is the lowest amount that someone invested and what is the highest amount? Try to create a clear picture in your mind of your investor list and the amounts invested.
2. In your imagination, scan the list and estimate what the average investment size per investor is. For example, you may picture that you’ll have some people come in at $5,000, some at $10,000, a few at $25,000, maybe one or two at $50,000, and one at $100,000. In that case, you may estimate the average per investor to be $20,000. You can use this tool to decide how much you’ll ask for from each potential investor: http://www.jennykassan.com/blog/7-steps-for-making-the-big-ask/
3. Now, take the total amount you want to raise and divide it by the average per investor. That will tell you the approximate number of investors you’ll have when you reach your goal. So, if you want to raise $400,000, you’ll end up with around 20 investors.
4. Multiply that number by 10. That is the approximate number of potential investors you’ll need to talk to about your offering. (This assumes that an average of one out of ten people you talk to will say yes—you may do much better than that, but it’s best to be conservative). In our example, this would be 200.
5. Divide that number by the number of weeks you would like to devote to reaching your funding goal. This is the number of people you will contact per week about investing. So, if you’d like to reach your goal within six months, divide 200 by 26 weeks—you need to contact 7-8 people per week.
6. Assume that for each contact you’ll need to spend 30-60 minutes on average. Multiply the number of people you’ll talk to per week by the average number of minutes you think each contact will take. That is the total number of hours you should schedule into your calendar for contacting potential investors. Add at least half that many hours to give yourself time to follow up with people who haven’t yet given you a definitive answer. In the example above, I would assume eight hours per week plus another four for follow up—so a total of 12 hours per week should be spent contacting potential investors.
7. Now block out that time in your calendar for the number of weeks you gave yourself to reach your goal.
If you use this method, you’ll keep your momentum going and get that fundraising done before you know it!
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