At a recent conference for mission-driven businesses, I attended a panel on raising capital. One of the panelists was a woman who had started a very unusual business. She had raised capital from investors she loved on her own terms.
How did she do it? She said she spoke to about 400 investors before she found a good fit. It was time-consuming and disheartening at times, but throughout the whole process she did two things:
- she refused to pretend to be something that she wasn’t
- she refused to compromise on what was important to her.
She said that in a few meetings with investors, she tried to follow the advice that she received so often to present a slick pitch deck. But she just didn’t feel comfortable with that kind of presentation. She decided to ignore the advice and follow her gut instinct which told her to just show up and have a conversation. Those meetings were much more successful than the ones in which she tried to force herself into a model that wasn’t authentic to who she was.
Also, if she met an investor that she didn’t feel was a match in terms of values or personality, she moved on and didn’t waste her time.
By staying true to herself, she got through this very challenging process without losing her mind and raised the funds she needed from investors that were a great fit.
The lesson? Be yourself when raising capital. Just like with dating, it’s better to show your authentic self than to pretend you’re something you’re not. Not only will you be more likely to attract investors you’re happy with, the process will be easier and more Wintering enjoyable.
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