Raising capital? This is what you need to sell
Your company is your product and the investor is your customer
Entrepreneurs know their single focus is their customer. And #1 priority in making a customer happy is to have the perfect product. Many founders are so product focused that they leave non-product tasks to other staff within the company. That head down mentality leads to some amazing outputs that can change the world.
But then you have to raise money…
To a product oriented founder, the prospect of having to divert attention away from your baby to focus on investors couldn’t be more of an ego hit. Yes, these people have money, and that’s important, but they aren’t the one’s using the product.
That’s the wrong mentality.
But most brilliant entrepreneurs (aren’t we all?) think that they hold all the cards.
The key to a successful capital raise is seeing the correlation between product customers and company customers (read: investors). They both have needs, wants, and desires, as well as a whole host of pre-conceived assumptions about your “product”. Each one is unique, and while they can be lumped into categories, no two ever look exactly the same. In both cases, each of these entities IS the customer. The difference is what you are selling.
All customers want 100% of their problems to be solved, but are generally willing to settle for less, as long as the price is right. The key for the founder ha to hit the high priority items first, and determine what line they can stop at without pissing off their customer too bad. As long as the solution set matches the value needed with a price that makes sense, its all good.
But most brilliant entrepreneurs (aren’t we all?) think that they hold all the cards. They have the brilliant idea. They see the future. And they know better than the customer when it comes to what the product should look like.
After all, Henry Ford didn’t make faster horses, did he?
Investors need to be coddled like any customer…perhaps more so. By tuning your business to meet their needs, wants, and desires you can skip many of the steps startups get stuck on.
From the founders perspective, things like valuation, amount of capital, and close date are very important terms. But to your customer (investor) those MAY NOT be the top priority items. Depending on the customer profile and market conditions, things like liquidity or access to cash flows MAY be higher up their priority list.
An entrepreneur who sees their company as a product and the investor as the customer understands that it is their job to pull apart the web of possibilities and align their company with the top priorities of this they seek to partner with. When you stop seeing raising capital as a task and re-frame it as an enjoyable product-focused journey, you’ll have much greater success.
After that, so long as the price is right, its all easy 😀