After living hand-to-mouth for several months, the Entrepreneur envisioned a day where his financial woes would be over. Food would be plentiful. Shelter would be secure. All the resources necessary to grow his company would be at hand. He felt that it was time to go before the Elders and ask for an unlimited, guaranteed supply of cash to spend in any way he chose.
In my line of business, I have entrepreneurs who come to me and ask for advice about raising Venture Capital. The problem is that they can’t answer the most basic question standing in their way: “What to you want to do with your company five years from now”. If you’re not willing to sell the company, cede control, and otherwise “cash out” of your enteprise, then venture capital is not an option. If your goal is to grow a nice “lifestyle” company, then grow it on cash flows. If your desire is to create a company that you can pass on to your oldest child, then invest your life savings and take out loans to cover your (financial) shortfalls. Never, ever, approach a venture capitalist for money under these conditions.
If you want to take your company to the level where it dominates a sector, is attractive to acquisition by a larger player in the market, or is set to IPO (an unlikely result and a topic for another posting)… then, by all means, get your company ready for venture capital.
Your source of funding will dictate a few things… (more…)
And so it came it to pass that Elders came forward and asked the Entrepreneur to share the good news about the Company in their presence. The Elders set the time and place. The Entrepreneur did not panic, but began diligently preparing his thoughts.
It’s pretty exciting to have a potential investor express interest in your company. It’s both intoxicating and scary at the same time. But, once that moment comes it is time to get busy. The problem usually is that you shouldn’t stop pursuing new customers, nor put anything else on hold. Your family still needs attention. Your employees, if any, need attention too. You *might* consider canceling some social engagements. But, most likely you’ll go without sleep.
The important thing to understand is the structure of your pitch and matching it to your audience. Clearly, a presentation prepared to sell the company’s product is different than a presentation to pursue an equity investment.
more coming soon…
Rather than first creating a narrative, the PowerPoint Wizard was summoned. This Wizard recommended following a Template, replete with its bullets and title slides. 30 minutes later, the Entrepreneur had fashioned a Pitch in the image envisioned by a few dozen Microsoft programmers.Or, the Entrepreneur dusted off an old presentation and shuttled a few things around to make it up quickly.
I sat with an entrepreneur yesterday afternoon who was quite proud of his PowerPoint presentation. He had asked me for 15 minutes of my time to help him with a financial projections slide/graph. Not one to keep my mouth shut, I asked him to go through the whole presentation first.
Dutifully, he started with the infamous “Title Slide”. It had the obligatory name of his company, his name and title. He even used animation to reveal his elevator pitch, written in large fonts for the audience to read. The problem is that if he’s going to SAY the words, why show them on the screen? I proposed a different approach. (more…)
In the beginning, there was an Idea. A simple, basic Idea. And it was good.
And so the saga begins. This is my story about an individual who wants to make a company out of an idea and where he might end up. For the sake of this blog, I’m going to be bouncing around as the topics present themselves in the course of my consulting business and working with various entrepreneurs here in my backyard.