A key aspect of establishing a business is fundraising. Since only few entrepreneurs may be lucky to get funds from family members, wealthy friends or from their own savings to set up their own businesses, majority of them will have to seek the help of outside investors to raise funds.
Before thinking of fundraising, there are several things an entrepreneur should do. Although the processes to consider before looking for investors may vary with the business location, sector, etc., they generally include the following:
This is usually a tedious task, as it requires one to think outside the box. The entrepreneur should look for a solution to the problems faced by consumers or businesses, and convert that solution into a service or product.
After having an idea, the next thing is to know the market you intend to operate in and start interacting with as many investors and partners as possible in the market. Apart from helping you raise funds and get customers, this step will help you to completely understand the market. The sooner you start making connections, the greater your chances of succeeding.
Everyone has some things that he/she is great at doing and, likewise, things that they know nothing about. Thus, as a founder, you need to create a team to help you enhance your idea and product. Your team should contain people that you trust as well as those whose skillset complements yours.
Having a great product idea doesn’t necessarily mean the product will turn out to be great. You need consumers’ feedback to ascertain this. To avoid wasting too much time on creating a product that no one can use, it is important to first produce a sample product for potential customers, as this will allow you know their needs. In this regard, the lean start-up approach can be of help to you.
Value-add programs, such as an incubator or accelerator, are highly beneficial and have different criteria for accepting new small-scale businesses into their programmes, which are often not in the interest of entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, these programmes usually give entrepreneurs access to mentorship, networks and, at times, funding. Besides, investors are willing to invest in start-ups that emerge from these programmes because of the relationship and trust they have in such programmes. It is important to note that you can still be a successful entrepreneur without necessarily going through an incubator/accelerator programme.
Investors will be willing to help fund your business when they see your service or product is being used, though this varies with each start-up. Gaining recognition or patronage can be in the form of page views, number of users, number of customers, etc. Investors may likely not pay attention to your business if there is no evidence that people are using your service or product.
It is advisable you get yourself prepared for the processes involved in raising funds. This often entails making preparation for a good pitch deck, arranging the necessary documents required for fundraising, deciding on the amount of money to raise (for this, aid yourself with a good financial model), and internally accepting the conditions attached to the raise. Major contracts, incorporation documents, audited financials and other documents are usually included in the documentation process.
After deciding on your proposed service or product, and money is the only problem stopping you from starting the business, it is right at this moment to meet investors for funding. It is not all investors who are willing to give you money that are suitable for your business. Thus, before going to investors for funding, you should find out about the types of businesses funded by such investors as well as how they can help your business.
– What you need to do before fundraising
– Overview of 10 investor types
– Mobile Lenders
– Accelerators & Incubators
– Angel Investor Networks
– Impact Investors
– Public Funds
– Venture Capital Funds
– Private Equity Funds
– Funding Cycles & Stages
– The Come-Up
– When to Fundraise
– Get Your Pitch Deck Ready
– V is for Valuation