To do, or not to do...
Fundraising dos, don’ts and top tips
Fundraising is something you have to grit your teeth and get on with.
So if you’re about to plan your fundraising journey, here are four top tips to make the process as pain-free as possible.
Tip 1: Build a good business
The easiest way to get funding? Build a business that investors will be falling over themselves to be a part of.
VCs often have a set of secret red flags that will tell them if your startup is likely to fail. Some of the warning signs that your business is likely to crash and burn include:
Your overheads are too high
You rely more on paid advertising than organic means of growth
You claim you have no competition
You don’t have enough experience
You have another job – nobody likes a part-time founder
If you think you have any significant weaknesses, get them sorted before you start pitching for money.
And of course, it goes without saying, don’t get so distracted by fundraising that you forget to look after your company.
Tip 2: Create and deliver a good pitch deck
I’ve seen a lot of great pitch decks in my time. I’ve also seen a lot of bad ones. While death by PowerPoint may not be a real thing, boredom by PowerPoint definitely is.
A solid, well-thought-out pitch deck can be the difference between getting that all-important meeting and getting a hard pass.
I won’t go into too much detail here, but if you want to know more, I’ve put together several playbooks about managing the pitch deck creation process.
Pitch deck creation – why a pitch deck is so important and how to get started
Pitch deck elements – what slides you need to include (the answer is less than you think)
Pitch deck design – how to create a pitch deck that’s as exquisite as it is engaging
Pitch deck content – what information to include, and what to leave out
Pitch deck charts – how to showcase your data without sending your audience to sleep
Pitch deck narrative – how to tell a story that will keep your investor hanging on your every word
Pitch deck positioning – how to bring all those little bits of marketing together to make your pitch deck sizzle
Pitch deck delivery – how to present your deck to an audience without bursting into tears
There is a definite skill to writing pitch decks, but once you know the basics, you’ll be one step closer to getting that investment.
Tip 3: Trust the process
Fundraising is always a lot harder than you think it will be. You need to start early, a lot of people will need to get involved, and you’ll likely be working 15-hour days for several months.
Sleep? Pfft. What’s that?
However, the more flexible and focused you can be, the better.
Whether you’re new to the fundraising game or need an extra boost to get you through, here are some handy pointers.
Fundraising landscape and myths – why the fundraising process is probably not what you thought it was
Fundraising campaign management – what to expect from the process, and what to do if things go wrong
Fundraising VC target list build – how to find the right VCs to work with
Fundraising pipeline CRM – how to stay organised when everything is getting chaotic
Fundraising outreach – how to network and get those all-important VC contact details
Fundraising VC feedback – what VCs say (and what they really mean)
Fundraising due diligence – what to expect when you’re at the end of the process
Fundraising negotiation – how to get a deal that will give you the edge
Keep your communication channels open, delegate tasks to your team and get a good lawyer with experience in negotiation.
And remember… if you end any discussion with friends by saying, ‘let’s take this offline,’ it might be a sign that you need to take a break from fundraising. Just for a little bit.
Tip 4: Build an investible business case
Step one: Write a business case
Step two: Follow the business case
Step three: Success
In my experience, the scaleups that don’t have a good business case in place don’t get very far.
A business case will help you understand how much money you need from the get-go.
Not sure where to start. Don’t worry, I’ve got you:
Investment rounds and readiness – what stage of the fundraising process are you at, and what criteria are investors looking for?
Top-down investment case – need to focus on the ‘what if’ instead of the ‘how’? This premium playbook will guide the way
Bottom-up investment case – more dedicated to the details? Check out this premium playbook guide
Investment valuation – how do you accurately determine how much your scaleup is worth? Find the answer in this premium playbook
Whew, we’ve covered a lot of ground here.
Check out the links above for more information, and if you need any additional support or coaching, I’m here to help.