Archives for posts with tag: Investment

You have this great business idea. You haven’t seen anything like it and you’re convinced you can make a success of your venture. The most pressing question, unless you happened to be prodigiously wealthy – so you already know how to get money and make more of it – is around financing the development and take-off of your idea.

You could bootstrap the business, running it on your own savings until it starts to ‘wash its own face’, but you might need more than you reckon on as these things always take longer than the best laid plans. You could go to friends and family and secure relatively small amounts from a relatively large number of people. At this point you might already need to start giving some of your company away in return for the investment, and by now you’re starting to think about the level of relationships you will have with these investors.

Those who don’t have access to their own funds or the funds of their nearest and dearest need to start playing the dating game with professional lenders, who might be high net worth individuals, institutions, state/semi-state bodies or private investment companies. It’s at this point that you need to develop an understanding of two things, very, very quickly. The first is how investment business and its clandestine terms work: seed this, A round that, mezzanine the other, and so on. The second, arguably even more important, is the type of investment partner you want to work with and who will be good for your business as it grows. Cultural fit is of paramount importance.

If you’re in the third camp, needing to start the dance with someone who lends and makes money for a living, then I can recommend this post for an excellent primer. There are some additional very good links within the post. I don’t know the guy at all, but he writes well and he seems to mean well too. Good luck!

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There’s an old adage that nothing happens in a company until somebody sells something. In fact, it’s also true of you, when you’re trying to sell yourself or your idea.

I do a bit of work as a mentor in the technology sector and so I come into contact with quite a few very early stage companies. In the tech sector in Ireland there is plenty of support, guidance and funding for building your software product. Once you’ve built your product, and you have to start selling it, in other words commercialising your idea, the funding is not so forthcoming.

This is a problem, because many of the people who have the idea for and develop their software product also have a lack of knowledge and confidence when it comes to selling it. Start-up companies can avail of a few meetings with sales and marketing mentors like me, but that’s nowhere near enough. They either need to start full-time selling themselves or else find the funds to get someone with the expertise to do their business development. They don’t have the money to do that, and the business development specialist is probably not going to work for free, or even equity, if they can’t see the promise of steady sales. Which brings it back to the fledgling business owners, who have to do the work themselves.

Start-ups have to start, but if they’re not capable of starting, then the money already invested in them, by them or others, is wasted. We need to train our entrepreneurs to sell, or else fund the sales expansion efforts and increase their chances of turning their idea into a functioning, growing business.