I get a lot of people coming to me for funding – some are fresh out of school, some have been around the block a few times!
Whether or not you get a yes for funding from me has absolutely nothing to do with your age. But, I see a lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs making the same mistakes. Are you guilty of any of the following…?
Can you sum up your business idea in one sentence? Could you explain it to a 5 year old? Can you quickly and simply explain your business plan? Or does it take half an hour of bullshit and waffling leaving your potential investor still none the wiser?
If you can’t define what it is that you do, you’ve got no hope of translating that to your potential customers.
Business is just solving problems for money. What problem are you trying to solve? If you’ve got thousands of great but wildly different ideas, or are trying to operate in too many different marketplaces, you’re going to lose focus and come unstuck.
I’m all for being passionate about your idea, but there comes a point when you need to shut up and listen to people who’ve been there and done it!
When you’re starting out, you might think your idea is the best thing since sliced bread. You’re going to be the one to shake things up! You’re going to do what’s never been done before! You’re motivated! You’re amazing! Me me me!
It might all be true, but unless you’re willing to learn and accept advice from more experienced businesspeople, you’ll probably end up cocking up at some point.
Being willing to listen, take advice and constantly be learning is something every investor is going to be looking for. No-one wants to work with an arrogant prick – so don’t be that guy!
We get it, you think your idea’s going to make you rich! But every experienced investor is going to spot a mile off if your numbers are just fantasy bullshit! Think you’re going to be turning over £20million by year two when you’ve not yet sold a single product?! Get real.
It’s so vital to have a handle on your numbers, so DO YOUR HOMEWORK.
Behind the scenes: Here’s a peek at what I’m looking for when entrepreneurs come to me for funding
There will come a point as your business grows that you HAVE to delegate. The mistake a lot of inexperienced people is to leave this point too late in the game!
When your business is small, it can be easy to feel like there’s no slack in the system to outsource certain tasks, but this is shortsighted.
Building a sustainable business means that at some point you’re going to have to hire people. If you want to lead, you can’t be someone who clings on to every single little task. A good founder will get the right people and team in place early on, so that everyone is invested in building the business together.
If you’ve had a great business idea, had a bit of success selling, you can quite quickly fall into the trap of thinking that you’re brilliant and that everything is going to be plain sailing.
These are the people who end up failing – they’re not prepared, and able, to deal with the setbacks that every entrepreneur will face at some point.
Maybe you get turned down for your first round of funding. Maybe a competitor enters your marketplace and takes half your business overnight. Or some vital bit of legislation changes, affecting your market. There’s a million and one setbacks that you have to be able to deal with as an entrepreneur, and thinking that it’s not going to be hard is a mistake.
It’s going to take hard work, sacrifice and relentless positivity to make your business work. There’s no such thing as overnight success!!
Find out more about what it takes to be a successful startup entrepreneur on my YouTube Channel. There’s a ton of interviews with brilliant business leaders and celebrities, and tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way too.
And if you’re a business owner looking for funding to grow – get in touch!