Last week I saw one of the best pitches for funding I’ve ever seen. Irene Rhodes is the founder/CEO of Consumer Fire Products, which provides proprietary wildfire protection systems that are, quite simply, amazing. I’ve known her for some time. She’s a USC alum, and I’ve had the pleasure of giving her advice along the way as she developed the business. So what did she do last week to hit it out of the park?... Read More
It’s always amazing to me that no matter how many times I advise entrepreneurs about their pitches to VCs and angels, they still think they have a better approach and that approach invariably includes spending far too much time on the problem and solution and practically no time on market validation and business model. It doesn’t matter whether the entrepreneur is given 5 minutes or 15 minutes, it happens time and time again, so much so, that by the second slide I can usually predict where things are going, and it’s not pretty.... Read More
Now before you dismiss the title of this blog as a joke, or worse, the ravings of an idiot, hear me out. It’s an unfortunate fact that many universities and for-profit businesses are perpetuating the myth that entrepreneurs have to create business plans before they start businesses. Potential entrepreneurs are spending up to 200 hours of their valuable time in pursuit of the perfect plan to present at a competition (don’t get me started on business plan competitions – I’ll save that for another post) or pitch to an investor, only to discover that investors are more impressed by a founding team that has gotten the business up and running, even in a minimal way, to prove the concept than they are by a nicely bound document.... Read More
Don't ask for investor money unless you're in business in a serious way. If you're going to ask investors to risk their hard-earned money, you'd better be worth the risk.... Read More
Peter and I seem to be on a funding streak lately with our recent posts, probably because so many people are asking for advice on how to fund their businesses in these difficult times. In the past week alone, I've been contacted by four entrepreneurs looking for money from me or my network. To a person, they all approached the issue in the wrong way.
I can't begin to tell you how many requests I get from people who are looking for someone to write their business plan. The request usually starts with something like "I've got this fantastic widget I've created that is going to change the world, but I need a business plan so I can pitch to venture capital, and i don't know anything about business."... Read More
The other day I sat in on an angel investor screening where two entrepreneurs were pitching their businesses for capital. If you ever get the opportunity to do that you should, because it’s a great learning experience. As many times as I’ve heard people pitch their businesses and as many times as I’ve coached people in their preparation to pitch, I always either learned something new or reminded myself of something I had forgotten. This session was an eye opener.