Having a great idea is not enough to get millions of dollars of funding, or even any money at all. An idea is just a start.
Creating a plan, including a business plan, financial projections, marketing research and feasibility studies involves money, time and energy.
The effort of making that plan available to potential investors requires even more funds. Throwing it out on free platforms will not do the trick. It’s too busy there. Quality investors don’t have the time to roam all these solicitations. Actually, they don’t have time for any solicitations at all.
An investor or funding source needs to be approached professionally. By introduction or recommendation for example, or with a well crafted message. Find websites where investors look for funding opportunities, go to business plan contests, attend investing conferences.
Once the plan gets into the hands of an investor, and the investor shows interest, the end is not in sight yet. This is just the beginning. Before the funding source digs in its pockets to provide funds for you, it needs to check your funding proposal.
The questions are:
Who is this person? What is their experience? Have they done business before?
What kind of qualified team will execute this plan? What are their credentials?
Are the numbers and projections quoted realistic?
Are the facts stated in the plan true?
What are the risks involved, what will you do to mitigate the risks?
How will I get my money back, what kind of exit is possible? How long will it take?
What is the potential profit in this venture?
What is the competition like?
The funding seeker will have to answer these questions. The way he or she formulates these replies tells the investor a lot. Replies that are to the point, with quality information and complete documents are necessary.
In order to verify all of this information, the funding source will have to examine the project. This is called due diligence. There will be all kinds of expenses:
Funding sources will not pick up all of these expenses anymore, things have changed in the financial world. Investment banks and venture capital firms are well paid professions. They don’t work for free. They do charge hefty fees.
Loan originators may be a bit more lenient and add on points to the settlement date of the loan, however, they need to do their homework. They are not banks who have you or the public in general as a customer. They want to be paid for their day-to-day routine. No matter what the outcome is of their time and energy invested in your proposal, they need to be paid.
Conclusion: in order to raise funds, you need some money. You need a budget to find funding. Use savings, partners, a small loan, or ideally, get started with your business. Start small, prove that it works and that it is profitable. It will buy you a lot of goodwill from your funding sources.
An afterthought: A great way to raise funds is to issue your own securities. It’s like turning the tables in the funding process. You’re the one in charge, setting the conditions. This prevents mistakes in the compliance process for raising capital with the public. The JOBS Act has relaxed the rules for fundraising.
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