I have already contacted majority of my contacts that could possibly write a check for my first infusion of cash. I have received some compliments and a ton of constructive criticism (e.g. unsolicited advice), but no cash … yet. Since I have the patience of a colicky toddler with a wet diaper, I have started approaching my second group of potential funding sources — centers of influence. Centers of influence are people that know people who can write me a check. Time to activate the network. And what happened? Nothing … yet.
I am typically receiving three types of responses from my fundraising inquiries:
1. No – (rarely)
2. I need more information – (sometimes)
3. (…) – (the vast majority)
Every salesperson knows what (…) is. It is the non-responders. The ones that seem like they totally get you, are totally interested, and then … nothing. Your point of contact goes dark. Are they interested, not interested, skiing in the Alps, in prison? You may never know.
There is one other response I need to add. This is the “accidentally included on an internal email” response. It goes something like this:
My center of influence’s email to his colleague in response to my request for help with raising funds:
“Have you worked with Ren or used his company?”
His colleague’s response:
“No. I have met him several times and wonder whether he is for real or not.”
The colleague quickly apologized; however, the damage has been done. Not really. I am hoping this guy will now help me out of guilt.
The nice thing about this venture is that the valuation will likely go up (sometimes significantly) as we hit our benchmarks. Meaning we have created an outline and timeline of objectives (i.e. benchmarks) that need to be accomplished in order to achieve the goals outlined in our business plan within the targeted timeframe. The more benchmarks we meet (especially on time), the closer we are to achieving our goal. Logic dictates that the value of this entity also rises as we come closer to achieving our goal. And finally, the further along we get the less likely we will need funding. We are fortunate that raising funds is not a necessity. Cash would simply be an accelerator.
The way I see it is this. We only need to convince one company or person that this new company will revolutionize the professional services industry with or wothout the proper backing. And, the nice thing about (…), it’s not a no. We have a lot of (…). Stay tuned.