Q: Advice for founders who are having trouble raising more funding?
Someone asked me, “What advice do you have for founders who have raised some money but are having trouble raising more?”
Rock with people that are rocking with you. Allocate more time to investors who are a good fit for your business and want to be on this part of the journey with you. Every successful venture has followed a roadmap. Therefore, you also can expect to follow a roadmap.
Zappos’ initial prototype involved visiting local shoe stores to take pictures of shoes to post on their website. When someone purchased the shoe via their website, Zappos’ employees returned to the store to buy the shoe and then mailed it to the customer. There were no large distribution centers. No inventory to purchase or manage. No call centers. No enterprise web application. Simply a WordPress website and pictures of shoes. In Lean Startup, Eric Ries refers to this approach as concierge MVP, a method of evaluating a market using backend and manual activities that don’t require a fully developed product or service. What you see today on zappos.com required time and a roadmap.
When you communicate your traction (current state), big idea, and intended roadmap, some investors may “pass” on investment but ask you to pitch them again when you’re much further along. Sometimes receiving a “pass on investment” signals that they understand that executing your big idea will take many steps, and they don’t want to invest in this part of the journey. And that’s okay.
Get a quick “no.” Then, optimize your time for identifying people excited about you, your team, the vision, your current stage, and your intended next step(s). That is who you want on your team.
Apply to your business, your personal life, or where applicable.