Are you at the point where you are wondering how to run a good fundraising process?
How you approach and run your fundraising rounds can make a substantial difference in how smooth and enjoyable the process is, or not. Not to mention whether you actually hit the capital goals you’ve set, and on terms which will set you up for success. So, how can the founders run better campaigns?
Fundraising: It’s A Process
Raising a round of capital for a startup is not a matter of just sticking your hand up or filling out an application. It’s a process. Respect it.
There are multiple parts of this, including:
- Research using Google as your best friend
- Getting advice and learning
- Creating the materials and organizing your documents and data
- Building relationships
- Testing the waters
- Closing the round
- Fulfilling your promises and preparing for the next round
You can’t skip the steps.
It’s A Long Process: Start Early
When thinking about how to run a good fundraising process, keep in mind that in the best-case scenario the active campaigning part of your next round maybe only run a couple of weeks or a couple of months. However, even beginning at the stage of preparing your materials and building relationships, this can take months.
Ideally, you’ll be nurturing investor relationships at least a year in advance. This not only makes it easier to close the round, fully subscribed and on better terms but makes it efficient, delivers a better return on your time and ensures you are allowing in investors and board members who will be great to work with and will help you succeed and realize your big vision.
Get a head start today. As soon as you close this round, be preparing for the next.
There Are No Guaranteed Results
When evaluating how to run a good fundraising process, note that fundraising can require significant time, energy, and monetary investment. All without any guarantees of getting the money as expected. This isn’t really any different from any other part of launching a business as an entrepreneur.
However, if you are willing to truly be open-minded and learn and be coachable and adapt to do what is necessary to get funded, you can find a way through. A big part of this is being flexible on how you get to your vision. If the markets really throw you a curveball, you may even have to consider other methods of financing to get the job done.
It Can Be A Grueling Process
The fundraising process is what you make it and how you choose to perceive it. Still, it can be grueling. Especially if you haven’t mentally prepared yourself for what could lay ahead.
For some, money does come quickly and easily. Just expect that to be more the exception than the norm. For most, even the most successful founders who raise hundreds of millions of dollars and exit for $1B, the fundraising process could mean facing 400 turn downs from investors, and plenty of meetings ending in negative feedback.
This doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s all about how you position it in your mind.
Schedule Plenty Of Time For The Process
Remember when considering how to run a good fundraising process, that not only can fundraising rounds take a while to close, but they can also take up a lot of your daily time when you are actively running a process.
During early rounds, you may spend 50% of your working time on fundraising. At the very beginning, all of your focus may be on getting the funds. This burden should lessen through later rounds, as will your time spent hands-on in many roles. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time for this on your schedule, or you will be extra stressed.
Have A Great Pitch Deck
A great pitch deck is going to be one of the best tools in your chest for running a good fundraising process.
In fact, not much else may matter much without a great pitch deck and pitch. Yet, presented well, even a mediocre startup idea can be highly funded, and in turn, with the right investors can become an amazing success.
Remember that storytelling plays a key role in fundraising and you will need capital to scale things up. This is being able to capture the essence of the business in 15 to 20 slides. For a winning deck, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
ACCESS THE PITCH DECK TEMPLATE
Surround Yourself With Great Advisors
Whether you call them coaches, consultants, experts, or advisors, you’ll need them. Even the best raw talent in anything requires an experienced second set of eyes to really bring out their best potential. Consult an advisor and find out these things that you don’t know you don’t know, and get the real deal on the current fundraising landscape and what it takes to win in it.
Depending on what stage your startup is raising for this may be fundraising consultants, marketing experts, bankers, or M&A advisors.
Connect With Connectors
This is a super important point when you are thinking about how to run a good fundraising process. If facing hundreds of investor rejections, burning months flying to failed meetings, and waiting another year to get the money while you build relationships isn’t attractive to you, connect with more connectors.
Find and connect with those who can make warm introductions and recommendations to the best fitting investors, and dramatically shorten the timeline and amount of rejection you’ll face.
Below is a video where I cover how to find investors and the importance of their networks which directly relates to this point about connectors.
Invest in learning all you can about fundraising. Even if you can delegate most of the process to others, you are still wise to educate yourself and appear knowledgeable and be able to speak the lingo. You need to know the most current information and how to run a good process in the current landscape while being able to negotiate the best terms, and not get taken for a newbie.
Check out this fundraising training to get a head start.