Convincing investors (and yourself) of your funding worthiness

You always knew the company would require external funding to achieve your vision. You’ve been bootstrapping for months (or possibly years) and playing small is draining your energy… But for some reason, the fundraising plan never seems to make it off the starting blocks. 

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You’ve made some initial progress with the pitch deck, business plan, projections, etc… but every time you start working on it, some operational emergency grabs your attention/time, and it’s weeks or months before you get a chance to think about it again.

OR

You have engaged with investors – however almost every engagement sends you in a spin as potential investors highlight aspects you had not considered previously and you scramble to address before returning – weeks or months later, only to have yet another reason(?) for additional work pointed out to you…

So the real question is, are circumstances conspiring against you? 

Or are there more deep-seated reasons you’ve been subconsciously avoiding pursuing your funding plan with full commitment?


Procrastination and the fundraising founder

If you have been meaning to pursue your funding plans for some time and are not yet able to point to clear progress, you have definitely been procrastinating. 

Procrastination has been given such a bad rep. Some point to lack of discipline, others talk about laziness, yet more wonder about motivation.

I believe procrastination to be a sign. 

In my experience, the common factor I’ve found with all clients, once they realise they’ve been procrastinating, is that the procrastination has always been a (subconscious) strategy to avoid potential pain.

Pain (or threat) avoidance is the ingrained reaction of all humans to potentially dangerous situations. Without this self-preservation ability, none of us would not be here now…

The only problem is, sometimes, the percieved danger might not be as real as our subconscious has led us to believe.

What pain might you be subconsciously avoiding as a founder who is yet to progress their funding round? Potential rejection? Loss of independence? Loss of relationships? Loss (or change) of status?


Statistics and lies...

Statistics can tell quite a grim story.

… Fewer than 1% of entrepreneurs successfully closing their funding rounds
… Raising your first round will take six to 12 months

Listening to stories like this would certainly bring up “fear of rejection” or a sense of futility. However, how much of the stats points to the real story? How many of the entrepreneurs who got turned down were investable in the first place? How many of them had the resilience and attitude required and/or had put in the preparation needed and stay the course and cross the finish line?

Are you alarming yourself unnecessarily?


Independence - a strength or a weakness?

Founders typically are self-starters who are able to get things off the ground with little or no assistance. And this is a great strength, until it becomes a weakness…
 
Hanging onto the idea that you have to do everything yourself will certainly mean there is not enough time to achieve everything your business needs.
 
You really cannot run the business effectively whilst you’re busy preparing for or progressing your funding round. It’s not a sign of weakness to enlist help. It’s a sign of leadership and strategic thinking.
 
Are you the type of founder that feels they have to do everything themselves? Do you find it difficult to let others lead in their areas of expertise? Are you a perfectionist?


Speculating without investment?

For many founders, the crunch point comes when they look at the revenue they’ve been able to achieve thus far; compare this to the investment required to build further; and realise there’s a significant gap…
 
A serious pursuit of funding will always require an investment of time and money. 
 
Time to put into documenting your achievements, vision, strategy, etc. Time to develop and cultivate relationships, time to build a strong team around you… 
 
Money to attract the right team, money to work with advisers that will bring objectivity and challenge to your pitch…
 
Do you believe in your vision enough to close that initial investment gap in any way you are able, so you progress your vision?
 
Or are you content to tinker on the sidelines because something inside you is not quite sure your vision will really make it?
 
Perhaps it’s time to ask yourself where you really want to take the business and what you are prepared to do to achieve this…


Changing the narrative

 There are two main reasons an entrepreneur would experience one (or more) of the blockers described above:

1. current condition 
2. current conditioning 

Current condition

Somewhere inside, you remain unsure whether you are ready to work with investors, answer their questions, defend your previous decisions and future strategy… Somewhere inside you are waiting to achieve some form of perfection before you engage seriously.
 
The thing is perfection does not exist.
 
Irrespective of how much thinking and planning you do, no one has control over all aspects of the external world, therefor some aspect of the basis upon which that planning was based will change.
 
Investors are not interested in perfection – they are most definitely interested in adaptability and resilience.
 
Have you done your best to ensure you have a professional plan and pitch? 
 
If you are unsure, get objective support – a very good place to start is Robot Mascot – go there and take a few moments to get a tailored investment readiness report scoring you on your ability to raise investment and, while you’re at it, also get a free copy of the best-selling book Investible Entrepreneur which, if followed, can increase your odds of raising investment by 40x!

Current conditioning

Too many of us wrestle with beliefs which hold us back from acting even where we already have the abilities and track record to beat the competition hands down.

Beliefs around:

  • Impostor syndrome – that belief that everyone else knows what they’re doing except you…
  • Littleness – that sense that others (in this case investors) hold all the cards and you’re at their mercy…
  • Humbleness – that unspoken attitude about not tooting your own horn about your achievements…
  • Perfectionism – a feeling that only the absolute best can be released into the world (really a deep-rooted fear of rejection…)

Such beliefs are usually deep-seated and are results of conditioning and expectations that we grew up with.

Recognising the conditioning and beliefs that might be holding one back requires very honest/objective examination of one’s behaviours and the motives behind those behaviours.

It can be challenging, but not impossible, to confront and address unhelpful beliefs and mindsets. And the most effective tool for achieving this is Mindfulness.

Mindfulness has been described as the practice of purposely bringing one's attention to the present-moment experience without evaluation. 

Practising mindfulness is a tool that can help us: 

  • notice when we are repeating actions we had promised ourselves we would change
  • recognise triggers that make us fall into habits we know are not helpful to us
  • unravel the beliefs that lie beneath situations that make us feel stressed
  • address relationships that are draining our energy in an up-front manner

If you’d like to get a head start on practising mindfulness, you can download this very helpful practice guide.
 
Many people find that getting support in determining what to work on as part of their mindfulness practice requires support from an objective partner. If you’d like to explore what it might feel like to work with a coach to identify your blockers, you can book a complimentary session by clicking the 'email me' button below.


Yes, you can do this!

The fact that you came up with your idea and your vision for taking your business forward means you have something special to give to humankind.
 
Please don’t let anything get in the way of making this real.
 
You can do this – you just need to get rid of the obvious (and not so obvious) blockers that have held you back thus far. (Even the most successful people had their doubts and failures before they found visible success)
 
Accept help wherever it’s offered – you are not alone – I know of not even one successful entrepreneur that has worked completely on their own!


Want more?

I hope this article helps you on your journey towards achieving the funding your business requires.
 
If you’d like to talk through your goals and get some personalised support, get in touch below to book a complimentary conversation.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London SW1Y & NW9
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Written by Ola Molade, Business Coach MBA, MICF
London SW1Y & NW9

Ola works with female founders to help them create the life and business they want without compromise.
She combines her: previous experience as a business consultant, her life experience of running her own business, and her enjoyment of coaching, into a deep passion for seeing business owners / founders thrive and succeed.

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