Many entrepreneurs face this question. While there are a handful of celebrity entrepreneurs that have access to capital to launch their company (either through wealthy contacts or personal wealth), most startups struggle to obtain funding. For those bootstrapping entrepreneurs, this quick quiz helps you think about what you’ll need before you walking through the door of your first investor meeting. We begin with entrepreneur basics and gradually focus on gearing up for the investor meeting. Let’s see how you do:
- Have you reached out to mentors for feedback?
- Are your long-term goals more than, “I want to make money?”
- Have you met with more than your college buddies to discuss your business?
- Are you prepared to be the world’s best advocate for your business?
- Do you know what separates you from your top competitors?
- Do you have customer feedback?
- Have you calculated your startup costs for the short-term (next 6-12 months) and long-term (3-5 years)?
- Do you have a management team with the key skills to launch your business?
- Do you have paying customers?
- Do you have a business plan?
- Can you explain your business in 30 seconds?
- Do you know how you’re going to finance (either through debt or equity)?
- Do you know the value of your company?
- Have you secured your intellectual property and patents?
- Have you made a list of prospective investors?
- Are you contacts strong enough to lead you to financing?
- Are you prepared to make fundraising a full-time job?
- Do you know what is expected by a venture capitalist or angel investor?
- Do you know your investor presentation like the back of your hand?
- Have you generated some buzz about your company (maybe have publicity in the WSJ or BW)?
- Do you have a plan B?
- Do you have an exit strategy?
- Have you arranged an investor meeting yet?
Tally-up your yeses. Your final score determines your readiness to meet with an investor.
18-21: Show me the money
14-17: I can see dollar signs
10-13: Almost there
9 and below: Wow, I’m really not ready
Image by Tory Byrne from Stock.Xchng