May 2017
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If Your Startup Needs Money, Don’t Be Bashful About Asking for It

Focus matters. So does practice.

Startups are risky business. Most of them go bust, either with a bang or a whimper. They tend to require huge amounts of work, a skilled team – and money.

Finding the money is often the hardest part. Founders are usually excited about their idea, but finding the money necessary to fund the effort seldom generates the same enthusiasm.

The reluctance is natural

The idea gets founders out of bed in the morning because it’s exciting. Building the business keeps them glued to their desks because it’s exciting and sometimes terrifying. They usually see asking for money, however, as a necessary evil – and it is hard.

It’s hard, because “Hi, my name is ____, and here’s why you should give me a million dollars”, is a hard line to pull off well. Founders usually feel in control of their product or company, because progress is the result of their work. They often feel powerless, however, when dealing with investors.

A lack of control does not equal a lack of influence

It is a mistake to believe that the investors hold all the cards, because both sides need each other. The investors need somewhere to put their money. Startups have the potential to turn that money into much more money.

The founders take big risks – personally, professionally, and financially – and most investors respect that. The investors worry, though, because once they commit their money, it’s out of their control.

Confidence matters – and so does practice

Founders are the rock stars of the equation. They are the talent, the people that are going to turn the investment into a success. Everyone else knows it, but sometimes the founders do not. Asking for money is not easy and founders need to be confident when asking for the money. Gaining that confidence takes practice.

Painful as they can be, the hours spent in front of the mirror rehearsing the pitch can be more important than the weeks spent creating the product. Practice can create the confidence – and the ability – to say the right words at the right time.

Believe

The enthusiasm needs practice too. After all, if you’re not excited about your product, why should an investor be excited? You can do worse than practice jumping up and down shouting “show me the money!” to get your groove going. If nothing else, it will help you get over feeling bashful.

Asking for money is hard. Practice makes it easier. Get to work.

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