How to convince investors (and yourself) of your funding worthiness
How to convince investors (and yourself) of your funding worthiness
9th February 2023
Author Ola Molade Transformation Coach, Gr8 New Me
Ola is a Transformational Coach and Speaker working with founders and leaders who aim to establish a legacy, whilst continuing to thrive from a physical and mental wellbeing perspective.
To successfully convince investors of your funding worthiness, you first need to convince yourself of your ability to succeed.
When looking to convince investors, the thought of asking for funds can often make you feel like a beggar. And when you start reaching out to investors, it can be difficult to find the strength to persist when so many investors are saying no.
Founders attempting to convince investors usually find themselves in one of these two positions:
#1 You need to convince investors to invest in your company so you can achieve your vision.
But you’ve been bootstrapping for months (or possibly years) and playing small is draining your energy…
For some reason, the fundraising plan never seems to make it off the starting blocks.
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.
#2 You’ve started trying to convince investors – however, almost every engagement sends you on a spin
Potential investors highlight aspects you had not considered previously and you scramble to address these before returning – weeks or months later – only to have yet another question, objection, or reason for producing additional work pointed out to you…
So the real question is… are circumstances conspiring against you? Perhaps you’re just not cut out to convince investors?
Or are there more deep-seated reasons you’ve been subconsciously avoiding, leading you to not pursue 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 a 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 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 be here now…
The only problem is, sometimes, the perceived 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? The fear of not being able to convince investors and therefore the inability for you to realise your vision?
Hanging onto the idea that you have to do everything yourself if you are to successfully convince investors, will certainly mean there is not enough time to achieve everything your business needs.
You really can’t 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?
You might find that you can move much quicker, and have more room in your brain for strategic thinking that would help you grow exponentially if you enlisted some help.
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’re able, so you can convince investors to invest in your startup and 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.
To convince investors, you need to change the narrative
There are 2 main reasons an entrepreneur would experience one (or more) of the blockers I’ve described above:
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 in your pursuit to convince investors.
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, therefore 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, projections and pitch?
If you are unsure, get objective support – a very good place to start is with the PitchReady Scorecard – and take a few moments to get a tailored investment readiness report. By answering a few questions (it takes less than 5 minutes) you’ll be scored 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.
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.
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 the results of conditioning and expectations that we grew up with.
Recognising the conditioning and beliefs that might be holding you back requires a very honest/objective examination of your 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
Can you convince investors? Yes, you can absolutely 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!!
I hope this article helps you on your journey of convincing investors to invest in your business and achieve the funding you require to realise your vision.
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