First, You Have To Believe It

rachael-head-shot.jpgThis summer I met Start Up Princess/ Fairy Godmother Rachael Herrscher, co-founder of Today’s Mama via friends at Funding Universe. She has been a friend, inspiration and Fairy Godmother in many ways as I’ve considered how to get funding for sweet & charming. I asked her to write about her experience and success for all of us.

She writes:

Many entrepreneurs have asked me for advice about seeking funding for their business. I am by no means a professional — I have obtained funding for 1 (one) company – there is no art or science to it. I simply believe that when you’re ready it comes – but getting ready takes a lot of work.

I can’t really sum up the entire experience in one post, but I will start with what I believe is the most important: Investors invest in PEOPLE, not businesses. Investors are looking for the right leader, the right management team, and the right passion to run a company even more than they are looking for the patent that guarantees the next big thing. Do you know that Hewlett Packard started before there was even a company concept? It was just a couple of guys sitting in a room who formed an organization to do . . . something. The only thing they knew is that they believed they were the right team to do it.

For many of you out there, you’ve written the business plan, you’ve launched the website, you’ve got the prototype, you’ve been operating for a little while now and you’ve got a track record – but . . . Do you believe in yourself? Are you dynamic? Are you ready to let the whole world know how capable you are? (and then back that up)?

If you believe it – DON’T HESTITATE! I would literally stop people in the grocery store that I hadn’t seen for years – when they asked me what I was up to I would without hesitation tell them about my blossoming business and the success we were encountering and the large scale growth we were pursuing . . . and then I would very non-chalantly mention that if they knew any fabulous angels or investors out there in the world to pass along my name. Don’t miss an opportunity to ask someone for help. In general, I believe that as human beings we like to help each other. In the same way that you need to tell your customers how you’d like them to respond to your message (i.e. visit my website, by my product at Costco today, use your coupon) you need to tell people in your life what you need. I’m not speaking in selfish terms. Often times I think we expect others to read our minds, or pick up subliminal cues as to what we might need. Ask for it. Ask for a referral. Ask for some advice. ASK!

The trick to this is that to get people to respond to your request, they have to believe you! Even trickier they will know if you don’t believe it. People (especially investors) sense if you are insecure, entitled, angry, afraid. I hear a lot of people make excuses for rejection – “they just don’t get it!” “It’s because I’m a woman!” “They never gave me a chance!” Take a step back, have a good chat with yourself, convert yourself to your product, your cause, your company, yourself – – – and start again!

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