Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.
I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!
Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.
This Week’s Must-Read:
Who it’s for:
Every early-stage founder
Why it’s important:
There is a romanticism about starting a business. Nobody actually thinks it is easy or effortless; however, Peter Gasca, author of this week’s read, believes that most feel it follows a preordained path described in countless books and videos that could be doing a lot of damage.
It goes like this:
- Have a great idea
- Raise money
- Grind and grow the business
- Land yourself on the next cover of Inc. ☺
Reality alert: It never goes this way… never. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs believe this is the only path and mistakenly end up stuck in the harsh realities of step two: the perceived importance of raising money.
Personal Note: I was in startup-mode over 20 years ago when the funding ecosystem and the notion of ‘raise funds or die’ did not exist. I often feel that being without this option as part of the ‘standard entrepreneurial playbook’ was a gift for maximizing success.
The truth is that when it comes to business ideas and startups, if you believe that your company cannot exist without money, then it probably will not exist with it. To bring some proof to this concept, consider these must-haves before you set out on a mission to raise money.
- Prototype: In the Netflix series, Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates, the thing to understand is that Gates did not raise millions of dollars for an idea that would become Microsoft. Instead, he (and Paul Allen) built the code that became Microsoft, slowly developing it over several years. It was only after actually having a product to demo that they started a company.
- Team: What do you do if you have a great idea but lack the capabilities to build it? You surround yourself with people who can. Your idea is worth nothing if it is sitting in your head, without a team to bring it to life. Instead of looking for money, devote your time to looking for capable co-founders.
- Clients: Today, startup investors seek traction, plain and simple. How are you going to get your first customer, your thousandth customer, and so on? It is much easier to convince an investor that your idea is viable if you already have customers. With customers in tow before you raise money, you will be much more equipped to put funds to work effectively. Or conversely, you may see the path to scale without raising capital.
- Plan B: Most entrepreneurs find themselves saying, “I can’t make any of this happen without money.” Maybe you are right, but if your Plan A depends on raising money, then you need to have a Plan B, in case you don’t get that money. Consider just skipping to Plan B.
Top Take-Away:Entrepreneurship is about figuring things out, and the painful truth is that if you truly believe in an idea, then you will eventually figure out how to get it done – with or without money. The ‘figuring it out’ is often a critical element for success. Don’t let getting stuck on Step 2 rob you of this.
A Few More Truths About Fundraising: