Consider four potential investments crossing my path over the past few weeks:
- A start-up offering equity to a visionary programmer;
- A world-class photographer seeking $100,000 for a long-term Smithsonian Institution exhibit;
- A local manufacturer selling $1 million equity position for what could easily become a national brand;
- A disruptive software app needing $2 million to overturn a multi-billion dollar global industry.
Regular readers know I’m raising $10 million to get my hat-shaped balloon float into the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. So even though I found these all to be fascinating opportunities, the fact is I’m not exactly in a position to invest in any of these ventures right now.
Still, I was intrigued that all four cases had one commonality: primarily relying on word-of-mouth to market themselves.
In each instance, the principal had no written strategy for securing the funding and reaching the objective. All four have the dubious claim to fame of informal strategizing leading to seat-of-the-pants implementation and slapdash results.
And, to nobody’s great surprise, none of these situations has yet moved forward significantly, despite them all having a huge potential return on investment.
Odds are excellent that your business also lacks a formal plan for building on your previous success and creating a small fortune.
Because over my career I’ve observed that the organizations most needing business planning are the least likely to have it in place.
Meaning whatever you’re selling, make sure you have a current business plan before you make another move. Analyze what you’re marketing and to whom, what the competition is doing right that you can emulate, and what mistakes you must discontinue.
This exercise should include reviewing staff, pricing, location, order fulfillment, customer relations, financing…the works. It must realistically report strengths, weaknesses, potential partnerships, and your eventual exit strategy.
And if you’re seeking equity investors, don’t give away too much, or offer too little. It’s a delicate balance.
Thinking through the details before the heat of battle lets you prepare answers for questions you’re sure to get.
Translation: Investors will instantly know you have your act together, and be more likely to want to associate themselves with you.
With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.
Ask about these opportunities at www.askmrmarketing.com.