When I walked into his office, his head lay on his desk. I felt bad for him he had it all on the line. He had mortgaged his home again, spent to his last dime, and our first week fundraising effort yielded no-results. This depressed man, temporarily defeated, was my co-founder and business partner. I also felt affected; in business, I don't do doom and gloom very well. We weren’t raising a lot of money-about a million on high-quality assets. The science made absolute sense and the math, even better. The reward waited-out there-but could we muster the daring?
Here we were- I could sense his discouragement. The room-literally saturated with disappointment. Once, it was said that the faint heart never won a fair maiden, or for that matter a fair investor. "I just can't do this, I can't ask people for money", he cried. And you know he was right. My business partner displayed a natural charisma in one-on-one settings, and yet he faltered when speaking to groups.
What were we to do? I've heard that dogs can sense fear. The same is true for investors. Thankfully, the other person in our office, our CFO and controller, had a delightful and willing spirit. Together we were able to convince my depressed partner to take a two-week holiday with his family. This would give us time to push forward with our equity raise - minus him. After all, money never sleeps, and this was a great investment. Like any full-blood magician I believed in our project.
With Mr. Disappointment out-of-the-way, with renewed vigour we launched our offense. Our CFO and I worked the phones sun-up to well past sun-down. Our investor list was long. We booked and gave breakfast-coffee-lunch-coffee-supper-evening meetings. Talking to anyone that would listen we both nearly lost our voices. It wasn’t long before we acquired allies; a local lawyer invested, then a local accountant. They both joined our team and helped us promote our investment product to their friends and family.
It was the best of time and we had fun.
At the end of the two weeks my friend and partner returned from holidays, we had sold out the entire million dollar raise. I'm sure you can imagine the look on his face when we told him the news. I'm sure Lazarus awakening from the dead couldn't have looked happier.
That was the birth of the company and eventually we would morph it into a well-respected oil and gas Canadian Corporation. As founders and managers we took that corporation from zero to $180 million dollars in value. Eventually our company was bought out and the resulting entity grew on past $4 billion in value.
In retrospect, what if a down moment and depressive thoughts killed our entrepreneurial spirit? We have all been there-sad thoughts sap your energy. Here are five things to remember that can keep you gunning for the winners circle while equity financing:
1) Money never sleeps.
Even in a recession, the size of the global economy is absolutely massive. There are always and I emphasize, ALWAYS people looking to invest in your opportunity. Your job is simply to get in front of as many potential investors as possible. Think of it as a ratio of conversion-i.e. for every 100 people you talk to 1 of them will invest.
2) Use respected community leaders to help you succeed.
Ally yourself to respected local lawyers and accountants and others in your community. Accountants know money, they know who's been successful in the year and who wants to and is able to afford investing. They also are familiar with the risk tolerance of their customers and can save you a lot of time directing you to people that match the risk of your offering. Many large Canadian accounting firms, for a fee, will actually set up meetings with their clients, in their offices. That system works spectacularly.
3) Work hard. Then relax.
High-energy campaigns take loads of effort and they drain your energy. However, campaigns will end given enough time. By making a mental note or even booking a holiday at a future date gives you a goal to work towards. It will inspire your efforts now, to do the best possible to reach your reward. Many well-run companies incentivize rewards automatically to their promoters.
4) Take full advantage of technology
Financial planners and the like say that they are able to get in front of about 400 customers every quarter. Anything more than 400 pretty well exceeds their capability, as an individual, using limited tech. By utilizing technology you can easily contact 400,000 people or more, daily-that's a thousand times larger an audience. In effect, with technological tools you can become a super human in comparison to individuals working 20 years ago.
5) Remove negative, accentuate the positive
Ditch negative people; they weigh down the corporation. People want to invest in exciting opportunities with enthusiastic leaders. The respective author Earl Nightingale said "our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us." With a happy and positive spirit we are able to transform ourselves, our lives, and the lives of those around us.
I remember all my companies fondly. I absolutely love the start-up phase of company growth. From the fruit of a positive spirit, I've harvested much satisfaction. In fact, currently I'm involved in another venture - Coco Liso Exploration. With robust earth science, we uncovered valuable gem, gold and silver deposits. We are currently raising a million dollars in equity to get our commodities from mine to market. I positively and empathetically invite you to join us in the fun! Follow us or get in touch to learn more about our adventure in the amazon.