Reference: James B. Arkebauer, Venture Associates
Obtaining money for an entrepreneurial company is really pretty simple--it's just another sale. Your customer has something you want--their money. You have something they want, equity or a piece of the action of the potential growth of your enterprise.
The key, as in all sales, is to determine the right price and close the sale. To do that, you have to develop a financial marketing mindset. Just as you would prepare a marketing program to sell your product or service, you need to prepare a financial marketing program.
That means you prepare a business plan and develop and practice a verbal pitch, develop a marketing scheme, present the package, and close the sale. It takes intimate knowledge, unbounded enthusiasm, and a scuff-resistant ego.
Your business plan is going to show you how much money you will need, if it should be debt or equity, and at what stage or time period it's needed to accomplish what tasks.
By consulting with your peers, legal counsel, accountants and company consultant, you will have determined the most proper legal structure for your company as well as the proposed valuations. From this, you can then develop your financial marketing program which in turn will help you narrow in on the type of investor you will be seeking.
For seed and concept companies, this invariably means the entrepreneur starts with "family and friends" money, and then proceeds on to obtaining informal investor financing prior to attracting the interest of the more formal investors such as venture capital firms. It will be helpful if you understand the accepted "stages of growth" used by all financing sources.
Understanding the Stages of Entrepreneurial Development
Prior to delving into the details of entrepreneurial financing, it's helpful to establish an understanding of the traditional stages of development for entrepreneurial companies. These are: Seed or Concept, Startup, First, Second, Third, and Harvest....