By: James Kashmer (Visit James’ LinkedIn Profile here.)
Why Would Anyone Invest In My Idea Or Me?
If you already have a track record of commercial success you can do pretty much anything you want and command terms that will make you happy that you were born (or live) in the good ole USA!!!!
Short of proven commercial success, if you are a surgeon and are considered a leader among your peers, most likely you also can do pretty much anything you want under very favorable terms.
The point I am making is that investors look to minimize risk, and the lower your credentials are on the “food chain” the harder it will be for you to get them to invest in your idea. So, unless you have significant credible endorsements that are also early investors, recognize that raising money will be difficult.
How Comfortable Am I With The Information That I Have?
Everyone makes assumptions in their plans. It is important to remember these “assumptions” at some point need to be replaced by “facts”. The sooner that this can be done the better so that you (and investors) can attempt to quantify and minimize risk going forward. Even though it is well known that some startup companies have successfully “pivoted” to avoid extinction, I think they all would agree that firming up your business plan “assumptions” sooner rather than later is the way to go. This idea of rapidly and progressively eliminating unknowns is part of the modern technique of the lean startup.
What Are My Options?
I am in the business of developing “options” and have been for the last 20 plus years. Sad to say: it’s tough to do anything of consequence out there, and it’s getting tougher all the time.
For those of you who do not already have a track record of commercial success, if you have an idea or patent that is applicable to many markets consider licensing your IP to a company that already dominates a particular segment and don’t be a “hog” about it!!! (Borrowed from the expression “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered”.)
Another option is to try to go as far as you can on the “cheap”. By this I mean do your homework to eliminate as many unknowns (and risk) as you can BEFORE approaching potential investors (or licensees). With the ability today to produce mockups and even working models (prototypes) using 3D Printing, never has it been so easy to go so far on so little.
Until next time: keep on developing your ideas, and get in touch with any questions or comments!