Fundraising is a skill set, but it is not one that is typically taught in classrooms or business accelerators. It’s no wonder that it is often the No. 1 issue for businesses, and doubly so for cannabis businesses. Here are a few tips–from someone who has codified a methodology used successfully by both founders and fund managers to raise anything from $300,000 to $300 million–on how to raise money.
1. Challenge and Invert the False Power Dynamic
Fundraising starts in your head. In order to do it efficiently, you need to be in the right mindset and operating with an appropriate set of assumptions. If you are not one of a tiny percentage of people who feel fundamentally entitled to ask for and receive money, you are probably stuck in an unhelpful framework that assumes investors are busier, more prized, more important and ultimately more valuable than you and your offering. Founders who believe this suffer everything from anxiety, inhibition, self-consciousness and fear in relation to asking for money. They also fail to do the critical job of recognizing that early-stage investors need to be educated and nurtured into feeling comfortable investing. Check in on, and challenge, any feelings that would put you on an unequal footing with investors. Recognize and treat them as customers to your business with the product being equity in your company or a significant return on their investments. Replace solicitousness, chasing and sucking-up in general with direct professional communications, and establish boundaries that appropriately value your time and your business.
2. Schedule, Structure, Process and Boundaries
You must be the leader of your own financial raise campaign and present investors with an invitation to participate in the defined process you have for executing it. This process should include a schedule, a framework for sharing your investor package that keeps you in total control of that information, as well as a communications strategy that keeps all interested investors updated in a group format that will save you a ton of time, and keep you in line with securities law around like disclosures to all investors in due diligence.
3. Find Your People
Fundraising should never become an exercise in trying to convince someone of your value. You will pitch to a lot of people, and some of them will resonate naturally with you and your offering. Those are the people you need to invite into your process as you quickly cycle through and move on from anyone who does not meet that criteria. Building a smaller group of like-minded, value-aligned investors around your business and then working closely with them through a structured process is an extremely efficient way to raise capital and a great way to build a resilient capital network around your company that will serve you now and as you move forward with your plan.