It takes money to make money, and finding people willing to invest their hard-earned dollars into your startup or venture isn’t always easy. Raising money can be challenging and often downright dejecting, but it can also be inspiring and lead to significant progress within your company.
Whether you are a “garage” startup or a fully-funded company seeking another round of investment, there are always trials and tribulations that come about when raising money. In the process of raising $500,000 in 15 days for our startup Alumnify, I found several strategies that kept our vision clear and our team focused. Raising money is often a simple task, but no one said that simple was going to be easy.
Always Be Hustling
Demonstrating that you “hustle” or have a strong work ethic builds trust with potential investors and fellow peers. Furthermore, it allows you to tell a story that every investor will want to respect and listen to. Kanye West once said, “But for me to have the opportunity to stand in front of a bunch of executives and present myself, I had to hustle in my own way. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was that they didn’t get that. No joke, I’d leave meetings crying all the time.” Meeting with an investor could lead to a harsh wake-up call, but the more you hustle, the easier it becomes to take rejection and learn from failure.
At Alumnify, we knew it was imperative to get as many schools to sign up as possible to take a piece of the market share. I was tired of relying on warm leads or waiting for a friend who knew someone at a school to give me an introduction. We decided to just hit the phones and start cold-calling. Unfortunately, the first week, we got voicemail after voicemail. In another article, I explain how we decided to implement that strategy into our sales plan: we would start cold-calling at 5:45 a.m., because that time allowed us to get on the phone with prospects on the East Coast before they started their 9:30 a.m. meetings, which ultimately allowed us to sign up over 100 schools in five months. This is just one example of a compelling story that would catch the eye of any investor.
Eghosa Aihie is CEO at Athena Technologies, an agile mobile and web development agency for enterprises and startups.
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