There is a glut of people who are dying to fund business plans. Especially now, as starting a business online becomes less and less expensive, people require less money from investors, so investors have to look harder for startups to fund.
The problem is that people only want to fund good business ideas. It’s very hard to tell if an idea is stupendous. But it is easy to tell if an idea is terrible. And it’s easy to tell if you are pitching your idea for a company in an incompetent way.
Of course, there are a lot of resources online to help you get started with a business plan and a pitch. Entrepreneur.com is full of great resources. Pamela Slim’s blog, Escape from Cubicle Nation is a great community for getting moral support to make the leap into entrepreneurship. And Guy Kawasaki has a classic list of ways to screw up your pitch.
To get funding, you need to know how much money you require to execute the business idea. If you need a lot of money you need to go to a venture capital firm. If you only need a little money (e.g. $50,000) you can go to an angel fund. Guy Kawasaki lists ways you can get to a venture capitalist, and Paul Graham has an essay on how to fund a company on a shoestring.
But to make any of this work, you need a plan that is good enough to make people who know business plans think, “Hm. I wonder if this will work?” So you need a great elevator pitch — the one-minute summary of why your idea is good — and you need a smart business plan that you can send to potential investors.
This week’s Coachology will match you with an angel fund manager, Teresa Esser. She oversees Silicon Pastures, a group that funds early stage startups. She wrote Venture Cafe, a book about entrepreneurship, and she teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin. Teresa will help you sharpen your elevator pitch and business plan so you can land the angel funding you’re looking for.
To work with Teresa, email three sentences to me about the business idea you have. The deadline for sending an email is Sunday, April 8.