There’s a boxing ring in the gym I go to. Quite often, there’s guys in the ring. They have their hands taped up and they have their gloves on. I watch them shadow box and sometimes the trainer puts on punching mitts and they hit them. “1, 2”… “1, 2, 1”. You know how it goes. It’s all very energetic!
There’s a handful that seem really good. They seem fit and seem incredibly capable. They have all the gear as well. You know, the Title stuff and those high boxing boots. I suspect they would fancy themselves in a real fight should the opportunity arise.
I imagine them having a plan on how to compete. Maybe they’ll lead with their jab, then use that uppercut in some great combo they rehearsed with their trainer and his mitts. It’ll be a great plan, like a really great plan and it will work super well right up until …they get punched really hard in the mouth!
“Everyone has a plan ‘til they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson
Fundraising may not have the physicality of a boxing match, but figuratively speaking you will get punched in the mouth a number of times! Those punches are most often the doubt, the “no’s” or more likely the lack of response from VC’s. Clearly It’s less of a physical battle and more of a mental one but a battle it is!
In the beginning it’s very exciting – maybe a little scary, but that’s it. At the end you have a multi million dollar check and stories to last a lifetime. But in the middle the punches just keep on coming!
Wondering how to defend yourself in this particular fight? These three strategies may help.
- Know that you will get more no’s than yes’s. It actually helps to enter this particular sport realizing that it is a numbers game. Accepting that fact and acting accordingly is fundamental. No’s are simply part of the process.
- Constantly build your list of VC’s. Research, connect and seek support. Think of building your VC list as a team sport, get help! It’s way better to have an ever growing list and know you have more opportunities to get to a yes.
- Spend time with others who have raised. Nearly everyone who has raised venture capital has faced a lot of no’s. Listen to their stories, hear about their no’s and you’ll realize that you’re on the right path and that it’s just a process.
Finally, I’ll hand it back to a guy that knows…
“As long as we persevere and endure we can get anything we want” – Mike Tyson