The theme of the night was How to fund a Start up and the speakers were Rob Symington of Escape the City who has managed to raise £650,000 through crowd funding (learn more here) and Paul Grant of The Funding Game.
There were 80+ people crammed into a basement room – a mixture of start up entrepreneurs, growth stage entrepreneurs looking for funding and yet to be “escapees” from the corporate world.
It was an evening filled with interesting conversations, ideas and advice and I had a fabulous time, met some interesting people and managed to get a few “coffee and cake” meetings to follow up on.
Why did I go?
Because I’m at the stage with my new venture of looking for business partners and funding/investors and I wanted to learn.
Because I wanted to connect to a new and different level of thinking
Because I wanted to be amongst inspiring, energised people who are making things happen.
So what did I learn?
1. Don’t get too hung up on a business plan
2. Seek out great mentors who can guide you and give you advice
3. Start the conversation early with possible funders or introducers to share you vision and enrol so that they feel a part of what your aiming to achieve
4. Trust your gut with regard to the chemistry between yourself and partners/investors
5. Momentum beasts sitting in the office fine tuning words
6. Invest cash into things that you REALLY need and bootstrap the rest
7. Consider high net worth people who might share your passion and vision and have cash to invest
8. Get a clear one liner and one paragraph for your vision so people really get it quickly
9. Don’t pay to pitch to investors
10. Find out what type of cake people you want to connect with like then go and ask them if you can buy them coffee and cake – many say yes!
So have a think about where you are in your business. Are you having productive conversations with new and interesting people with whom you can create new opportunities or learn new thing from? Are you expanding your network of contacts and connections? Are you getting our of your normal routine and gaining new experiences and ideas
Are you stuck in your office fine tuning the words on your website, faffing about with the colour shading of your logo and only mixing with the same group of people.
So what will you choose to do differently this week?