How to combat loneliness as an entrepreneur

What words do you associate with entrepreneurs and founders?

Ambition?
Passion?
Optimism?
Energy?

Lonely?

Perhaps not the latter. And yet…

At the outset, most entrepreneurs act alone. They have an idea, they research it, develop it, make it happen – on their own.

They are self-reliant – they have to be. In the early days there is often no budget to build a team, there may not be a co-founder to share ideas with, or to moot the relative benefits of this strategic option over another. Entrepreneurs have to trust their own judgement.

Even when the business is able to support a team, founders have to keep a distance between themselves and the team some of the time. There are some things you just can’t share with the team – especially if the thing that is worrying you is “how do I pay the next monthly salary run?”

And yet, as the saying goes, “a problem shared is a problem halved”.

So what’s a founder to do?

There are practical things you can do to combat loneliness:

  • Using co-working spaces can be a good way of ensuring you have people around to talk to.
  • Making time for networking also makes sure you are meeting new people with different perspectives, but beware people’s natural inclination to present a positive picture of themselves which may mean you feel you can’t be as open as you’d like to be in certain circumstances.
  • Working with a coach or mentor can provide an environment for discussing more sensitive, and potentially challenging, situations – but it can become expensive.


Or you could join an online Entrepreneur Board – an intimate group of entrepreneurs whose businesses are at a similar stage to yours, people who get to know you over time, building trust, rapport and understanding of each other’s businesses. It makes for a powerful support option. Not only does it combat loneliness but it is designed to facilitate problem solving, offer support in responding to challenges and in exploring strategic options. You become part of a community, surrounded by experience.

You are not alone, afterall.

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Find out more about Entrepreneur Boards

How to create an executive summary that attracts investors

A practical, results-focused masterclass that gives you everything you need to create an Executive Summary for business angels or crowdfunding investors that really sells your investment opportunity.

Developed with input and feedback from active investors, you will:

  • Learn to use the 7 Essentials of a successful pitch to structure your Exec Summary
  • Do a practical exercises to describe your business in one succinct sentence
  • Receive a ready-to-use Exec Summary template which investors love
  • Develop a series of “proof points” that show investors you have traction
  • Discover the three most important things to include in your Exec Summary
  • Receive a supporting workbook, additional resources and proven tips

In addition to the live and interactive online masterclass, if you submit your draft Executive Summary (using the template provided in the Masterclass) the course leader, Hatty Fawcett, will conduct a review of this and provide detailed feedback and suggestions for improvement, giving you additional confidence that you have an Exec Summary that will attract investors.

 

Places are limited to ensure a good interactive experience.

What people say about the masterclass
“Booking this masterclass was the best money I’ve spent. I left feeling inspired, more knowledgeable and confident that I had a one page exec summary worthy of any investor table.” Arran Campbell, MyKoolBox

“This masterclass helped me create a successful Executive Summary. Hatty is fun to work with, smart and has a bounty of real-life experience that she generously shared with our class. I have a new, more professional perspective on how to present my company and talk to investors.” Magi Raible, LifeGear Design

Duration: 90 minutes
Location: Online, using Zoom video conferencing
Presented by: Hatty Fawcett, Focused For Business
Fee: £200

Book your place on the next masterclass

If you can’t see the booking form, book your place via Eventbrite

About Hatty
Hatty Fawcett is the founder of Focused For Business. She raised two rounds of investment for her own business venture and now supports others in raising investment, predominately through business angels and crowdfunding. She runs a series of online masterclasses, a Fast Track To Funding coaching programme and Crowdfunding Accelerator all of which are designed to make it quicker and easier to raise investment. Hatty also offers  a range of free webinars and Funding Clinics. Hatty regularly speaks on the topic of raising investment and is an active blogger on the subject.

What people say about working with Hatty
“Hatty is a great teacher! The rich content of the course kept me interested and helped me. This course has given me confidence.” Sue Frost, Co-founder Curamicus

“The webinars from Hatty are great but the best bit is the interaction with the other participants and hearing how they are approaching their journey to investment.” David Toscano, Cin Cin Italian Canteen

“Hatty was a fantastic coach helping us create a short pitch, ensuring the delivery of key investor information in a simple but effective way” Gill Hayward, Co-Founder, YUU World

“Hatty’s content was excellent and I learnt far more than I had imagined. We had a good laugh whilst getting some serious work done.” Sharon Maddy-Patel, Maddy Lou Shoes

“Hatty made the daunting process of accelerating my business a simple, outlined and structured process. As a company we have gained direction, professionalism and valuable information through her insights.” Arun Thangavel, Co-Founder, Hollabox

You can read more recommendations on Hatty’s LinkedIn profile.

Book your place on the next masterclass

If you can’t see the booking form, book your place via Eventbrite

See the full range of Preparing for Investment: Online masterclasses

Why crowdfunding is like running a marathon…and how you can make it quicker and easier

The power of crowdfunding is undeniable. The media is full of stories of companies raising large amounts of money in just a few days, hours or even seconds!

Brew Dog raised more than £7 million from three crowdfunding exercises

Just Park raised £3.57 million in 34 days

Mondo bank raised £1 million in just 96 seconds

Looking at these examples you might be forgiven for thinking that crowdfunding is easy.

Let me tell you, it’s not!

Crowdfunding is like running a marathon. It takes months of preparation, a good dose of persistence and a degree of stubbornness that stops you giving up even when the going gets tough.

Most of the hard work for a successful crowdfunding campaign is done before you put your campaign live. As with marathon running, the amount of preparation you do is directly correlated to the result you achieve. There’s a lot to do: From preparing written copy and a video pitch to developing a motivating suite of rewards or business valuation. You’ll need to hone your business or project plan in order that it conveys the essential information investors look for, and you’ll need to tee up potential investors so that the money starts to pour in when your crowdfunding pitch goes live.

In fact, crowdfunding is a full-time job – one that’s usually done alongside your other full-time job – that of running your business or project.

Crowdfunding is not an exact science either. Are you certain the crowdfunding platform you have selected will help you attract the right type of investors? Have you pitched your rewards package at the right level to motivate investors? Would it be better to set a lower crowdfunding target and overfund, or should you aim high from the start?

For many, crowdfunding seems appealing but when you look into the detail of what is needed, crowdfunding moves to the “too hard” pile and the campaign never gets off the ground.

For those that do try, there are many pitfalls and difficulties along the way.

The bad news is that over 50% of crowdfunding campaigns that launch fail to achieve their target.

For this reason, it pays to get professional help. After all, if you do run a marathon chances are you will take on a personal trainer or, at very least, research and adopt a training programme.

Crowdfunding Accelerator, an online programme of workshops and mentoring, is designed to make it quicker and easier to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.

Over 8 weeks, in 90 minute (online) weekly meetings you are guided, step-by-step, through the elements of a successful crowdfunding pitch.  There is specially created content which focuses your effort on the things that really matter, workbooks, easy-to-use templates, helpful tips and motivational advice. It’s like having a personal trainer at your side.

There is no doubt that, if you prepare properly, crowdfunding is a good source of finance. In fact, just as a marathon runner can pretty much tell you the time they will run on race day, so it is with crowdfunding. If you prepare properly you’ll know just how quickly you’ll achieve your crowdfunding target , perhaps down to the last second!

A good way to find out more about Crowdfunding Accelerator is to join a free online, interactive seminar: How to succeed at crowdfunding Book your free place below or find out more here

book onto a free online taster session. Sign-up here to receive details of the next taster session.

Crowdfunding Accelerator: Making successful crowdfunding quicker and easier

Crowdfunding Accelerator: An online programme of workshops and mentoring


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How to succeed at crowdfunding: Free webinar
This free 60 minute, live and interactive webinar reveals everything you need to know to succeed at crowdfunding from how to choose the right platform, what to put in your crowdfunding pitch and the thing that no one tells you but which really makes the difference between success and failure.
Find out more and book a place
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The harsh truth is that 50% of crowdfunding pitches fail to reach their funding target. Crowdfunding Accelerator is an eight week ONLINE programme designed to make it quicker and easier for you to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. The programme:

  • takes a step-by-step approach, focusing your effort on the things that really matter
  • provides specifically prepared content focused on each aspect of your crowdfunding campaign
  • supports you with programme workbooks, handy-to-use templates, additional resources and proven tips
  • encourages peer learning, support and motivation through a closed Facebook Group
  • facilitates the actions needed to prepare your campaign through weekly “homework”
  • culminates with “Pitch School” where each participant pitches their campaign and receives tailored feedback
  • significantly improves your chances of crowdfunding success

What participants say about Crowdfunding Accelerator

“Hatty is a great teacher! The rich content of the course kept me interested and helped me understand how crowdfunding fits into various financial offerings. This course has given me confidence on how and when to organise a campaign.” Sue Frost, Co-founder Curamicus

“The webinars from Hatty are great but the best bit is the interaction with the other participants and hearing how they are approaching their journey to investment.” David Toscano, Cin Cin Italian Canteen

“The motivation I felt during my time on Hatty’s Crowdfunding accelerator was powerful. Hatty kept me accountable for progressing my work towards my crowdfunding campaign and gave invaluable feedback every week. Her content was excellent and I learnt far more than I had imagined. We had a good laugh whilst getting some serious work done.” Sharon Maddy-Patel, Maddy Lou Shoes

“Hatty made the daunting process of accelerating my business a simple, outlined and structured process. As a company we have gained direction, professionalism and valuable information through her insights”. Arun Thangavel, Co-Founder, Hollabox

“The Crowdfunding Accelerator was an excellent way to explore the concept of crowdfunding in a real hands-on and practical way which resulted in having everything I needed to proceed.” Claire Timbrell, Co-founder The MacGuffin Project

“You have really helped me address my ideas and improve my plans. The support has met my expectations which were high”. Adalberto Battaglia, Founder Quinto Quatro

“I’ve found your feedback on the homework assignments most helpful. It feels like personal tuition.” Sue Frost, Co-founder Curamicus

“The homework is by far the best bit! It’s what made this so much more practical than just researching crowdfunding on your own, because you end up with everything you need to proceed. Even if you don’t proceed, the homework definitely focuses you on what is important for your business.” Claire Timbrell, Co-founder The MacGuffin Project

“Hatty was a fantastic coach helping us create a short pitch, ensuring the delivery of key investor information in a simple but effective way” Gill Hayward, Co-Founder, YUU World

“Hatty was a delight to work with and her style was friendly yet challenging, she pushed me further and allowed my to try out new thoughts in a safe space. Her experience in crowdfunding gives Hatty credibility and she certainly knows her stuff! Despite being aimed at crowdfunding, I got so much more out of her course with regards to general marketing and sales.” Sharon Maddy-Patel, Maddy Lou Shoes

Dates for the next programme

The next Crowdfunding Accelerator starts in January 2019.

Location
This is an online programme delivered weekly in 90 minute interactive video call meetings. There is no need to travel. Simply log in from your computer (with internet access) wherever you are.

What next?

Got questions about the programme? CONTACT HATTY

Want to join the next cohort of Crowdfunding Accelerator: SIGN UP NOW

Want advice on your funding options? Book a free online funding clinic

 

Five Funding tips for your small business or start-up

Every business needs to raise investment to grow and make the most of opportunities at some point.

When I ran Seek & Adore (an online market place) I raised investment twice. Each time it felt like a rollercoaster ride. I had to learn the hard way what it takes to raise investment. I was recently asked if I had any advice to offer entrepreneurs and business owners going through the process of raising investment. I offered five tips that served me along the way.

Read the full blog post on LinkedIn

Why your executive summary is your most important investment document

*** Book a place on the masterclass “How to write an executive summary that attracts investors” ***

When seeking investment for your business (or, for that matter a social enterprise or creative project) it pays to think like an investor, giving an investor the information they want rather than telling them everything you want to say.

The most important document when you first start talking to investors is your “one-pager” or executive summary. I don’t literally mean an executive summary that summarises your business plan, but rather a short, specifically written document that summarises your investment opportunity and acts as a calling card when approaching investors and angel networks. It is best to keep this to one page. Some founders opt to send their pitch deck to get a meeting with investors, but this makes no sense. If you use the pitch deck to secure the meeting, what will you actually use to discuss the opportunity when you do meet the investor?

Why keep it short and sweet?

Investors (especially the serious ones) are very busy people. They have lots of potential investment opportunities hit their in-box every week. Most investors will make up their mind in less than five minutes whether your business is of interest to them.

“You have to give investors the information they want quickly and succinctly to be in with a chance of getting their attention.”

So how do you get the attention of an investor in just a couple of minutes?

The key is to give then what they want! Whilst individual investors will have their individual “sweet spot” for investments, in assessing an opportunity all investors are looking for certain key information:

  • A brief, no nonsense description of what the business is and does.
  • An explanation of the market opportunity – the problem you solve for your customers, the size of the market and the share of the market you feel you can realistically address.
  • An overview of your customers – who they are, any different groups of customers and how you find new customers.
  • How your products and services differ from the competition (and rest assured there will be competition whether you recognise it or not so, please, don’t say there is no competition!)
  • What you’ve achieved to date – investors look for businesses that are already delivering on their business model so highlight key milestones in your company’s development.
  • An introduction to your management team – who the key personnel are; their skills and experience and what they have achieved in the past.
  • Details of your business model – how you make money and whether you have a number of different revenue streams.
  • Your financials – revenues achieved to date, as well as a forecasting growth expected over the next 3-5 years.
  • Details of the investment you are looking for – how much money you want to raise, what you will do with that money and how much equity you are selling in return for the investment.
  • Oh, and don’t forget to add your contact details. If you do “hook” your investor you want him or her to be able to contact you quickly and easily to discuss the opportunity in more detail.

Think of getting a meeting with a potential investor like applying for a job

A good executive summary does the job of a strong CV. It helps you stand out from the crowd and ensures you get called for interviewWhen you are applying for a job the first step is to send a strong CV to secure an interview. You’ll review the job description and tailor your CV to demonstrate how you are the right person for the job. So it is with an executive summary. No investor will meet you until they have first understood a bit about the business – and that’s where your one page summary of the investment opportunity comes in.

A good executive summary will position the investment opportunity so that it piques the interest of potential investors and gets you that all important first meeting. When you meet you can go into much more detail, and start to assess whether you want the investor on board. The discussion and negotiation really starts – but that’s another blog.

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Book a place on the masterclass “How to write an executive summary that attracts investors”

and receive detailed advice on what to include in an executive summary, a ready-made template that investors love and a free review of your executive summary.

Reserve a place on a Funding Clinic to talk about your funding options
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What’s in a good investment pitch?

When raising investment for your small business, you have to be ready to pitch at any moment. Anyone you meet could be an investor. It could be the person standing next to you on the bus, someone you meet at a networking event or party or even someone you play sport with in your spare time.

Depending on the circumstances you may not have long to pitch. In some cases you might only have a minute to get your business across (the classic “elevator pitch” scenario), whilst in a more formal pitch environment (such as at an angel network pitch evening) you might have 15 or 20 minutes. Certainly, you won’t always have a Powerpoint presentation. You have to be ready for any eventuality.

So what should be in your business pitch?

A good place to start is with the business concept. What is it your business does? What problem are you solving for your customers? Even in a 20 minute pitch you don’t have long (and there are other things you need to talk about in addition to your products and services) so keep your explanation short and to the point. Focus on the key points and what makes your product/service different. If you are talking about your product/service for more than 25% of the length of your pitch than you are probably going into too much detail.

Next up, talk about sales. What’s your business model and how do you generate revenue? Investors love to hear that you have more than one revenue stream and that you have experimented with different routes to market and identified the most successful channels. Ideally you are looking to show that you’ve hit upon a selling formula that delivers predictable results and is ready to be scaled up.

Businesses don’t make themselves. It is people who make businesses successful. You must introduce yourself and your team in your pitch. You’ll want to talk about the team’s background, skills and experience. Leave the investor in no doubt that you have the right mix of people to drive this business forward.

Your team should start to build your credibility in the eyes of an investor but you want to cement this by talking about your business achievements to date. Highlight any key milestones you have achieved: Key strategic partnerships you have formed, contracts you have won and revenues in the bank. Your pitch needs to demonstrate that you are already delivering results, even without the investment.

No pitch is complete without some numbers. If you are already revenue generating share what monies you have banked. Forecast future revenues (realistically – no one will believe “pie in the sky” numbers) and be clear about your margin and breakeven. Be specific about how the money you raise will be used, and provide revenue and profit predictions for the point at which you plan to exit the business. You must have an exit plan. Investors will want their money back at some point. Without an exit they don’t get a return!

Finally, be clear about how much equity you are selling in return for the investment. An unrealistic valuation can ruin an otherwise brilliant pitch. For advice on valuing your business, download my e-book.

Given you need to be ready to pitch at the drop of a hat, and that you can’t always rely on a Powerpoint presentation to help you remember everything you want to get across, you might find it helpful to have this little mnemonic in your mind to make sure you cover the main points. It’s based around the middle letters of the alphabet:

Image showing what's in a good pitch
Oh, and one final thing, be sure to pitch with passion! If you’re not excited by your business why should an investor get excited? Pitch with energy and enthusiasm and remember to smile and make eye contact.

Good luck!

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If you would like help in developing your investment pitch, contact me , Hatty Fawcett, to book a phone call.

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How to value your start-up: A brief, practical guide

Register and download your copy of the “Valuing your small or early stage business: Art or science?”

There comes a point in the life of every business when you know you need more investment to maximise the business opportunity.

If your business is a start-up or small business you may not have the track record or assets to access traditional forms of lending. Alternative finance can be a welcome lifeline. You may also feel you want to bring additional expertise into the business. In which case, angel investment where the business angel brings expertise, skills and contacts as well as their cash can be a better option for raising investment.

Whatever form of investment you choose, you will need to issue shares (equity), which means you will need to value your business. But what is your business worth? How do you value a small or early-stage business?

Valuing your small or early stage business ebookThis brief, practical guide will take you through:

  • Why formal valuation models will only take you so far
  • How to focus on tangible demonstrations of value
  • Why valuation is a negotiation
  • How to replace “finger in the air” estimates with modelled forecasts
  • Why it pays to listen and learn
  • How to chose your investors wisely

All of which will give you a better idea of the true value of your business.

Register and download your copy of the “Valuing your small or early stage business: Art or science?” now