There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t meet with someone who’s trying to secure funding for a project, business, ministry or church. I love meeting with visionaries who can see an opportunity to make a big impact whether it be in the business sector or in the not-for-profit world. But there are more ideas floating out there than money to fund them. Here’s a few lessons I’ve learned about why some people get their dreams funded, while others don’t.
The idea has to be viable. I know this sounds so basic, but I can’t tell you how many pitches I’ve heard of crazy and just plan bad ideas. Interestingly, I have seen people dip in their retirement accounts, take a second mortgage to propel what it was obviously, to me anyway, a flawed proposition. You can throw good money at a bad idea. It will just take longer to die.
The vision has to be developed. If your pitch passes the “bad idea” test, then any potential investor will want to see beyond the obvious. What’s the sustainability plan? what’s the business and marketing plan for the product, service or even the ministry? If you have too many unanswered questions, no savvy investor will put down money. One of the greatest errors visionaries often make is failure to realize they might only have one shot with a potential investor. If they don’t have their act together during the first meeting, they might not have a second chance. Find someone who understand business principles and systems to help you think through issues. Trust me, a good business coach will ask you questions you didn’t even know existed. Be ready.
The team has to be right. This is where most good ideas go to die. It’s the most difficult situation for any visionary to be in. Even after a promising idea, and a great business and implementation plan, you can still be turned down because your potential investor doesn’t believe you and/or your team have what it takes to execute the plan. I’ve seen this happen in the corporate as well as in the church world. Unless you have a proven record of delivering on big ideas or you have put together a team of high-capacity individuals who have experienced success in the arena of your idea, you might be rejected simply on the grounds of being an unproven risk. If that happens a multiple-investor strategy might work or maybe it’s time for that second mortgage.
If you knew you had money waiting to fund your best idea, what would you do?