There is no shortage of opportunity for donors and investors. Asks come from all directions, all the time. There are tremendous causes and companies looking for financial support. All they really want to say is ‘no’.
It’s a matter of triage. Sifting through the too numerous business plans, pitches, asks, and presentation decks, the goal is to find the very best. Sure, you may have a great idea and a killer management team – but if you have spelling errors in your cover letter, or haven’t done the math right in your projections?…. If you have a messy capitalization table say with too many aunts and uncles on the shareholder list? If you haven’t clearly articulated who your competition is? Anything that complicates matters, then the holder of dollars has a chance to turn you down and move on to the next one.
You hear it over and over again, but it is critically important at the early stages of any start up, profit or social, keep things simple. Do whatever you can do to remove barriers for someone who may invest their time or money.
For instance, business plans should be no more than three pages. Pitch decks should be no more than twelve slides, and there better be no spelling or arithmetic errors in either! Ownership structures should be obvious and straightforward – do your best to keep the number of boxes and lines to a minimum.
If you have to explain anything, other than your idea, there is much less chance you’ll move on to the next round and the potential of getting the elusive ‘yes’.