top of page

Before you ask for funding

~ by Alan W

A startup reached out to us recently seeking help in figuring out why they were unable to raise more funds. They had spent a lot of time, effort and money on an MVP, appointed a team of 20 people to build the product, told the world about what is yet to come, and thought they had it all covered. They just needed funding…..

There was not a single member of the team with startup experience.

What went wrong?

X There was very little effort into building a community to drive a compounding following needed to fuel growth.

X The MVP was over the top with features and plugins, revealing their inability to differentiate between essential and core product requirements or ‘must have’s’ and the luxuries and distractions or ‘nice-to-have’s’.

X Marketing and sales strategy were missing so they were sitting still at the ‘best kept secret’ stage.

X There were no plans for distributing the product, so an over-promise and under-delivery risk.

X The ideal customer profile was not defined, lacking the focus required to, well, build anything if we are still asking ‘for who’?

X A very small number of users existed. No paying customers and no plan or effort to get paid customers. So no value currency in play.

X All emphasis was put on the product and almost none on the customers OR the employees OR the business partners/vendors that were to support the product. Without the people, there IS no business.

X The pitch deck was too complex, had too much information, too many assumptions and was out of touch with reality. And too focused on the product. Too focused on the (assumed) value of the company. Too airy fairy.

Before you run off and build the perfect product or design the perfect service, speak to your customers FIRST. Validate your idea with THEM, not with internal stakeholders. The focus should be on solving customer needs and solving problems customers face. The truth is, if you solve their problem, they will pay you for it.

Don’t fall in love with your product and expect investors to love it too, let alone your customers. Before you even consider discussing an evaluation of your product or service or startup, find out if your CUSTOMERS value your product or service and build from there.

Work with Alan W

"Solving niche challenges founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


bottom of page