When you’re raising your first round of cash for your startup, it can seem like the most important thing in the world. You need this investment, or your idea will never get anywhere. But it’s important to remember that raising the first money is only the beginning, and once you get it (because you will get it, we know that!), that’s when the real work starts! So it’s crucial to take this time to prep yourself for the Go Time that’s just around the corner. Here are a few things to keep in mind and work on while you’re out raising money:
#1 Improve your product offering
Everyone knows that in order to have a kickass product, you’re always going to have to be iterating. Doesn’t matter how good your initial offering is, there’s always room for improvement. Your customers might want new features, or a better interface, or stronger materials. Whatever it is, making these improvements to your product or service will be critical to the long-term viability and success of your startup.
So take some time now to road-test your early product, gather some feedback, and start making improvements. The more you do now, the stronger your product will be when you raise that money!
#2 Find the specialists you need, not the generalists you have
Hiring and Human Resource management is one of the most crucial part of your startup’s success. The right people make all the difference between a startup that makes and one that doesn’t. But the kind of people you need at different stages of growth will vary a lot. When you’re brand new, you need your scrappy team of generalists, a few people who can do everything, and come through in the clutch on any task you give them.
But once you raise money and are operating as a real business, you need specialists who can do one task and do it great. But here’s the thing… once you raise money, you’ll need to get going right away. But it takes at least a month, usually, to find the right people. So while you’re out there raising money, you should also be out there looking for the specialists you need. Start networking, start contacting recruiters, or universities, or other incubators. Your team is out there. Go find them!
#3 Maintain your relationships with investors
Smart entrepreneurs know that investors are more than just passive sources of capital. In the best case scenarios, they’re also partners who will stay with you every step of the way through your startup journey. They know the kinds of employees, partners, and services you’ll need to make your startup really pop out there. And if things enter a rough patch, they’ll be the ones who can help you figure out how to get through it, and come out stronger. And this is true even of investors who might not be interested in investing in you this round. Make sure you maintain strong and professional relationships with the investors you talk to you. They’re amazing resources, and want to help you succeed. Everyone you meet in this journey can be helpful for you
Overall, don’t treat fundraising time like it’s time to sleep on everything else in your startup. This is only the beginning, and you have to be firing on all cylinders. Take the opportunity you have in front of you and go make it happen! Would you like to learn more? Go check out our podcast 'What happens after funding'.
Written by Magali De Reu