Top 50

50 Steps to Getting Investment

“What do I need to tell an investor to get their money?” is a question I’m often asked.

Here is a quick brain dump of fifty mini-goals that will all help part an investor from their money in approximate order of importance. The further down the list you are before asking for money, they more successful you are likely to be.

The best thing: if you get to item 50, you probably will not need an investor at all!

Without further ado, here’s the list…

  1. A founder with drive, a good idea and a vision
  2. A co-founder who shares the vision
  3. A vision of what is going to be created to solve a current problem that is better, faster or cheaper than current solutions
  4. Company formed with company number and shares issued
  5. Actual funds founders have put into the company
  6. Funds other people have put into the company (friends, family, knowledgeable people)
  7. Keeping people informed of progress (creates confidence that founders are achieving goals)
  8. Formal storage of contact details of future potential business contacts
  9. Accountant engaged (or known)
  10. Lawyer engaged (or known)
  11. Association with good people (who are well connected)
  12. Association with good organisations (well-known brands founders can say they are working with)
  13. Clarity of vision of product and its potential customers
  14. A paid employee
  15. Product design documentation/specification
  16. Brand creation started (website, experts onside, clarity of proposition)
  17. Demonstration product to show people (Minimally Viable Proposition)
  18. Accounting system in place to control costs
  19. Draft Terms and Conditions of Sale written
  20. Intellectual Property review conducted and implemented where appropriate
  21. Letter from well-known customer indicating that they wish to trial the product at your cost
  22. Letter from well-known customer indicating that they wish to trial the product where they pay costs
  23. An academic paper showing the benefit of your solution
  24. Any mention of your product in the any media
  25. Grant received (but beware time taken to achieve this)
  26. Pricing decided (with justification for decision)
  27. Terms and Conditions of Sale completed
  28. Letter from any customer indicating that they wish to buy the product
  29. Letter from a well-known customer indicating that they wish to buy the product
  30. Sales tax implemented
  31. First order for the product (could be discounted for publicity/first customer)
  32. First order delivered and paid for
  33. A reference from a (known) customer using your product
  34. Second order
  35. Second order delivered and paid for
  36. Positive product review in specialist (your target market) or general media
  37. Formal method of recording product improvements requested by customers
  38. A case study showing your product in use
  39. Order from a stranger (that is someone who found the product after the product was put on the market)
  40. Money from a stranger for their order
  41. Product failure/return dealt with effectively and resolved to create a customer who is an advocate
  42. Tenth order
  43. Second version of product including learnings from previous sales
  44. Annual accounts (when appropriate)
  45. People in place to process orders as they arrive (including ordering parts, manufacturer, stock, delivery, money processing, invoicing)
  46. Spontaneous reference from a customer using your product
  47. Make a net profit on each sale (cover all costs and expenses including founders’ salary – a salary you would be happy to live on)
  48. Paying founders a salary
  49. Company break even (paid off all development costs)
  50. Projections of profits and plan of action

What have I missed, post your comments below so that everyone can benefit.

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