The foolhardy, like us, see an opportunity, so when the producers of the new Dave TV show Money Pit advertised for entrants on Facebook, we went for it.
Under the comedic watch of Jason Manford, Money Pit puts 50 investors together in a “pit”, each committing a sum of money as their investment which they can break into smaller amounts to fund the plucky startups pitching. It is essentially Dragons’ Den, with smaller Dragons or as many have called it, live crowdfunding.
Any entrepreneur will know that pitching your business in any environment is high pressure. Pitching with bright lights and cameras pointing at you certainly turns the heat up.
The startups involved in the programme will have entered the “pit” for many different reasons. For us, this opportunity was all about fundraising and awareness for the business. Our local parcel delivery business, CornerDrop, involves us talking to thousands of small businesses across the UK, so having a platform on national TV to talk about how we could work with them was an opportunity too good to pass up.
We walked away with £24,000 – a sum higher than any of the other startups involved. But we also learned some valuable lessons throughout our experience, which can work in or out of the TV studio.
Lessons from Money Pit:
It’s not always about the funding
Whether you’re looking for exposure, advice or mentoring, the process of seeking funding is not always about getting the cash in the bank. In many ways, we saw the funding as a bonus, and we have been running a Seedrs campaign concurrently to get us up to the figure we need to keep growing.
Know your story
To really get your pitch down, know your subject, your business, inside out. It might sound obvious to be able to talk through your business plan, financials, and team, but you also have to be able to captivate your audience with a compelling story and inspire that person with the same mind-set as yourself to invest in you.
Stay professional and be prepared
Don’t forget to cross your t’s and dot your i’s. Get your advanced SEIS documents in place. It’s easy and you can do it online yourself. Make sure you keep all your legal documents in one place, both online and hard copy – you will be asked to produce basic proof as soon as possible. You don’t want to cause any delays.
Most entrepreneurs don’t need encouragement here, but nerves can kill a pitch. Think of it like “showtime” even if you’re not on TV. Throw yourself in there and put on the performance of your lifetime.
Ask for more than you think you need
Raising funds is stressful, and it is time consuming. This means that you’re spending time away from growing your business. So, when asking for money, avoid having to repeat the raise straight away and ask for more than you think you need.
Do not let the naysayer’s pull you down and look at every fork in the road as an opportunity, even if it isn’t what you expected. Consider investment from a place you weren’t sure of, and take the chance.
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