What do you think of my business idea?

May 2016

“Hi Richard,

can we grab a coffee – I love to get your feedback on my business idea to do X in Y –  and show you my awesome product.

I believe it is really great, and is going to be huge.

We urgently need a small investment of $100K due to our first customers being late in deciding to buy/ to keep us going as we get close to going global. It’s a billion dollar market.

We must talk soon, or you’ll miss out. I’ll be able to slot you in next week.

bests
Joe Doe
Co-Interplanetary Awesomeness Officer and Founder
Creepaability-aka-dontknowthefuckwhatthisisallabout.com ”


I get a version of this  kind of note  from time to time.  I have taken the worst bits from different e-mails and messages I receive  to make something truly awful. I hope this post encourages those who write to investors to reflect on their approach. 
This post tells your  what I think and feel, and what I write back (not the same) , and offers some reflections.

What I think and feel
0. not again.. 🙁

1. Coffees are for drinking – not grabbing. Grabbing is rude,  and you might spill it.
2. I don’t care what I or you think about your product. I care about the problem it solves, and what customers and potential customers/users think.
3. If you urgently need money, you are bad at planning. Of course businesses, people, and startups can and will run out of cash,  but if you don’t realise this sounds terrible, you are probably not smart enough to be my partner.
4. $100K is not a small amount of money.  I was well paid when I earned $1500 month net in my best paid job (25 years ago). I took so big pay cut when I started my first business I was effectively paying for the privilege of working.   It could have taken me 10 years to save $100K. If you think $100K is a small amount, I don’t really trust you to spend it carefully.
5. Blaming customers for being late sounds like a stupid attitude.  If they haven’t bought anything you should not be calling them customers anyway.

6. Money should be for specific actions, not “keeping us going”.

7. Going global makes sense once you have a proven product that clients love. You offer no evidence of that so far.

8. What is the billion dollar market?

9.  Don’t rush me. Giving me the impression I’ll have to adjust to your busy life makes me annoyed before I’ve even met you.

10. Silly job titles repel me.

11. If I invite him/her to Open Coffee Kraków they will probably tell me it’s too early in the morning and I’ll never hear from them
again.:-) That is probably a good outcome.

12. I respect and admire entrepreneurs who hustle  – so I will try (hard) to be nice.


What I write 

Dear Chief Awesomeness Officer,

Thanks very much for approaching me.

Best is to come to Open Coffee Krakow  and we can chat after that if you are in town.

I trust that you are OK with open feedback and if there are things about your idea I don’t like you’ll want me to tell you.
Please confirm.

Do send me a Linkedin invite so you can see more about me and vice versa.

Please answer the questions in this blog post I wrote a few years ago –  so that I can be more helpful to you during the meeting (if we decide to meet)

Tell me how you are going to make money, what you would spend my investment money on, and what you are offering me in return.

It doesn’t matter much what I think  about your idea.
What really matters is:
what clients and potential clients think about your idea.
what pressing problem you think you are solving.
what your costs will be.
how many months you can survive before you run out of money in the worst case scenario.

Good luck and see you next Open Coffee Krakow. (if you cannot join in person, we are on Facebook Live.)

Richard

Reflections

A lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs have read an article somewhere full of “fake it till you make it” type BS and imagine that a stupid angel can be duped into handing over money. It’s seldom true, and it’s not a great way to approach me. I’ve made lots of mistakes and am not that smart  – but I don’t like being patronised.

It’s important to think and reflect before sharing my feelings. I may be annoyed and angry, but I really want to help entrepreneurs. I’ll try to help the guy learn. Maybe I was like that once.

Getting their Linkedin details enables me to figure out what sort of history they have.  Past actions (and inactions) give a great insights into someone’s potential).

Maybe there are people out there who respond well to crappy messages like the one I am dissing ?  If anyone reading this found an investor this way,  I would love to stand corrected. The beauty of a free society is that there is more than one way of operating.

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