Are you ready?
I am pulling for England to win the 2018 World Cup! With so much FIFA World Cup action, I can’t help but reflect on some of my soccer preseason days.
One of my favorite memories revolves around the word “procinctus.” It is a Latin word meaning “ready for battle” or “prepared for war.”
This word would often fall from the lips of one of my teammates — a great motivator who reminded us of where our mindset should be for the upcoming season. He loved the process of preparation. He knew it was hard, knew it was intense, knew it encompassed both the physical and psychological, yet believed nothing was more important in the journey than to achieve the trophy.
That word has settled deep into my own DNA as I see how applicable it is, not just in soccer, but also in the world of startup entrepreneurship.
I can’t help but notice the constant stream of what I call “soft content” that highlights just the successful side of the entrepreneur’s journey. But startup entrepreneurship is tough — really tough. Truth be told: it takes constant preparation and perseverance to be successful.
Let’s examine the word procinctus and how it directly correlates to the ability for entrepreneurs to show readiness with investors, both in the short and long terms:
Ready for Battle
The 1776 leadership team is constantly talking to investors about our member companies and other startups in the region. In many of these conversations, investors reference the term “founder sophistication” associated with successful startups who have gone on to raise significant venture capital. They note that part of this sophistication is founders being aware of the process and being intentionally ready for the investor conversation at hand.
We firmly believe it is every founder’s job to go into investor meetings not only with a full understanding and readiness of who they are pitching, but a readiness of infrastructure materials to support their request for investment.
Whether it is the pre-meeting email, the teaser deck, the pitch deck, the unit economics one-pager, the follow up emails, or the data room access, etc., there must be an obsessive readiness to your approach, because guess what — it matters!
And, just like a professional athlete’s mindset before a game, the entrepreneur must be ready and armed with the right strategy to handle any and all obstacles.
Prepared for War
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One of the older (and very robust) investor-ready articles mentions a rule worth noting called “The 10/90 Rule.” It discusses two approaches: one for the top 10% of startups and one for the other 90%.
The article goes on to say, “For the vast majority of early-stage companies, raising capital is a slower, relationship-building exercise. It may not be a competitive process, so your goal should be to get one or two partners to fall in love with what you’re doing. Running an aggressive, get-every-meeting-lined-up approach won’t work as well for the 90% as it will for the top 10% of startups.”
We have seen the startup founders who run a methodical process that set themselves up for long term success, and it truly does make the difference. There must be a thoughtful and intentional strategy associated with your fundraising plan. There must also be a level of dedication and perseverance associated, knowing that the plan will surely take you on an emotional roller coaster.
Stay the course.
Where Revolutions Begin
In the coming days, we will announce a program that will challenge national outcomes, that will redefine customer engagement, and that will create a pathway for investor-ready entrepreneurs.
This program will provide founders with the curated knowledge and tools they need to position their companies for fundraising success. Each week, 1776 leadership and entrepreneurs in residence will work directly with these entrepreneurs to ensure successful progression and positioning. We will push our entrepreneurs to embody new habits of readiness, as well as incorporating a level of commitment to finding the right plan and mindset to endure.
We promise we will not make the entrepreneurs run sprints.
Stay tuned for more 1776 announcements in the coming days, and I hope you allow the word procinctus to motivate you throughout your journey.