I was recently having breakfast with a close friend and business associate and he said something to me that was the basis for this blog. We are working together to get a second investment fund up and running and the opportunities that we have for investment and significantly positive returns are unlimited. However, as my friend said at breakfast, those opportunities await the team or business that simply has the capital to deploy to close on them and unless we can really move the needle on raising funding and converting prospects to investors, we will not be the team that succeeds in this venture. That same thing said in simpler terms is that a prospect is just a prospect until you close and have them become a buyer. Therefore, the rocket fuel for any great business idea is selling, closing and having the invested capital to deploy to turn your great ideas into reality. It simply will not happen without closing and raising the capital necessary!
We went on to discuss the amount of time spent and the data that we have collected on various leads and prospects. We feel many of those prospects will invest and in fact some already have done so. However, what we really lacked was really systemic clarity on the amount of time they have been a prospect, the source of their funds to invest and their timeline for decision making with good follow up processes. We are working on several fronts now to create more regular visibility to the status and aging of our prospects. That will be the baseline for us knowing week to week if we have enough prospects flowing in to our plan and the close rate over time that is the best indicator of the work to be done to achieve our objectives.
As we work this on a weekly basis, there are three things that will be critical data for us to discuss and review. First, we need to know that our prospects have the money available to invest. If the money is not really there and available for this investment, that is the first and biggest disqualifier. Second, we need to know the prospect and be close enough to the status on a regular basis to understand if this investor has the approval of others close to him/her to make this investment decision. The others that could stand in the way of a decision could be a financial planner, a spouse, a close relative or a co-worker. We need to understand their commitment versus others with whom they interface daily. Last, we need to create a desire for them to invest. What are their needs? How will this investment help fill their needs. So, the obtainment of the rocket fuel is simple but complex and it must be looked at regularly on all these fronts in order to obtain and fuel you great business ideas.