Quite simply, it is the people.
Early stage owners nod their heads - I'm a good guy, my golf buddies like a beer with me after a game.
Well, that was not Rick means. He judges their business readiness. Rick tends to focus his questions on The Pitch around these three points:
- What have they accomplished in the past?
- What networks do they operate within - is there a top level adviser involved?
- How much business acumen is in their team and are they to really grow their business? Have they really analysed their competition and how they can build a niche market and expand from there.
To give Rick's focus on the people a bit of meaning, let me run through a personal example that happened to me after The Pitch went on air. I got a call from an entrepreneur who had a product and wanted help. As I gently probed, he revealed that he had not even drafted one page of information about his concept, did not have any social media accounts where we could connect, was still using hotmail for his email and did not even have a professional signature line in his email where you have a phone number and your name in full.
Why bother phoning then? Why not just chat to your golf buddy? How am I going to take a few minutes to help someone not in my client segment? I enjoy helping but if there is nothing for me to email to someone else, then there is not a starting point.
I also asked if he would go on The Pitch to just even discuss his business idea, but that was a damp squid too.
To all those entrepreneurs, to get Rick Nathan to help you, have a full business plan, a full PowerPoint deck. At least read one book on how to attract money. An easy book that is popular with the BDC and the VCs, a go-to-guide as you develop a business, is Money Magnet. Otherwise, browse the Internet.
At least set up a Twitter account.
Jacoline Loewen is an expert in private equity and you can see her on BNN The Pitch