Managing Your Investors and Mentors
A lot of my articles spend time talking about what you should be doing as an entrepreneur and what happens when you fail. However, there is a lot that happens before you get to that point including managing your investors and mentors. Hopefully, with their advice and guidance, you will not fail.
When you begin your business there is a lot of inner anxiety surrounding whether or not your idea will work. You spend countless hours and days researching, learning the market, and working to find just one person to pay for your product or service. That anxiety is made even worse if you try to go at it alone. If you take money from investors that anxiety can just increase because you feel a great sense of responsibility to ensure you don’t lose anyone’s money.
The best way to temper that anxiety is to find mentors and advisors that can help guide you, tell you what will work, and more importantly tell you when you are full of shit. The best thing you can do for your sanity and that inner voice that causes you panic is to keep everyone up-to-date. But what happens when that list of mentors and investors becomes quite long? How do you keep so many people updated and ensure you are getting value from their advice? It’s actually really simple and comes down to two words; “STAY ORGANIZED!”
I know that may seem like I am simplifying this whole thing, but it really is pretty simple. Yet so many people do this wrong or, even worse, not at all. They’ll reach out to their investors and advisors when shit hits the fan. However, if you keep your mentors and investors up-to-date, the bad news will not come as a surprise and they can more easily help steer you clear of trouble. If you wait until things are pear-shaped their ability to help you will be greatly diminished, so will your credibility.
The best way you can keep your network up-to-date is to use a CRM. Most people swear by Hubspot as a viable way to manage your contacts, but the cost is a bit prohibitive if you are an early-stage company.
I use Google Docs. Yeah, I know it is a bit crude, but it’s free and I’m able to put together all of my contacts in a spreadsheet, outline when we last spoke, notes about our conversation, and a date for following up.
At the end of the day you have to find the tool that works for you. There are a lot of great resources to help you find the best tool that you can use, but the goal here is to make meaningful updates to your network that can help you on your journey. How often you update them is up to you. You can’t do this alone and having a network of people that have “been there, done that” are supremely valuable.