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Fundraising Your Food Startup: A three part series.

Funding. Say it out loud. Feel the hair on the back of your neck rise a little? Your pulse quicken? Your palms sweat? For the uninitiated, the concept of funding falls somewhere between busking in Barcelona and winning the lottery. It conjures either total humiliation (cue flashbacks to a skeptical relative reaching into sock drawers and counting out some twenties, slowly) or a vicarious euphoria (cue sharks, tanks and bagel balls).

For anyone remotely familiar with funding, it might even conjure hives, or a full-blown panic attack. We apologize. It’s something you’d rather not think about unless you absolutely have to. But that’s also, literally, the biggest mistake you can make with funding: letting fear stop you from learning about it and preparing yourself for it early on, no matter what your financial needs or longterm strategy might be.

Here’s the counterintuitive thing about those hives: Fear is actually a completely normal, healthy, even productive response to what is — let’s be honest — the most serious step you’ll have to make since starting your business. You SHOULD be afraid. It ensures that you take the process seriously and carefully, so you’re ready when that opportunity does arise.

However you take it, though — take the process you must.

We’re posting a series on the subject, covering SBLs, Crowdfunding and VCs, respectively, precisely to help you face that funding process head on. The sooner you get comfortable with the idea of funding — its varieties, terminologies, requirements, risks and rewards — the more accurately you’ll be able to anticipate and address opportunities when they arise.

There are things we can’t control in the marketplace, but being prepared to ask for financial support is NOT one of them. As every successful food business will attest, there is a very real and attainable sweet spot where the right kind of financial support makes a budding business go into full bloom.

Written by Monika Norwid