How to raise money (from me) in 2017

Whether you believe it or not, raising your first $500,000 is easier than it’s ever been. And raising your next $1,000,000 (or more) is harder than it’s ever been.

When I first started investing in startups around 2010, you could count the number of micro-VCs — funds under $100,000,000 — on one hand. In 2017, there are over 300 other firms registered in the same category (with at least that many more funds trying to raise funds in that same category).

A couple of things you can do to stand out of the crowd:

  • Don’t make basic mistakes. You can’t raise money on ideas. You can’t raise money on outsourced teams. You can’t raise money on complicated business models. Keep things simple. I wrote about this in 2014 and it’s still true today.
  • Build a business, not a startup. The world is full of people that talk about ideas. You should be focused on your customers. Once you sell one thing to one person you don’t know, you’ve got a business.
  • There’s no excuse for a bad pitch anymore. Not when hundreds — if not thousands — of other pitch decks from funded startups are posted all over the web. Find some here.
  • Stop chasing investor money. The best time to raise money is when you know how to use it to continue growing the business. Investors want to put money into sales companies, not product companies. You should view investor money as a tool to grow your business.

I can’t promise you the perfect pitch deck or fundraising formula but I can tell you that the bar continues to rise for entrepreneurs everywhere. My hope is that you’ll consider some of these ideas and raise the bar for yourself.

In the worse case, you’ll build a better business for yourself. In the best case, you’ll build a better business for yourself and raise some money to help speed things up along the way.

If you’re interested in picking up a few more tactical tips for your next fundraise, I created a free email course on fundraising for startups.

Originally published at Results Junkies.