Oct 13, 2009 - Business    No Comments

Asking for Money is a Time-Suck

Hindsight is always 20/20.

Before we started making the rounds with our hat in-hand, we received the advice: “Acquiring customers is a hell of a lot easier than securing funding.”

Great advice, I remember thinking – from someone who hasn’t raised any money.  If only I’d listened.

For the past 4 months we’ve met with anyone who would grant us a sit-down, pitched our company at several events, and have generally done everything we could think of to make ourselves desirable to anyone with a buck to invest.   “Great technology,” we’ve heard.  “Interesting space to operate,” we’ve been told.   “Come talk to us when you have more traction.”

And maybe they will.   But I have a sneaking suspicion that this may, instead, be a not-so-subtle way of saying: “When your customers are paying your bills and you no longer need our money, we’d love to talk with you.”

Fair enough.  Sometimes business is game where you learn the rules as you play.  But, man, what I’d give now to have had that message sink in 4 months ago.

Instead of having spent hundreds of hours putting spit an polish on yet another targeted slide deck illustrating how our business is going to break through the SMB firewall and actually land those coveted customers, I could have spent the same time and energy working one-on-one with the customers we actually do have to make our product even better for them.  I’ll take an evangelist over a promotion any day.

To have all of that time spent sitting in consultation with countless angels, attorneys and VC’s (oh my!) back —  to instead have invested that time in heads-down development of our top-five feature list — I can’t begin to imagine how much further ahead our application could be.

I don’t deny the networking benefits that we’ve accrued as a result of our efforts.  We’ve met a great number of people whom I’m sure we will be able to call on in the future.  Getting your name out there is sometimes the hardest part, and this time spent has certainly done that.

But in the end, we’ve invested a lot of time in talking — rather than doing — and that is time we will never be able to get back.

There’s no need for you to head down the same path.  Listen to those sage words:  “Acquiring customers is a hell of a lot easier than securing funding.”

[Ed Note:] This post originally appeared on the Bluyah Development Blog.