I have two crowdfunding experiences – and over the years have met 100s of investors. I found that the investors you meet when crowdfunding fall broadly into ten categories. Some good, some not so good.
If you’re crowdfunding, read on for a useful heads-up. If you have experienced crowdfunding, my views may resonate! If you invest in crowdfunding businesses and you identify yourself in one of the categories, this message is for you.
1. To the ones looking for a girlfriend
I get it, you don’t know many girls and you’re not sure where to meet them. A female founder or female team crowdfunding is not the answer to this problem. Try Match or Tinder – or a bar. It’s not okay to lure me to a meeting [one sided date], knowing I’ll be my most professionally engaging so that you can get that hit of female interaction that normally eludes you. It’s not okay, because well, it’s just not okay, but I’m more annoyed because I’m busy; you’ve wasted my time and my energy. And I care deeply about both.
2. To the trouble makers
I’m not sure what your day job is, but you have too much time on your hands. You choose to use it hounding the crowdfunding entrepreneur who wears their plans and dreams on their sleeve.
You ask attacking questions in the public forum. Your objective being to deter other investors and show that you’re smart. Generally, you’re not smart; especially when you irrelevantly copy and paste questions you posted in another campaign, that’s also been under your pointless fire, into mine. Instead of spending time with friends (if you have any), you choose to write and share vindictive and defamatory blogs full of inaccuracies.
Of course, questions and challenges are fine from people considering parting with their hard-earned cash. But both you, I and the founders of the other campaigns you have been launching grenades at, know that you never part with any cash. You’re not an investor, so stop hanging out in a place you don’t belong.
3. To the puffs of smoke
We met; we chatted; we lunched; we emailed. You had a lot of questions. We answered them all. It felt positive – you said it was positive. So, what happened? We don’t mind if you decide not to invest, it’s really not a problem. But what we’re not so hot on is being left hanging – forever. I’m pretty sure you’d find it rude if I walked off in the middle of a conversation but that’s kind of what you’ve done. Hours invested our side and not a peep from you. Please just be straight. This means our lasting memory of you is positive, rather than as just a small puff of smoke.
4. To the ones that make you meet them for a tenner
There is nothing but heartfelt thanks and deep gratitude to you for backing us; whether £10 or £10,000. However please understand that it’s the big clips that move the dial. The smaller pledges help with momentum and morale but are sadly not the fast track to champagne and party poppers.
Three meetings and two calls to decide to make a £10 investment makes it really hard for me to do my job. Try to see things from my side; visualise in front of you a large stone and a steep hill you are tasked with pushing it up. Thank you for your support and please continue to provide it but please try to see the bigger picture, which when you invest is in all our interests.
5. To the total time wasters
You knew from the start you were not going to part with any cash. But there’s something you enjoy about being chased and wanted – being in a position of power. You claim to have something that I need so you can tease and toy with me. I don’t know that you’re a time waster. I believe what you’ve told me and the line you’ve spun. Why wouldn’t I? You’re in my ‘committed’ spreadsheet because you’ve told me it’s on. But it’s not on, is it. To you I say get your kicks elsewhere or better still, stop kicking.
6. To the ones that don’t make you happy – but who do things right
You looked at the business and it wasn’t the right investment for you. Fair dos. I’d prefer that you felt differently but I thank you for your consideration, your quick decision, your feedback and parting words of support. It really is appreciated.
7. To the undercover hawkers
I understand that you’re looking for creative ways to market your services and reach new customers. But for those that prey on the crowdfunding entrepreneur, please stop it. I can’t overlook however, that it is quite a smart move by you.
Firstly, you know I’m a relevant customer because you’ve seen my business plan – secondly, you know that soon I’ll have cash to spend – thirdly, you know I’ll travel across town to your doorstep to meet you – all for the fourth, the privilege of you selling me services under the guise of investment – web development, business consultancy, brokers, branding, you name it.
Do you have cash to invest? It’s unknown. But what is known is that any investment is intrinsically linked to me also taking the services on offer. How could you possibly be comfortable that your investment is in safe hands otherwise, right?
8. To the straightforward investor
You were a dream. You looked at the plan, you asked sensible questions and then you made a significant pledge to the campaign. The end.
9. To the “Really? Not even a tenner?” ones
You don’t know what you’ve done. I had no doubt you would back me, it wasn’t even a question in my mind. I have fallen over myself to help you over years, through introductions, advice, business or personal support and when I really needed you, I get tumbleweed.
You should have pledged something, £10 is fine. You might think my business is terrible and that I’m wasting my time – that’s okay. But support my choices anyway, the same way you asked me to support yours when I helped you with that document, put a word in with that chap or introduced you to someone that’s now a client. To do nothing is not okay. A small pledge tells me you’ve acknowledged what I’m doing and that you know it matters to me. Please don’t ignore me.
10. To the pleasant surprises
You know who you are. You are the wonderful supporter who stepped up without prompting – an old colleague, a Facebook friend (the source of our relationship forgotten), a family friend. You. The champion. The one that backed me with cash, time, support – or all three. Thank you.
If you’d like to talk more about this, come and meet me at dinner. You can see when I’ll next be dining from my profile.
If you’re thinking about raising money for your business, you can meet a variety of investors at TableCrowd dinners:
Post by Kate Jackson
Founder at TableCrowd