Jan 26, 2018
Should I Invest In My Own Business, Or Look For Investors?
Today's episode of Join Up Dots is inspired by a listener who asks a huge question, that plagues so many of us as we begin to create our dream businesses. Do we use our money on a business, or find someone to invest in our business....even if means us losing some equity Should we keep control of what we want in our life, if that means taking it slower (perhaps never getting to where we want to be) Well we were asked this: My name is Alistair, a Brit who lives in India, and I’m just about to embark on the startup journey for the first time. For my day job I do a lot of traveling. Today I happened across your podcast, and it made my 6 hour drive across northern India feel like time well spent! First, I’d like to say thank you for doing what you do. The reassurance that there’s so many out there in the same boat, and a friendly voice offering guidance, is invaluable. I’m from a fairly modest background, never struggling, but comfortable enough. I’m also relatively uneducated, having dropped out of college before completing my A levels. Since then, I’ve been working my way around as an outdoor instructor, which is what led me to India. I have been developing an app idea for around 8 months, and I’m about to take the plunge and spend the most amount of money I’ve ever had access to. It’s a small amount in the great scheme of things - £15,000 to develop and get the MVP off the ground - but for me, it’s everything. I often hear the phrase “never invest your own money”, but at the stage I’m at, no-one is going to be queuing up with their cheque book. Neither would I be interested, as they’d want, quite rightly, a great big chunk of equity. So, my question is, which of the following scenarios sounds most sensible? 1 - I head out now, with nothing more than a well developed idea, a bunch of projections and revenue forecast assumptions, and go in search of angel investors to drum up enough money to get the app developed, knowing that I’ll have to give away large amounts of equity 2 - I go as far as I can with the money available - money my mother would rather I spend on bricks and mortar - develop the MVP, and, hopefully, get some real data and a little traction, with which I could back up my proposal to investors further down the line The second subject that you may have talked about before; I hate asking for money… Perhaps it’s my background, but I dread the thought of asking for tens of thousands and negotiating equity for my little app idea. My boss, a very well educated, well off, Cambridge alumnus, seems to have no qualms about raising half a million, even though I know for a fact he knows as much about his new venture as I do mine. Is asking for money a common concern of your listeners? Thank you for your time. Warm Regards, Alistair And now for the second question of the day, where our listener is doing quite well in his life, but has got to a point where he feels lost. Should he go back to Mexico, or should he start a business where he is. Hi. David I will use “Sailor aimlessly” as subject of the message. Not sure if you read and reply to all messages you get, and I do not want to waste your time, therefore I will go straight to my point: Until a few months ago I was clear about what I was doing with my professional life, set goals and met them all. Today I sail aimlessly, have many ideas but I have not been able to land them and define what my next step should be, it is a terrible feeling and the reason why I am looking for help. In case you are interested in my case, find below a summary of my most recent story: Long story short, I am Mexican living in Ireland for the last 2 years, almost 36 years old, 12 years married and we have 3 beautiful daughters (Valentina, Mikaela & Emma). Since young age with different ideas, active, impatient; I finished high school and left Mexico to pursue my dream, I wanted to be a professional soccer player; tried it in the USA but it did not work, but I decided to stay as illegal working to raise some money and buy my other dream (a motorcycle – it was later robbed in Mexico). Soccer helped me finish my studies, got a scholarship in one of the most prestigious private universities in Mexico to play for the institution. During College, I set the goal of studying abroad and had the opportunity to live in Austria for 6 months doing a Global Business Program at FH Joanneum University. I come from an entrepreneur family, during my childhood sold cheeses, washed cars, worked in stationers and I was a soccer coach for kids; I started working full time for Mexican government age 22; at the same time I was doing College studies, I was a husband and father of my first kid. After a while, I decided to quit that job and move into private sector, it was a family business owned by a friend of mine, I knew the salary and benefits were lower but I did not want to make a career in politics; Once I finished my Major in Business Administration (2006), defined that I wanted to work for a global company, maybe it would give me the opportunity to live / work abroad, I wanted to compare how things work outside of my country. This also became a reality in 2007, since then I have been working for a Global Food company (the last 10 years), I have had the opportunity to live in 3 different countries (Mexico, Brazil and Ireland), I have done different roles within the organization (Procurement, Supply Chain, Sales, Cost/Pricing, Finance), sometimes company needs, in other occasions it was me looking for new challenges. Couple of years ago (while working) opened a bar with some friends, it did not work and we had to close it; besides the lost money these experience left me many learnings (maybe for a different conversation) … I also invested in the family business, we produce tomatoes in greenhouses, I have not seen any income from it as we agreed to reinvest and expand/growth the business. A month ago to distract my head and use my time, I download an app and invested few euros, started trading commodities via CFD, I have to admit it is good fun. I have thought about changing residence again looking for growth within the company, finding a new job, opening a business in Ireland, return to Mexico and diversify the family business. I feel like I'm in a comfort zone, the company I work for gives me stability and a secure income, the questions I've been asking myself are: what do I want, what is next, where should I be, what should I do and when is the right time? And I have not been able to answer them and set up my plan. I am clear, more money is definitely an important piece but also I want to help others – must likely in Mexico – but I need to find my internal peace first. Any ideas or advice is welcome. Thank Rodrigo