Looking for funds in all the wrong places? That's common among entrepreneurs, says Miles Spencer, who raised venture capital for small businesses for more than 10 years. When seeking financing, Spencer advises, "Focus on the appropriate personality of money for the deal." For example, there are only 1,200 venture deals done each year and 100,000-plus deals looking for funds. "VCs look for an opportunity to realize $50 million to $100 million in enterprise value in five years," he notes. "Most like to employ $1 million to $5 million of capital. If you can't hit those hurdles, don't spend too much time barking up that tree." Similarly, don't waste time applying for bank loans if your business doesn't have the requisite financial history and collateral; banks are not into taking risks.
In Moneyhunt: 27 New Rules for Creating and Growing a Breakaway Business (HarperBusiness, $25, www.moneyhunter.com), Spencer and Cliff Ennico, co-hosts of the PBS series of the same name, include advice on everything from launching to selling a business. By no means a motivational vehicle, Moneyhunt instead takes a look at the rigors faced by every start-up and offers sound advice for dealing with them.
Spencer, 34, founded his own business, Cove Associates, in Norwalk, Connecticut; Ennico, 38, author of seven books, is a nationally-recognized attorney specializing in small business. Their fast-paced book delivers strategies for finding capital and creating the legal and financial protection essential to well-run, profitable businesses.
Case in point: Rule 23, "Always Read Before You Sign," tells of an entrepreneur expecting first-round financing from an investor who kept trying to change the agreement. "They finally had the deal ironed out," Spencer relates, "and the business owner was about to launch, when the investor called to say he was faxing the documents with a slight change. He told her to sign and return the agreement. He neglected to say that the slight change-an addition of a few words-altered the entire deal. Most entrepreneurs get so excited by the prospect of money that they skim over the documents or make last-minute concessions to get the deal finished. It's a tragic mistake." Don't be led on a wild goose chase in your money hunt. Do your homework and keep a clear head.
Paul DeCeglie (MrWritePDC@aol.com) is a former staff reporter for Journal of Commerce and American Banker.