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Striking a balance between sales, profits and cash flow may mean giving one the upper hand.

This story appears in the September 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Running a company is a balancing act, and striking the right balance is an important skill. But when it comes to raising money, achieving the perfect balance between sales, profits and cash flow might be the wrong thing to do. Strongly favoring one can create more funding opportunities.

Zorik Gordon, co-founder and CEO of online ad agency ReachLocal Inc., was definitely not thinking about balance when he went out looking for venture capital for his rapidly growing company. Founded in 2004 with $750,000 from a single angel investor, ReachLocal quickly proved that online advertising could be used to promote small local merchants. As sales picked up, ReachLocal needed serious capital to fuel growth. Profit was something to worry about later; Gordon was busy building the top line.

In Favor of Growth

"We are always hyperfocused on getting dollars in the door and showing that there's a viable business," says Gordon, 36, who's led ReachLocal through four rounds of VC funding totaling more than $67 million. "The analysis is that it is growing so fast, it will eventually throw off cash. If you want to get investors excited, companies that can really grow their revenue tend to be starting at the 50-yard line."

David Carlick, venture partner at VantagePoint Venture Partners, is among those who invested in ReachLocal early on. Venture capitalists know they will weather large short-term losses, he says. "A venture capital candidate has to show that they can grow rapidly and that their business model will be profitable. But they need the money to get there."

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