CEN Blog Post by Helen Watts
As someone who sees over 100 business plans every day, Bill Morrow, co-founder and CEO of Angels Den, knows a thing or two about start-ups. His company connects 18,000 business angels with fledgling start-ups and has grown to become Europe and Asia’s biggest angel network, with hundreds of new angels applying to join each month. Cass Entrepreneurs Network recently had the privilege of hosting Bill when he came to give a talk about raising money and we’ve written down some of his most valuable tips:
It’s not just about the money
To begin with, Bill pointed out that raising money is relatively straight-forward for many start-ups and there are multiple ways to do this. However, this comes with a caution: “every business plan comes to us asking for the wrong thing… money. What [entrepreneurs] really need is mentorship, business experience and they really, really need contacts”. He pointed out that while a good idea is important, a real business also needs “systems, controls and processes” if it is going to succeed.
Explain the business plan as clearly as possible
The most difficult question every entrepreneur will face is “tell me about your business” and Bill points out that if you do not explain this in a way that a normal human being can understand, your business will fail. What’s more, entrepreneurs need to be someone that an angel investor will want to hang out with; angel investors will invest in someone they like and can imagine spending time with.
Entrepreneurs need humility and passion
Bill emphasised the importance of humility, on both the start-up side and the angel investor side. In his words, “you have to understand what you don’t know” and be open to advice from others. Entrepreneurs also need passion, as starting a business is “really, really hard” and this inner drive will help you to overcome the inevitable obstacles. In Bill’s words, “you have to be able to deliver what you do with passion.”
Helen Watts is a Full-time MBA student at Cass, who helps write content for CEN.