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Raising Capital & Strategy—Fail: Focusing on the Details

May 23, 2018

 

In prior posts, we discussed that you need an outline business plan, strategic financial planning model, and a company presentation to raise capital. For each of these pieces, being too “in the details” or too “in the clouds” can cause your raise and company to fail. This week we'll address being too in the details.

 

When looking at how people work, have you ever had this thought about one of your managers?

 

I’m tired of being micromanaged! She’s on my ass every day about the details of my work. I have no idea how my work fits into where the company is going!

 

It’s unproductive for the organization and frustrating personally to have a manager or founder who is in the details much of the time.

 

Fundamentals

How much you focus on the details comes from your history, tendencies, learnings, and what you think you’re good at. Those of us who are analytical typically gravitate towards the details or tactics. Making lists, executing and completing tasks—these are all details.

 

Yes, the details need to get done, but not necessarily by you!

 

Key Point: If you spend most of your time in the details, you cannot effectively run your business.

 

As you read the rest of this post and the related posts to follow, ask yourself these questions:

 

   - Do I operate mostly in the details or in the clouds?

   - What do my peers and colleagues say?

 

The Details

Let’s say that a founder is working on raising a Series A round for a new product—a pair of augmented reality (A/R) glasses. She’s standing in the middle of the triangle below and ready to take on the details related to selling her product. She’s facing the business plan head-on and is close to it physically, so she's in the details.

 

When the founder has spent enough time reviewing the business plan details, she can turn and focus on the details of the financial plan. From here, she can use her custom financial model to understand how the business plan details affect the company.

 

She can experiment with different operating scenarios by changing the model inputs for unit pricing, cost of the retail store floor displays and packaging, display location in the store, and many others. She can then look at the results from her financial model outputs.

 

Outputs she can review include company valuation, cash flow, needed raise amounts, timing, and personnel requirements. She’ll be able to see how each operating decision affects the business and start to hone the best business case.

 

With her model outputs in hand, she can then turn back to the business plan and ask other detailed questions, such as: For each case, does she need more or fewer salespeople? More or less marketing spend? Better positioning within the store? A lower cost of goods sold? More investment capital?

 

Next she'll turn to the company presentation and start putting together the investor deck using the information from the detailed work on the business and financial plans.

 

The process for developing strategy and raising capital is iterative: She'll go through each of these three components hundreds of times to fine tune the business before presenting her compelling case to investors.

 

Problem

With everything that she's done above, there’s something big missing in the founder’s efforts.

 

She's missing the clouds. Things like creativity, being open to new ideas, brainstorming with her team, what customers want, and what’s happening in the marketplace, to name a few.

 

Why? Because she’s focused in the details.

 

What’s Next?

Getting you out of the details. Next post we’ll address how to do this and broaden your perspective, helping you to see what you're missing when the details are you main focus.

 

Key Point: The best founders and managers seamlessly move between business details and high-level ideas hundreds of times each day.

 

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Getting stuck in the details. Need skilled expertise to navigate strategy? Schedule a one-hour video call with us here to find out how we can help.

 

Until next week!

 

All the best,

 

 

 

 

 

 

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