What’s going on?
That’s not a rhetorical question.
When we first spoke you said you didn’t want “dumb money”. You wanted someone that could add value beyond just writing a check.
I liked the concept you were pitching and I thought I could be useful to you. Maybe not straight away, but certainly further down the line as you started hitting some problems that I’ve dealt with before in my own career.
So I put my money in. I was excited to see where you would take the business.
Early on you sent out a couple of emails to all the investors letting us know how things were progressing, But they became less frequent and finally stopped altogether a while back.
I see your blog posts and your social media updates, and it seems you’re doing OK. But I know that there’s more to the story. I heard on the grapevine that your marketing guy moved to a competitor 3 months after joining. I see some of your customers complaining about the speed of development.
We, your shareholders, expect you to have problems. We’re realists. We know things never run smoothly. We knew you wouldn’t hit the numbers in your deck, we knew you were overly optimistic about a lot of things, but we invested regardless. We can help with this stuff. And if we can’t, we can put you in touch with someone who can. But if we don’t know about the issues until too late then there’s nothing we can do.
It’s in our interests that you succeed. So we’re going to do whatever we can to help.
When you took on outside investors you sold a part of your company. I don’t mean to sound like an asshole here, but we own a piece of your company — so it’d be good to know what’s going on with it.
I met with ___ ____ the other day, as you know he’s a very active investor in your space. He was asking me how the business is growing and how soon you’d be ready for another round of investment. I wish I could have told him something, anything.
When you do start your next round, this is what’s going to happen. More of your potential investors are going to reach out to us seed guys asking our view of the business, the team, the market opportunity. In an ideal world I’d be able to forward on your monthly updates complete with the important metrics and tell them what I think. But as it stands, I probably know as much about what’s going on there as anyone else who follows you on Twitter.
Having early investors that can confidently refer you up the funding chain is going to be increasingly important as the funding environment changes.
Please don’t think I’m pissed at you. I’m not. I know how hard it is growing a business from nothing. I’ve been there. I wish that when I was doing it I had people I could call on for help, people that could empathise with the challenges I was facing and offer some practical advice. I didn’t have that. But you do, and you’re not using it.
I know you feel like you have better things to do with your time than send us an update every month. But if you do it right, get a process around it, it doesn’t need to take long. And as long as you’re honest and don’t try to present a rosy picture, then you’ll find it incredibly useful. Not only because we’ll be able to jump in and offer relevant advice at the right time, but because sending monthly updates helps YOU to see a snapshot of where you’ve got to and what YOU need to focus on.
If you’re willing to give it a go then check out supdate.com. It will make the reporting process really easy and ensure your reports are consistent and useful. For example, for a metric you just type in the one number for the month and it automatically produces graphs like these.
Do the right thing and help us to help you.