I thought raising money to support Purple Lab would be easy. I really envisioned that I'd be talking to some uber-sucessful executive (I don't know... say... Warren Buffet) about the idea, my vision for marketing and future products, the brand image and he/she would just be so impressed, a check would be written. A partnership would be formed.
I was wrong.
Some of my friends are the fruit of the loins from incredibly successful parents. One, on the Forbes 400 wealthiest men in the world (WORLD!) list. Another, the owner of $1 billion in real estate holdings. And my journalistic days also brought me in contact with moguls and magnates and CEOs and plenty of well funded individuals I was able to call upon for a meeting.
When I started making calls, they asked to see my executive summary (that is just a one pager about the brand/offering in a professional, concise fashion) and P&L. P&L? I didn't have the stomach to ask what it was.
Google knew. A profit and loss sheet (I would have known had I gone to business school as my parents hoped when I crushed their dreams of becoming a doctor by bailing on med school).
Honestly, I didn't know what I was doing, how to put any of these documents together, what kind of projections would be realistic. So I did what anyone would do -- updated my Facebook status to plead for help.
An old editor of mine from Marie Claire said that was what her husband did. So we met Harvard-educated Jake Hill of Hayfield Capital, a boutique financial advisory who specializes in working with emerging companies on their fundraising.
After a head spinning three hour conversation, it was clear that I was out of my league and needed to bring him in, a big gun. It took about four months but when it was all said and done, we had a comprehensive, five inch thick plan with all kinds of Excel and spread sheets, projections, and plans. It actually forced us to think about our business in a larger scale way -- where would we expand over time, employees, trainers who go into stores to train staff, rotators who visit stores and help sell the brand to consumers, e-commerce... and it was also becoming clear that the old methods -- rotators, trainers, things you need for brick and mortar stores -- was dead. Our plan was heavily focused on e-commerce and (ideally) direct to consumer models through TV (HSN, I'm comin' for you).
Did I mention the retainer that put us another 40k in the hole? It was worth it, though. I don't think I could ever have done that on my own. And then the real meetings with investors began. It wasn't pretty. More on that -- and the biggest manufacturing nightmare that nearly had me on mood stabilizers -- next time.
Purple Lab Creatrix