Stop looking for funds. Start looking for trust

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In my experience, knocking on doors and approaching angels and venture capitalists (VCs) is altogether the wrong approach. For a start it is what everyone else is doing, which means you are just one of many. Never a good place to be.

The trick then, in my experience, is not to go looking for funding, but to search for trust.

 
Step 1
Identify half a dozen people that are respected in their industry (it doesn’t even have to be your industry). You are looking for people that would be recognised in their industry, but who are not so famous that they are already receiving requests like this.

Step 2
Do your research and then reach out to them.  

 
Step 3
Pitch them on joining your advisory board in a way that they can’t say no. Focus entirely on what they will get out of it.

 
Step 4
With your advisory board in place now, spend the next 2-3 months doing what you told them you would do – hiring team, signing up clients, finding partners, etc. Make sure you drop them a brief email introducing the other Advisors and updating them regularly on your progress. 

 
Step 5
You now have a solid advisory board that should have a growing amount of trust for you as someone that gets stuff done. At this point, it is worth getting them all together, and bouncing off them your plan for the next 12-36 months.

It will become apparent that to achieve your goals you need funding.  At which point, you turn to your advisors and ask them what they would do in your situation.

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