10 mistakes not to make after a fundraise
Fundraising is a bit like a marathon. You are constantly challenged, tested over time and come out of it exhausted. A thousand times you have thought of giving up. But you stayed focused on the finish line. You persevered. And once you've won, you're euphoric. Gorged with dopamine, full of adrenaline, you finish on your knees but full of energy. Bravo, you did it! You can be proud. And now what? Don't think the race is over. You'll have to avoid a few more obstacles...
1. Go on a talent hunt
Bingo! You've bailed out and now all you can think about is opening the floodgates. You want to go faster, further and with the best team. Recruit, recruit, and recruit again. Sure, it makes the company grow, it refreshes minds and boosts performance. But if you want to rush things, you run the risk of stumbling and falling.
Recruiting in quantity very quickly increases the risk of letting an unsuitable profile slip through the net. A bad catch that will not be without consequences for the cohesion and values of the company. So take your time. Do you want to recruit? Go step by step...
2. Let go of your first fans
The wind of victory is blowing and you are already imagining yourself conquering the market. Getting a big contract with a company that is known to all would obviously be great... However, be careful not to let down your early customers. They may be small, lost in the crowd, but they believed in you when everyone else ignored you. They supported you and are now your first ambassadors. Now is the time to thank them for their loyalty, at the risk of provoking the famous telephone operator syndrome (you know, that's how you feel when your operator offers a promotional rate to its new customers while you've been paying double without saying anything for the last 5 years).
To avoid this, allocate a dedicated budget to these loyal customers. Surprises, events, end-of-year gifts, little touches, it's time to pamper them!
3. Do not escalate your team
There are the first clients to be rewarded and there are also the first employees. Those who have left everything, permanent employment in a large group or higher salary, to join the adventure. This is not the time to forget them. In the early stages of a startup, it's normal, budgets are tight. You've probably chosen more junior profiles, or encouraged them to make a financial effort to build your crack team. A fundraiser is great news for your company, so take the opportunity to reward those without whom none of this would have been possible.
Make sure you give opportunities to those who have been with you since day one. They are the guardians of the temple, the guarantors of your company's culture on whom you have every interest in relying to help your teams grow. Before recruiting from outside, first ask yourself which employees to promote, upgrade or train... Otherwise, you run the risk of breaking the energy of your company and demotivating your most loyal soldiers.
4. Neglecting your corporate culture
Running after a good fundraising, doing everything to be first, increasing your performance, it's important. You cultivate the image of a company that works, that even goes for it! But the essential is probably hidden inside.
Lurking in the shadows, the team is the engine. When you recruit a lot and new faces are coming on board, you tend to neglect the cohesion, the values and the DNA of the company: its culture! Your new recruits need to feel integrated, just as your former employees will appreciate not feeling abandoned on the bench. This is the time to unite. Organise afterwork sessions, onboarding sessions, moments of exchange and sharing. Don't forget that behind the company's figures are human beings who believe in you and your project!
5. Falling for office space
Fundraising is often an opportunity for the company to expand. The team and the offices are expanded. You have dreamed of these new offices. Just like your company, closer to your home, more spacious, brighter, more comfortable... A tempting advertisement, an enticing visit, and here you are about to sign a commercial lease that commits you for 9 years. Not so fast!
There are alternatives to the traditional "3-6-9" commercial lease. Among the innovative options that allow you to gain flexibility, Deskeo installs you in a ready-to-use and 100% personalised space, all with conditions adapted to your needs (length of commitment, security deposit, initial investment, etc.). Ideal for quickly finding the office space of your dreams while keeping the money from your fundraising to invest in your growth: recruitment, communication... Think about it!
6. Navel gazing
When it comes to communication, having money to spend can make you lazy. This is the trap of thinking that now that you can afford advertising space, it finally gives you the opportunity to shout from the rooftops that your product is the best. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule: 80% content, 20% self-promotion. Use your budget to produce more content relevant to your targets (articles, infographics, studies, white papers...) and then promote them in the right places.
Continue to ask yourself the right questions that will allow you to attract the attention of your targets. Whatever the medium used (social networks, display, etc.), your campaigns will always be more effective if they are geared towards your customers and not towards you.
7. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater
New funds, new people, new premises, new tools... When new perspectives are offered to us, we tend to wipe out the past. Especially since thousands of salespeople will be lining up at the door to sell you their solutions. Beware, change can be disorientating!
By trying to shake up habits, you risk destabilising your teams. Don't forget what has worked in the past. Not everything has to be thrown away. If you managed to raise funds, it is probably because you were not doing your job so badly. More efficient CRM, SAAS tools, services, even if you can now afford them, go gradually and support your teams who are surely less daring!
8. Paying for all the tours
After the fundraising race, you are euphoric. You feel like you've got wings. You probably feel a sense of superpower worthy of the high performance athletes. And, like those athletes, you will probably celebrate the victory. A fundraiser, like a marathon, is a celebration and you buy the drinks. This is the number one mistake of the "post-fundraising" period: thinking you are Croesus.
Once the money is in your pocket, you will be tempted to be less careful about expenses and end up with a multitude of new small recurring charges which, when added up, could leave a big hole in the company's wallet. So be careful, keep the good financial habits that got you to this point. Choose sparingly!
9. Losing sight of the original goal
With your fundraising, you feel like you are finally playing in the big league. New framework, new rules of the game. Raising money is a big change for your company. Don't rush into it. Get your bearings and watch. To stay on track, stick to the plan you have drawn up in advance.
In order to convince investors, you have set a course, budgeted for the items you want to invest in and defined what you want to change internally. Keep this plan in mind, it is the route to follow. Re-read it regularly to make sure you are not straying too far from it, and if you are, ask yourself if you are losing sight of your original goal!
10. Resting on your laurels
This is the lot of any event. Once you cross the finish line, you relax and celebrate your victory. The trauma is forgotten and, relieved, the runner will soon rest on his laurels... Fundraising is deceptive. It is never an end in itself, it does not mark the end of the race, but only the end of a stage. You still have a long way to go. It is therefore better to save your strength and make sure you do not slacken off, intensify your efforts and do not forget what made you successful!
As you will have understood, there is no point in running, you have to start on time. Fundraising is a good example of this. Once you've won, continue to move slowly; that's what will guide you to the top.
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