J. Kelly Hoey

The WHY oh WHY Edition


Ah, Fall. Forget the leaves. Seems all anyone is talking about is Pumpkin Spice flavoring in and on everything, fundraising fundraising fundraising (or the probable changes in the fundraising season) and who is attending or speaking at which or what conference.

WHY?

Not why to Pumpkin Spice, but why to fundraising (why to worrying about fundraising) and why to conferences. Here’s why I suggest focusing on the why:

Why are you raising money just when you need it? Fundraising is like networking, it starts before you need to close the round. Urgency smacks of desperation and lack of focus.

Why aren’t you focusing on sales and revenue? As my friend Ray Walia would say “the best investor is a paying customer”.

Why do you even imagine you can raise money from complete strangers? People invest in people they know, respect and trust (note: I didn’t say like). Getting to know someone takes time, more than “can we grab a cup of coffee sometime” time. This guidance applies to crowdfunding efforts too. The platform simply facilitates collection of payments from people you know.

Why worry about a change in the funding market — unless you’ve pinned your startup dreams on other peoples’ money (then I’d suggest getting a J.O.B.). An investment is your venture is not a wealth transfer and frankly, a change in the funding climate would suit me just fine — then the market will discover who the true innovators and hustlers are. Why are you circulating a startup’s funding deck if you’re not directly investing? Don’t pass the deck unless you’re putting down a buck or two (or include a note why you’re not investing or passing on this deal). Tell me why I or any other investor should be interested beyond “have you met” “this is my”. My “why should I look at this needs more”, that’s why.

WHY GO?

As NYC heads into TechWeek and looking back on the past week, where entrepreneurs had access to stellar conferences packed with information and insights (such as S.H.E. Summit and Rock The World), I go back to Why. Before you include your credit card information on the registration form and hit send, ask yourself WHY this conference. Why does this conference improve your business, knowledge, skill set, industry connections….Why Why Why — as you when you look back at Q4 2015 do you want to see a bunch of accomplishments or lanyards?

WHY DID THE YPO APPROVE THIS?

Yes, the recent YPO conference which included top leadership speakers (such as adventurer, explorer, mountainer and New York Times best selling author, Alison Levine) on the speaker roster, also included naked women as cocktail hour entertainment. Paint-by-numbers nudity has its time and place (say, Burning Man, perhaps?) but a leadership event? Really? Why is this still happening at business conferences in 2015? Why is it so hard to dial in diversity and inclusiveness in all aspects of leadership — especially at networking events for peers? And WHY did it take a Twitter sh#tstorm for the YPO to realize this was a poor entertainment, I mean, LEADERSHIP decision?

WHY READ MORE?

Why should you read my latest “Ready, Set, Register” on Inc.com? Because I provide tactical insights on how to get more from your conference attendance before you even pickup your nametag and swag bag. And while we’re at it, why should you read my post “The Good, Ignored And Unprintable: A Guide For Entrepreneurs Pitching The Media” because you want to get your thought-leadership in the media, that’s why. BTW at the time this hits your inbox or as you’re reading this week’s newsletter, I’m on a 6:00 am flight to San Francisco to attend a one-day summit for startup CEOs. I’ll be back on the red-eye tonight. Why? The networking, enhancing existing connections plus a few more insights for my book, that’s my crazy why. As for Pumpkin, the host of Whine About It, Matt Bellassai has it more than covered, poncho, Fall leaves and all. “Pumpkin is a flavored manufactured by Starbucks”.

This post originally appeared in Innovator Insights, Kelly Hoey’s weekly newsletter. To get insights in your inbox, sign up here.

 

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