Do you believe that Venture Capital is the holy grail of entrepreneurship? If you do, you may be an entrepreneur for all the wrong reasons. Venture Capital is an enabler for different aspects to a business such as growth but at the end of the day, your product or service should be more important than landing venture capital.
The reason why I’m writing this post is that I meet with many entrepreneurs who are under the spell that raising venture capital automatically validates your business and almost guarantees that you will succeed. If you raise $10M in venture capital, it gives $10M reasons why you will not succeed; the odds are against you. The stakes are higher, every decision becomes riskier. You have $10M to spend and we all know how easy it is to spend money.
Venture capital is sexy. It’s like being able to drive a Ferrari. Being a member of FerrariChat.com, and actively involved in exotic car events around Westchester County, I can tell you that there are many owners of these cars who have no business driving them. It takes a certain type of person to be able to control these exotic vehicles, just look at all the Ferrari Enzo crashes. People who have $1M to spend on these gorgeous cars get behind the wheel, have no business driving them, and crash them within 36 hours of owning them. However, it is sexy to drive these cars…
Venture capital is much the same. Your goal as an entrepreneur is not to raise venture capital, but to build a sustainable business around a product and/or service. If you can do that without raising venture capital, all the power to you. Why give up equity when you do not have to? I’ve personally been on both sides of the fence and have had positive and negative experiences. It takes a gifted leader to balance a board of venture capitalists and ultimately, generating enough of a business to substantiate venture investment.
To all the burgeoning entrepreneurs out there, don’t think that raising capital is the end-all and be-all. If you can do it yourself, go right ahead. If you need to raise capital, be cautious and make sure you’re ready. Build traction and focus. Raising capital gives you minor validation to your business (someone believes in you to invest) but doesn’t guarantee success and should not be the holy grail of entrepreneurship.