No company is perfect. If you wait to talk to venture capitalist investors until your company is completely polished in all aspects, you could miss the optimum fundraising window. Investors want a little bit of risk still left in the company because it enables them to buy a good chunk of equity while the company is relatively cheap and can grow fast.
That’s where thinking strategically about risks comes in. Plan your company’s development around the risks that you’ll leave unsolved and the risks that you choose to overcome early in development.
Some planning choices are easy because they follow a reasonable progression; you can’t submit a patent until you’ve designed the product, for example. Other planning decisions have to be made when you have less obvious path.
Answer the following questions to get yourself thinking about the company attributes that you need to address early:
Product development: If your product has a long development time, can you sell a component of the larger product as a smaller product now?
Marketing: Will customers actually pay for your product? Are you sure your customers have money available to buy your product? If so, how badly do they need it?
Sales: What are your sales channels? Do you know the best way to reach your customer?
Team: Do you have all the people that you need to grow this company greatly in the next 18 months? If not, is this opportunity compelling enough for you to recruit the right individuals?
Notice that this list doesn’t include the question, “Is my whiz-bang product ready to go?” Why? Because a finished product is not necessarily the biggest goal for your company.
Your company first needs to be sure that a customer exists for the product. Until someone is interested in buying your product and/or actually pays money for your product, you can’t be sure that your company has a product worth creating.