Last month, we kicked off the 2013 Experience Talks series, which will feature monthly lunch panel discussions alternating with evening sessions over the course of the spring and summer.

Our first installment focused on the process of raising capital and the reasons for choosing a particular funding strategy. Read on for some words of wisdom from our four speakers:

  • Phil Beene / Nudge“One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not start fundraising soon enough.” Estimate how long you think it will take to fundraise, and how much money you’ll need. Now take those numbers, and double them. Why? Because even the best-laid plans hit roadblocks. Prepare for detours, and start early.
  • John Sweet / Niedlov’s Bakery“We are all bootstrappers up here. We do whatever it takes.” Sweet didn’t want to give up any ownership, so he chose to get funding from banks and friends. Before fundraising, determine your own values and priorities. Knowing what’s important to you will help you choose the best strategy for your company.
  • Jonathan Mansfield / D+J Brand Consulting: “With crowd funding, it’s all about transparency.” A lot of investment conversations happen behind closed doors; with crowd funding, it’s different. That can be a good thing – in addition to capital, you’re getting market recognition. But when your market is fronting the money for your business, they want to know exactly what you’re doing with it. Honesty and open communication are non-negotiables for a successful crowd funding campaign.
  • Jay Jumper / SIGniX: “You have to know when to walk away.” Not all investments are created equal: You have to consider the source. It may be hard to say no to capital, especially when you really (really) need it. But it’s a nightmare when you have an investor who doesn’t believe in the vision of your company. Before accepting an offer, however tempting it may be, make sure the person on the other side of the table is on board with your corporate objectives.

Be sure to join us March 26 for our next event, “Balance in Business.”