When Arman and I first began planning our “bring to market strategy” for our innovative world's first adjustable catch bolt lock - Ajustlock, we had so many ideas. Finding out which one is going to be reality is the tough part. Just about every entrepreneur is off track on their projections. Usually only the large established corporations have the experience and resources to predict the future path of a product and they are often wrong as well.
This plan has to be realistic enough for investors to consider the risk. Even if your position in year 1 looks nothing like your initial map it doesn't matter as long as you are getting the job done. I remember one investor looking me in the eye and saying “let’s see if you can pull this off”. He knew how hard this task was going to be and still is right now as I write this post.
Our plan was to get on the shelves of the small retailers in year one and deal with the big boys and international markets in year 2 and 3. Well, life changed that plan real quick. We debuted in Vegas in May and every large US and International retailer approached us to work out a deal to get our innovative adjustable slide bolt lock and other barrel bolt lock products onto their shelves. This is a good problem to have but it requires a huge shift. We have been rearranging our plan to meet this demand ever since. Of course, like most start-ups, we need to raise more capital and we are about to begin that process now. Getting our production ramped up for these orders cost money, the deals take longer which requires us to have sustaining cash flow to get us there, and the payment terms are longer which means we won’t see checks for 90-120 days after delivery of shipment. It is a lot more work and faster than expected but it gets us in the whole market, not just a piece of it, faster than anticipated.
We could have raised more money in the first round but we had already spent over a year raising our seed capital and we needed to launch. We knew that we could always raise more money after/if we received a positive response from the market, and we did receive that response. Many of our investors told us we were going to need more capital than our initial raise, and we agreed, but we did think there was a chance we could grow organically if we hit the small stores first. Well, our investors we right.
If you have ever seen an episode of Shark tank, which I am sure you have, the Sharks often say that they know that a project is going to need more than the initial capital the Entrepreneur is asking for. There are many tolls on the way to success. It is often a good practice when writing a business plan and financial projections to mock-up a worst case scenario where you will need more cash to get to your goal. Arman and I wrote out many versions or probable futures. Be honest and transparent with your investors and you will succeed no matter what happens. Let them know how you are doing whether good or bad. No one likes bad news but it is better than sugar coated s—t.
We have to be flexible and adapt to what the world is asking. We can’t stick to the script all the time, like in a movie. We have to improvise on the spot. It is an exciting adventure of spontaneity. It is nerve racking but has a start-up ever been relaxing and calming? Keep your energy high and enjoy every moment of the journey. If you had the courage to sail that ship into the unknown than I believe you have the persistence to see your project through to the end. Dig deep down inside your SELF. You have a rich mine of inner resources that will help you accomplish anything you focus your whole Heart on.