educational

Raising Investment Capital

Domenic R. Merenda
A wealth of books have been written on the subject of attracting investors to a mainstream business idea – be it a lemonade stand or a fleet of airliners. Searching for venture capital to grease the wheels of an adult enterprise not only limits the potential field of candidates, but frequently requires an in-depth plan, admission to the "club" of the adult community, or both.

When seeking financing for an adult project such as a film or website, the uniqueness of the production and the potential niche market are the chief concerns. If your idea expands past a single engagement to that of a sustainable business, the uniqueness you seek is the company's position to provide a product or service. If a larger company can easily slide into your target niche and blow you out of the sky, it's time to think of a strategy that holds more water over the long term.

Assuming your idea has legs enough to stand the test of defensibility, your next hurdle is proving that you are the man (or woman) for the job. If a team is required to make the project fly, you would also be advised to demonstrate their suitability for the roles you have assigned to them. Although many investors prefer to see a candidate who has "been there" and "done that," a first-time foray into the industry isn't necessarily a sure ticket to a rejection letter. If any investment is to prove viable, desire, motivation, and consistent effort must all play crucial roles in its success. New blood tends to provide the vitality and drive to see a project through, and can stack up well against tried and true candidates, if presented correctly. Keep in mind, however, that no one is interested in forking over money for you to learn on the job. Acquire the necessary knowledge before even thinking about submitting a plan.

When dealing with an investor in the adult industry, remember that a cohesive idea is worth more than reams of projections and speculations on the marketplace. Savvy investors may see synergy beyond what you've accounted for, and some will only contribute capital if such a benefit exists. By concentrating on laying out your plans in a comprehensive (but succinct) format rather than poring over a spreadsheet full of projections and guesswork, you will give an investor all of the information they need to make an informed decision. This isn't to say that one should leave projections completely out of a plan, or inflate them to unrealistic proportions, but instead that these figures provide a framework for discussion and not the detailed formulation of the plan's execution.

Another key to a successful presentation is avoiding the over-use of buzzwords. While it's comforting to know that a member of management involved with a potential investment knows the difference between the total available market (TAM) and the serviceable available market (SAM), seeing a business plan that goes out of its way to use these words is a warning sign that the author is trying to obscure their lack of knowledge with a multitude of arcane phrases.

Above and beyond the plan itself is its presentation and follow up. While many ideas have been funded on the backs of napkins over a drink at Internext, why leave your dreams to chance? Taking the time to provide a well formulated plan in a readable format as well as consistent and professional follow up can mean the difference between going forward and just going home. Investors view the inability to promptly return phone calls and respond in a timely fashion to emails as a warning flag they'd like to avoid.

Straighten your tie (or your tie dye, if your that's your thing), polish your shoes, and always remember to post the results of your new projects on the forums so we can all be jealous of your success!

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