And probably not for the reasons that you expect either...<...>
My steepest learning curve this year has been related to the intricacies related to fundraising and investors (something which was alien to me before as a bootstrapped entrepreneur).
One of the new disciplines I've learnt has been to send a monthly update / report to all of Receiptful's investors. To understand what I needed to do in this regard, I relied heavily on two resources:
- This article by Jason Calacanis does a great job of explaining the various benefits of actually sending out these monthly updates.
- As an investor, I've been getting Buffer's monthly updates for the last couple of years and have learnt a shitload from them.
There's naturally no sense in reinventing the wheel and my monthly updates includes these sections:
- Key Metrics. An overview - with graphs - of our most important metrics.
- Highlights. Great things that happened or that we achieved in the previous month.
- Challenges. Things that popped up in the last month and that we need to address.
- Next Steps. These are the most important / significant / urgent things we've decided to do in the next month.
- Asks. Specific requests with which investors could help out. Could be advice or introductions for example.
A big chunk of the benefit of communicating these things with investors is the fact that they can help identify any blindspots, smoothen out the next steps (and align it with strategy) and actually help overcome certain challenges.
There's however another benefit to this update, which is the act and discipline of actually just writing it down.
Let me explain.
In EO, we have a practice of compiling our personal check-ins for our monthly forum (mastermind) meetings. These check-ins span across three spheres: Business+Purpose, Friends+Family and Personal. For each of these, we have to identify the best and worst event (as well as the impact thereof).
The reason for this is to force me to dig deep, go beyond the surface and identify only the best-of-the-best and the shittiest events in my life. The rest of the stuff in-between is less important and not appropriate (in terms of extracting the most value) from that forum.
And the same applies to monthly investor updates...
Some months it's really hard for me to identify and communicate what our challenges are; not because they don't exist, but because the daily grind means I'm either not super-conscious about them or that I've forgotten about something important.
The same applies to the request for help or advice. As an entrepreneur, I'm not always great at asking for help soon enough, but my monthly update is a reminder that I have a group of individuals that can help me figure things out.
Finally, writing is like therapy for me. Crafting our monthly updates for Receiptful is something I look forward to every month, because it's an opportunity to reflect about what we've actually achieved already.
We might not be profitable yet and definitely are a long way from being a successful, long-term company. But we've already achieved a shitload and when I write those words to our investors, I'm reminded of exactly that.