Saturday, January 28, 2017

Is there back and forth when you put company profile on AngelList or Gust?

I've had an AngelList account for some time, but I've been going over Gust for the last month or so, and this month, I'm shifting everything (which, on AngelList, doesn't amount to much anyway) there. 

(September 11 update: Done already: Page on Gust . It's almost finished, but it's going to stay that way even after I put up some more material that I know, even as I write this, that I should include, because there's always a way to make it better...)

Image result for angel investors

It's not really due to any fault on the part of AngelList. First of all, it took me awhile to figure out what the heck to do with either site in a way that answers my needs. Second, Gust is a little more 'see Spot run' user friendly, and for me, that's important. I've spent many years writing very poorly written business plans, trying to put together groups, or get individuals warmed up to something, that go nowhere. (Small wonder. Even those on Quora who like me best would  probably tell you that their biggest criticism of me is that I can be good for a lot of TLDR material, but when I get into something, I tend to get off on a bit of a roll with it . . .) 

Yet, I'm still kind of new to venture capital as it's done in real life (as opposed to trying to sell some deal to some well-to-do guy or group, who is maybe or more likely not even into making passive investments, because you don't know who else to take it to). My company, so far, is set up to sign people who already own a hotel, or who come to me wanting to develop a specific location. I have two brands, two chains that I've come up with that I'd like to develop, and need to get the hang of getting people to look at those, in locations where they'll do well. 

There have been a zillion books out for years on writing a business plan, but I suspect it's like resume-writing and job interviewing: the way the guy who wrote the book says to do it will work great - if he's the one doing the hiring, or providing the funding. The right way to put together a business plan is the way that works, that shows the investor what he wants to see, that gets you funded by an individual or a group with whom you can work happily for a long, long time. My biggest challenge for years has been knowing what to leave out of a business plan. I'm inclined to feel that, if anything I plan on doing can affect the bottom line in some way, I owe any potential investor to explain and justify it, so he knows in advance what I'm going to do, and I don't have to argue with them later on whether or not I can be allowed to do it. But that's where the darn thing starts to get forty-odd-page-long windy, and still leaves me worrying that I left something important out.

What I like about Gust is, here are seven or so blocks in which you write a paragraph (limited to 400-450 characters, probably to keep people like me under control) to describe your planned venture, and presto, it's in a format that the thousand or so investors who are signed up expect to see, everything you need is there, everything that complicates things for them or gets in the way isn't. There's a space where you can upload a more conventional plan, but I'm going to rewrite my latest one and stick to the format prescribed on Sequoia Capital's website: I've got three years' worth of stuff piled up on Quora, and a website in mockup for each of the two new hotel brands, for people who care to know that much about how I like to work. 

I do wish a Quora page - or a blog page -  could be linked directly from your page on Gust. And a spot for a Pinterest page would be nice, too: I could show pictures of what I have in mind. You can link your own website, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn account, but I don't use LinkedIn, my only tweets are stuff re-shared from Quora, and what I'm working on isn't quite ready to draw a Facebook fan base. The ability to set up folders on your Documents page would be handy, but might also get me into trouble. But as I can link my own website, I can work around all that.

Just maybe, not even I can screw it up. Perhaps it'll work this time . . . :-)

Originally appeared on Quora

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