Raising_moneyIn the next couple days or so I will write full post about my journey, mostly focused specifically on my experiences dealing with each VC/Angel firm/fund, but before that I wanted to pre pend it with some over all thoughts.

About 6 months or so ago I was at a pretty crucial point with the PAR Program. I needed to start building a sales team and beef up staff overall. One of the problems with knowing how to do programing, marketing, sales, blogging, monetizing and what not is that you can do it all… you just can’t do a good job with any of it.

About every month I would get frustrated at our lack of growth and just being spent. But then I rally and think I can figure it out and do it all. Then I find myself back in that same spot 30 days later.

I knew I had to make a change.

Before raising money I had an interesting option.

There was an offer on the table from one of the largest “full service” Internet Marketing Agencies. It was a merger offer. From their perspective the PAR Program was the missing link to their “full service” agency. From my perspective it was a great fit because they were going to instantly make a sizable equity purchase plus provide infrastructure in the form of an existing, proven, sales force to accounting services and just about everything else. It seemed like a magic bullet for me and would let me do what I actually do best… market and rapidly grow. But at the last minute, I got cold feet. The possible, although unlikely, downside is that I felt the company might not have the bandwidth to focus on the PAR Program with everything else they had going on and in a year or so I could be at square one with the company, only then I wouldn’t have full equity.

Obviously, I have my own money that I could put into the company but, well, I wanted more than money.

This may sound weird… but bare with me.

Money is not a rare commodity.

Everyone has it. I have it, you have it, even unemployed people have it. What I needed was experience and education in building a real company. People that have experience building a sales team, know how to manage people, figure out all the key things that need to happen to make things work…

My true goal in raising money was getting investment from people that can bring that kind of experience and education. When it comes to marketing and selling I feel I have no equal on this planet. Yes, I know it’s cocky but I truly believe that. AND I have a fairly unparalleled track record of consistency over the last decade. So to me this was a no brainer for a fund/vc to invest in the company and help us do this with their money/resources.

Now, fortunately I have many amazing friends who have raised money… and some are even GP’s at major firms. Pretty much all of them told me that I needed to take time away from everything and purely focus on preparation to pitch firms.

I needed to make a professional deck- one that I pitched and one that I sent out, have a VERY detailed spreadsheet laying out my 5 year plan, prepare a one sheeter, and various demo videos of the platform.

So I did just that. I made more than 100 revisions to my deck after doing constant “demo” pitches to my friends. I went to Atlanta and spent a couple days with my brother in law who is an excel NINJA. We laid out the basic framework and started to plug in some numbers. I fell in love with excel and how the dynamic pivot tables worked. I started getting as much data as I had on everything we had done so far. I quickly learned that my KPI (key point indicator) that everything should formulate off of was sales. Then it was just writing the formulas for how many client managers, copywriters, programmers, graphics people, and just about everything else in relation to new clients (sales).

Then figured in all the salaries for all those people and… wow… this was amazing. I adjusted the variable of sales per month and boom instantly forecasted when I need to hire X. It’s actually much much more intense. I think there is over 80 adjustable variables in all that dynamically populate all my other tabs like labor, web services, marketing, customer growth, a bazillion other things and of course a P&L. You have to see it to believe how awesome my excel thing is. I even had it calculate company valuations based off of our 5 primary perceived competitors exits/IPO’s. I was asked by my friends who had already raised money if they could use it with their own stuff for future raises and stuff.

Then the business plan. Holy crap. I have never written a business plan before in my life. This was very tough for me. I did so much research and what not I can’t even put it into words. You can download my business plan (I am not sure this is the latest revision as I am always updating it).

After the business plan was done the one sheeter was fairly simple.

So now I was ready.

I will save the adventures in pitching until the next post but the big thing is that the preparation of raising money gave me such incredible insight into what makes my company tick, what goals I need to hit & when, and my key performance indicators.

For me this experience educated me SO much on how to run a real company.

What will come in future posts will probably surprise people (probably get me in trouble too) and I guarantee the end will blow you away.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

12 thoughts on “My Preparation Adventure in raising money for the PAR Program”
  1. Did you mean to include that lifetime customer value?

    I think in some ways you might have privacy hurdles to overcome, which may be just me being oversensitive the last few years.
    e.g. someone providing you with an email address is a private action – greeting them for doing so over Twitter publicizes that private action.
    For someone with anxiety issues that could cause real harm. In some markets doing it would cause financial harm.
    e.g. Celeb signs up for a diet plan (or something more personal) and gets sent a tweet in public.

  2. Sounds like quite the adventure, indeed. I’m looking forward to hearing more about what you’ve had to go through on this project. Wishing you nothing but success!

  3. I would have been super tempted to take ‘the easy way out’ and just merge with that other company. So often I have to remind myself that the more difficult road can end up being the one worth more in the long run. Just such a difficult road to walk to get there. Fight the good fight dude!

  4. I’m with you that money can be found if you look for it, the struggle is finding experience and talent. Sometimes money can help you find that but usually no amount of money will get you that.

  5. Uhg I don’t even want to think about having to raise all the money. What a giant headache. Man you’ve got some freakin’ balls to forge ahead with that.

  6. I love love love excel. I am not a math person but once you get everything inputed, pivot tables just make everything so beautifully simple and make analysis a total breeze. Glad that you’ve got the excel love-but, too!

  7. I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about this PAR program, hopefully it does well 🙂

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