Survive and Thrive

Ideas Structure Capital

Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do. This is one of the best quotes I have come across, and comes courtesy of Robert Schuller, an American televangelist, pastor, and author known worldwide through his weekly Hour of Power television service. 

…and this quote could not be more pertinent to entrepreneurs in running their businesses and raising capital.

Consider this story…

In 1999, two students rented a garage in California to start their company. As luck would have it, the owner of that garage was a college friend of David Cowan, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, who Forbes magazine listed among the world’s top 10 venture capitalists.

So the odds for this company started looking pretty good at this point, right?


The college friend did convince Cowan to look at the business plan, but the fact that the two entrepreneurs were students, and that they seemed to be “reinventing the wheel” with their product, did not inspire Cowan’s confidence.

The business plan FAILED to convince one of the world’s greatest investors that the company would succeed.

Fortunately, the two founders were tough.

They didn’t fold after their defeat. They perfected their Business Plan, sought advisors and angel investors, and set up numerous additional venture capital meetings to raise the funding they needed.

They eventually received a $25 million venture capital round from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

And in case you were wondering – the name of that company? 


The rest is history.

The lesson here is not simply to be tough, but to be tough and smart.

With regards to being tough, you must be prepared to fight for your business if you truly believe in it. Most investors will say NO. You must be ready to fight back and keep presenting to more and more investors.

With regards to being smart, you must continually assess your business plan and capital raising strategy:

  • If you keep hearing the same negative feedback from investors, then change your strategy.
  • If venture capitalists aren’t biting, then try angel investors or alternative financing options.
  • If investors aren’t buying your business strategy, then modify it and revise your business plan.

With Capital, virtually any business can survive, and with the right Structure, such businesses can thrive.

Survive and Thrive ——- Capital alone should not be your concern. Even if you succeed at raising capital, you need structure to thrive.

To your success!

Olanrewaju Oniyitan