I have provided capital for many start-up businesses, and raised money for a few of my own. I am often asked for advice on how or whether an entrepreneur should seek venture capital. My initial advice is simple: Don’t.
Entrepreneurs usually start businesses because they need autonomy and independence; they cannot work for someone else. As my granddad used to tell me, “no one gives you money for nothing.” That is certainly true for investors. They give entrepreneurs cash because they want to make more cash. They expect to be listened to, or at least have their financial interests regarded as the entrepreneur uses their capital to grow his or her business. Boom. Just like that — by taking outside capital — the entrepreneur sacrifices autonomy.
That’s not all. By taking outside capital, the…
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