You never know the outsized effects that seemingly small decisions can make. It’s an important lesson to learn.
In late 2020, I was only a few months into building my company Adamant when a friend of mine introduced me to the founder of a new program for entrepreneurs in Latin America. The organization had barely gotten started, but they had admitted their first cohort of entrepreneurs and were looking for speakers to help conduct workshops that would support their companies.
My focus on fundraising was a perfect fit so they were excited to invite me to speak. My first thought was “I’ve never heard of this founder / program before” and “Latin America is not a focus area for me.”
Despite that, I decided to accept the invitation. I thought, “Why not?”
A few weeks later, I hosted an hour-long workshop on setting up an effective fundraise. The crowd was small but full of super energetic, engaging founders. More importantly, it was really fun!
I walked away from it feeling really satisfied and happy I helped. Incidentally, this is why I enjoy my work so much. Whether or not I spend my time on something huge or something tiny, I always feel great.
This one definitely fell into the tiny category. I didn’t expect it to amount to anything, but that was OK with me.
Coincidentally, a month before that small workshop, I launched my podcast Funded. At the very end of my talk, I mentioned that I had launched a podcast and encouraged the founders to check it out. Again, I didn’t think this would amount to anything except for maybe one or two listens.
Fast forward to today, a year and a half later… that small program whose initial cohort I spoke in front of has now done five cohorts and become well known as the growing YC / On Deck of Latin America AND recently closed an $11.5MM round led by a16z and NFX. It's called Latitud and is run by the impressive founding group of Brian Requarth, Gina Gotthilf, and Yuri Danilchenko.
That initial fun, little workshop turned into repeat invitations to speak for successive cohorts. As Latitud’s profile has grown, so has mine with more and more founders from LATAM learning about my work.
I've since been able to help a number of founders in Latin America, my podcast Funded now does quite well in Brazil / Latin America, and I have a pretty good guess for why that is.
A small decision early on to accept an invitation from an unknown program became a turning point for my business.
This is an important lesson that can be applied to fundraising as well.
I often repeat this belief of what fundraising actually is – I believe that fundraising is demonstrating you are a great company, and then doing everything you can to make investors discover that fact.
Much of my coaching and content focuses on large actions that help you accomplish these goals. For example, making sure that you drive your company towards great product releases and allow people to discover that. Pushing your company forward with amazing customers and helping investors discover that. Creating a remarkable vision for the company and making sure investors see that.
But it's important not to overlook the impact small actions can have on the goal of demonstrating you’re a great company and helping investors discover that.
One great example I was reminded of this week was seeing a social post from a really amazing company. The post was fairly innocuous and simple. It was not meant to go viral or draw great fanfare. It was a functional post. A request for people to share a new job opening at the startup.
The post came across my feed because it had been reshared by an existing investor. When I saw the post it made me think “Wow. This company needs to hire for an important role. It must be doing well.” And the reshare from an investor reminded me, “Oh wow. I forgot that this person was associated with that startup. What an impressive cap table.”
The combination of those very, very small actions produced significant waves in my mind as I considered the company. They clued me into exciting growth and reminded me of the credibility the company had - they made me want to hear more.
Remember, there are many ways to demonstrate you're a great company and that you're doing things the right way. This example is not meant to suggest you post social media messages about job openings at your company even if you’re not hiring. A hiring post might not be your small action. But there are endless small actions that can drive a large impact.
Run your company the right way and tiny actions that produce towering waves will present themselves to you.