Last week I wrote about some ways you could find extra money that you think you don’t have, in order to invest in your business.
This week I’d like to explore the best way to ask your friends and family for support in a way that enrolls them to an almost automatic YES.
The most important thing you need to have clear before you approach loved ones for any kind of funding is…
Your big vision. And you need to know it inside and out, and be able to describe it well.
You need to be able to clearly convey your big vision to your family, friends, or anybody that you’re going to be asking for support.
Why? Because they need to be able to SEE that big vision in order to be willing to confidently invest in your future.
Maybe you want to leave corporate law and start your own practice that’s dedicated to the little guy. Maybe you have a small practice that could be expanded if you had some capital—giving more people jobs, and you more free time…
Perhaps your vision is to really take care of families, and be the go-to lawyer in your area. Or maybe you’re seeking to build the kind of firm that is sustainable, and an asset that can be passed down or sold, down the road.
Whatever you big vision is, you have to be able to describe the value it will provide. And, more importantly, you have to come into right alignment and in integrity with what’s true for you. Let me give you that new definition of integrity.
I used to believe that integrity meant doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s a pretty standard definition of integrity. That’s not the kind of integrity that we’re talking about today.
The kind of integrity we’re talking about today is the kind of integrity that is right alignment between your words, your thoughts, and your actions. When you have that kind of integrity, you can go to a family member or a friend and ask for financial support without feeling any sort of shame, guilt, or fear.
Now, you might still feel it, but you can remind yourself that, “Oh, I come in integrity. I’m not trying to get anything. I’m actually asking for this so that I can give more to the world.” And when that’s your “come from”, when your “come from” is giving more to the world, it’s very hard to say “no” to that. If somebody has the resources and they’re in alignment with your integrity, they’re very likely to say “yes”.
And so, I invite you into that space where you get into integrity with what you actually want, that you’re not trying to get anything, that what you’re really looking at is how you can give more value in the world.
Why You “Should” Ask
Think about it from this perspective. Right now, anybody that has any wealth is really at a loss for what to do with that wealth. There are no great investments out there right now, certainly none that are safe, right? Bank accounts aren’t paying very much money. CDs, maybe you can get 1%. Treasury bonds, municipal bonds—these are the safe investments—they’re not paying much return at all.
So, if you can make the case to be able to provide a better return on investment dollars not just financially but holistically, then you’re actually doing the people in your life who have money a favor. You’re giving them the opportunity to feel really great about how they’re using their resources, how they’re using their resources not just to earn a profit, (which they could very well do if they invest in you) but also to make the world a better place, to improve the world for future generations.
And if you are a child of one of these folks, they’ll want to invest in you. You can be the best investment that they can possibly make not only for your future, but for their future as well. You’re going to make the world a better place for them, too.
How to Convey Your Vision
Traditionally, in order to raise investment capital, not from family and friends, but from investors, you have to lay out the exact big vision. You have to know and present exactly how these investors are going to earn back not only what they give you, but much, much more—including how much they’ll be able to sell for in the future (their exit plan).
It’s different when you’re going to family and friends. When you’re going to family and friends, they’re really investing in you. They’re investing in their belief in you. They’re investing in your energy. They’re investing in your certainty, your clarity that you are going to do good with what they give you.
So, when you ask for money, it’s important then to be very clear about the problem that you’re going to solve for people and how that will impact lives.That’s the big picture vision that we’re talking about. But not everybody is going to have that right away.
Now, of course, the more details you can provide, the better, but sometimes you don’t have all those details yet and I don’t want you to wait for that because you need to get started on your path now even before you can see the finish line.
My partner, Craig, often talks about horizon lines. Sometimes, you can only see to the next horizon line. So you’re standing on the hill that you’re on now and you can only see a certain horizon line… You don’t know what’s over that line. That’s fine. Just share the horizon line that you can see.
Then, share it as clearly and as powerfully as you possibly can. You enroll your family and friends in your vision of you contributing to the world in a positive way. You’re making a difference not only in the lives of other people, but in their lives as well. Let them know that you are the best investment that they can make not just financially, but for the well-being of the planet, of the people in your life.