By: Charlie Brock, CEO & President of Launch Tennessee
Over the last five years as the CEO of Launch Tennessee, too often I’ve seen founders raise angel or seed funding, develop a product line and a small customer-base, but not gain any real traction.
First, they’re discouraged, and soon they’re out of cash. The worst part? They’ve convinced themselves, and often their board, that if they just raise that next round of funding, life will be good, and the company will be on track for success.
Here’s the reality, entrepreneurs: It’s not all about the money. In fact, that is the great entrepreneurial lie. Building a lasting business and brand is all about the hustle, and if you don’t have what it takes to give it your all, you’re not going to make it.
I began my own entrepreneurial journey at Foxmark Media in 1998, and I’ll be the first to admit that thanks to some personal capital from the sale of a family business along with four generations of family connections with prospective angel investors in the community, I had a leg up. For several years, I was able to bootstrap and take minimal to no salary.
Recognizing the limitations on my personal funding capacity, I got out there and hustled every single day to build a viable business worthy of funding from other people’s pockets.
When I didn’t have enough capital to hire a sales team, I spent nearly all my time making calls and driving to small markets across the region to get my product through the door.