One of my roles is as a growth financing intermediary. Recently, I have been seeing more and more situations in which owners of mid-sized companies haven’t learned enough about the various types of growth financing and are inadvertently chasing the wrong kind of money.
One of the most common mistakes is the assumption that the company must be able to follow through on its plan ALONE, and the only thing a possible funding source will provide is MONEY. Financing from a commercial bank works that way (loans and lines), but just about every other type of financing involves PARTICIPATION. A venture firm won’t want to stand on the sidelines if/when the decision to invest has been made. They expect to be required to provide an expert “at the table” (on your board) to help growth and success happen. Similarly, growth financing achieved through joint ventures involves an expanded leadership team. Also, corporate sponsorship isn’t about handing over money to just watch your company “do its thing.”
Non-profit organizations have figured this out. Maybe their development officers can only talk about their cause when requesting contributions from foundations, but when corporate sponsorship money is involved, the corporation’s marketing department expects their sponsorship money to fund a partnership, produce something exciting, fit their messaging and accelerate the generation of prospective customers…which after all is the goal of marketing.
The folks at Frito-Lay are intimately involved and visible at the golf tournament they sponsor. The people from Dunkin’ Donuts are involved with the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia. They don’t just hand parade managers a check and then stay home. IBM and AT&T have been involved with the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) for over 30 years.
Over the years, my companies have successfully worked with over 50 repeat corporate sponsors (IBM, SNET, Bell Atlantic, Bell South, Northern Telecom, Wachovia, Entrepreneurial Edge magazine, etc.). That would not have happened if the projects were small or if they weren’t economic development strategic initiatives to help mid-sized companies to continue to grow.
Does your organization have a big bold project in mind that is not happening only because you have convinced yourself that you must go it alone and you lack sufficient funds to execute on a large scale? Why stop? Why ask for a loan or a line when you can do something that could really make a difference with corporate partners?
IEG is an excellent resource for information about corporate sponsorship. I agree with their promotional description: IEG is the global authority on sponsorship and the leading provider of sponsorship consulting, analytics, measurement, valuation, research and publications. Visit IEG at www.SPONSORSHIP.com.
Known as The Growth Strategist®, Aldonna Ambler built and grew a suite of companies to help midsized B2B companies achieve accelerated growth with sustained profitability® A Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), Ambler has addressed over 2000 audiences and hosted a syndicated online talk show about growth strategies for 9 years. As a growth financing intermediary, Ambler raised over $1 Bil dollars for midsized companies. The winner of over 2 dozen prestigious national and statewide "entrepreneur of the year" awards, Ambler is available to speak about “profitable growth during any economy” and/or serve on the board of a growth-oriented privately-held company.