Not All Checks Are Created Equal

June 5, 2009
Kicyru, Kigali, Rwanda

I invite you, oh SHE samurais, to come and try on a SHE shoe….you’re traveling on Bolt Buses (glorified Greyhound with wifi) to Boston and back, becoming the 21st passenger in the Matatus (African buses that seat 15) to reach home, helping yourself to networking event appetizer that is your dinner, enjoying Pabst instead of Pinot Noir. You are arguably like every other start-up venture full of passion but carrying a slim wallet. So if someone just wrote you a check for $3.1 Million for the next five years, you’d pop open the Perrier and rev up the Rover, right?

In the book of Elizabeth Scharpf likes and dislikes, signed checks are usually right up there next to orders of cilantro garnished guacamole that are “mistakenly” delivered to your table. So what is there to contemplate? Checks, or investments, are not created equal and good entrepreneurs must gauge the activities and outputs that are required of checks as they may take your strategic plan astray. How would the culture of your venture change? How would the prioritization of activities and constituents served change? And I invite you to share your tales of this very situation.

Does that mean I have to do the same with the guacamole? Nah, I’d just eat it.


Nora said...

I think it all depends on where the money is coming from and what kind of strings are attached, what kind of reporting requirements, and performance goals. You have to consider how much time and energy it will take to track and report all that.

It would also depend on how fast you have to spend the money, and what the timeline is for distribution or whether you have it all up-front. It would be a disaster to start spending 1/5 of that right away, because that would be too disruptive. But a gradual increase would be great.

Still, that kind of funding is fantastic!

Founder; Chief Instigating Officer, Elizabeth Scharpf said...

Great points, Nora. There are absolutely about 10 different things to consider. Make that 100! At the end of the day, it's good to have options

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