POSTED BY: KEELEY
Erika and I spend most of our time on the day to day operations of the business. This includes production, sales, sampling, marketing, PR, and the rest. Most days, we wake up and talk to retailers, customers and distributers, focusing on getting our products to stores shelves and then into grocery carts. We pack boxes to send to online customers, solve any pending problems at our production facility, negotiate terms with peanut providers, and more.
However, what we’ve come to realize is that the bigger your business, the more and more time you spend simply raising money. I was always confused when I heard about large and established companies opening up lines of credit with banks. Don’t they already have money? I would think. Now (as the company resident bookkeeper) I realize that it’s a constant cycle of cash flow, requiring a whole lot of work!
Thanks to many of you, we recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign. We’ve gotten loans and investments from family and friends. However with recent PR, and very successful sales at local stores, we’ve been given the opportunity to expand further. Since winter, we have been opening our eyes to the wide world of business financing.
One incredible resource we’ve found to help with this learning curve is Oregon Entrepreneur’s Network. Through OEN we found Angel Oregon, a yearly conference that helps ease entrepreneurs through the process of pitching a company to potential investors.
I am really proud of how Erika and I really rose to this challenge. In the past four months, we’ve written a business plan, laid out five year financial plans and given several presentations to room fulls of investors, all part of a competition to win a potential investment at the end of the line.
Erika and I have pitched Wild Squirrel next to many more seasoned companies, led by more experienced entrepreneurs, and really stood our ground!
Out of a group of over 30 companies, we survived through several rounds of cuts before finally making Top 5! We were recently given the opportunity to present on stage in front of hundreds of influential Oregonians.
We had a great time at the conference, sampling our nut butters and answering questions from investors.
Giving our presentation was another great learning experience. Erika and I are so passionate about our company, and, despite our nerves, I think we did a good job expressing the potential of Wild Squirrel not only as a product, but as a brand.
Plus, the icing on the cake… we won the Audience Choice award! We didn’t expect to win the final investment (all top five companies were very impressive), and winning the vote of the audience was a huge compliment. Plus, we got $7,500 to spend on market research, and a super awesome TROPHY!
Angel Oregon was a great opportunity to sit back and celebrate how far we have come in the past few months — not only as a company, but as business women. And, come on, let’s face it, there is nothing cooler than winning a trophy. Nothing like some shiny swag to boost company moral!