5 Fundraising Tips for New Business Owners: Expert Tips From Mark Wiseman

Mark Wiseman is widely known for his investment acumen and business leadership. The former BlackRock executive, now with Hillhouse Capital, comments frequently in the media about how to make money make more money. Over the years, he has been extremely generous with his financial advice. While his audience tends to be people who might talk about a private equity fund or long-term sustainable growth, new business owners could certainly benefit from following his philosophy and suggestions when trying to raise funds. Here are five tips gleaned from Wiseman's own words and many years of experience as a major player in the world of investing.

Think long-term

With the coronavirus crisis having a tsunami-like effect on the world's economy, Wiseman takes the long-term view: “I think (the coronavirus) has the potential to be material in the short-to-medium term. In the long term, it’s going back to the chart of the Dow. In the long term, it’s not going to matter.”

He decries what he labels short-termism, or only viewing financial decisions based on what's happening in the next few months. "The shadow of short-termism has continued to advance—and the situation may actually be getting worse," Wiseman and Dominic Barton wrote in the Harvard Business Review. So if you're looking to make an investment, don't think about what's happening right now. Rather, think about how your investments might play out in the coming years.

Stay realistic

Tempering expectations of any effort to raise funds, whether it's through investments or sales of any kind, are among Wiseman's core beliefs. As president and CEO of the Canada Investment Pension Board, he knew not to get too excited about short-term gains. In an interview with Vocal Journal, he said “We are managing assets on behalf of 18 million Canadians for generations and so our focus is really on the next quarter-century, not the next quarter. Even annual results for us are non-events, relatively speaking."

Focus on sustainability and the environment

Any business that proves it's concerned about the environment and sustainability is going to have an appeal to green investors and many others.

Wiseman preaches that the kind of awareness. "He recognizes that sustainability has to be at the core of any energy company looking to succeed in the long run, especially considering the environmental effects such companies can play a role in," writes Carlos Fox in Vocal.

Wiseman is certainly not alone on this, so when looking to gain investments, it's important to know where your company stands. If you're not sure, look to OKR software to help. Software companies, like WorkBoard, provide solutions that enable users to track objectives and key results (OKRs). If sustainability is an objective, you can use this type of software to see how well you're doing.

Consider the benefits of scale

Wiseman talks about the fact that "larger pools of capital create more opportunities to invest for the long term by opening up illiquid asset classes." The same principle can apply to fundraise efforts. Yes, you want the contributors who donate significant amounts of money, but you shouldn't ignore those whose donations are relatively small. They add up.

"While someone may only give a small donation at first, their potential impact, in the long run, is immeasurable," writes Meredith Kavanagh for Classy.

Never forget about promotion

Wiseman's success and knowledge of complex investment strategies make him an often-quoted business leader as well as a frequent contributor to numerous publications. Efforts that increase a person's or company's visibility can play a significant role in goal setting and achieving key results.

"You have to establish communication with the public in order for your business to survive. Otherwise, you will end up existing in your own world. The public must know that you exist." says SMBCEO, a blog aimed at small business CEOs,

Wiseman would most certainly agree with that sentiment.

So there you have it, tips from a former global head of active equities, senior managing director, and holder of other impressive titles. Think long term, stay realistic, consider the scale of your fundraising efforts, the environmental impact of your business, and promote, promote, promote.

Do all this and the funds should come pouring in.