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Angels Come with Strings Attached

Did you ever hear about the entrepreneur who, upon returning from a quick lunch, finds his angel investor sitting in his office? The angel greets him with the question, “Where have you been?” Upon hearing the answer, the angel responds, “I don’t see how you have time for lunch given the fact that last months sales were 3.5% below budget.”

Don’t laugh, it happens more than you think.

Angels Come with Strings Attached

Obviously, this isn’t exactly what you were expecting when you took your angel’s money. In addition to your angel’s money, you expected him or her to provide advice, contacts, and support, but not unwarranted sarcasm and criticism.

So how do you ensure that your relationship with your angel meets your expectations and your angel’s expectations in a positive and productive way?

The answer is really quite simple: In addition to the legal agreement that covers the exchange of shares for cash, you need a written or unwritten agreement that carefully and thoughtfully sets forth the terms and conditions of your working relationship. Issues to be covered might include:

  • Detailed discussion of the contributions you expect from your angel;
  • A very clear understanding of how you intend to run the business;
  • Type and frequency of shareholder reports;
  • Most appropriate forms of communications; and
  • How and when the angel might expect repayments or distributions.

If you and your angel are unable to mutually agree on any of the above points as well as other expectations specific to your business, then do not take their money. Find an angel that you can harmoniously live with. It will be more pleasant, productive, and profitable for all concerned.

If you have some stories about dealing with difficult angels, or if you have some tips to share, please leave a comment below!

Jimmy's background includes over 40 years in international, commercial, and investment banking, and nearly a decade as the principal shareholder and CEO of a rapidly growing manufacturing and distribution business in California. Today, Jimmy spends his time advising and consulting with entrepreneurs on matters related to business planning, as well as capital markets and funding strategies. Jimmy works with clients throughout the world in industries that include financial services, real estate, manufacturing and hospitality. View details.

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