Jonathan Aberman: You want funding? Follow this advice.

Most entrepreneurs who look for funding won’t find it — not because they are bad entrepreneurs, but because they haven’t mastered the skills necessary to grow their business.

A focus in the media and blogs on successful funding and business exits creates the impression that what matters to a business’ growth is fundraising. But fundraising is the result of a business’ maturity, not the cause of it. 

Actually, what I have learned as an investor myself is that raising money from outside investors always presents the same challenge, regardless of the stage of the business. Outside investors are not the friends or family who provide capital to help your business because of their personal relationship with you. They are strangers who are looking for a specific thing: more money in exchange for the money they give you. Ideally, a lot more money.

However long a business has operated, investors will look for three big things if they are going to invest: unmet demand, strong competitive…

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