We made so many changes to the plan it confused everyone, including ourselves and our strongest supporters

We wrote our business plan for the seed round from friends and family. We sent it out to five people for feedback. We received some great feedback and modified the plan. We didn’t change much of the strategy but we made a lot of changes to the financial model.

We revised the plan and sent it to three more people for review. We got more input and didn’t know what to do when the changes suggested contradicted one another. We ended up using changes and ideas from the people we thought would invest in us. We went through this process four times and ended with a business plan, which differed from the original in many important ways.

The round was schedule to close at the end of the month so we contacted everyone we thought would be interested in investing. A number of people who had reviewed the plan along the way asked for the latest up date. They all responded that the plan didn’t make much sense anymore and they wouldn’t invest. One person asked if it was our plan or the seed investors.

We weren’t able to raise the seed round from our friends and family. We ended up alienating many of the people who were our strongest supporters. We had confused everyone including ourselves.

It seemed like an advisor wanted to take over the business

Andrew has always been my advisor and friend. He had a long career in business and retired three years ago. He seemed to enjoy helping us and always had good advice. He was on the board of several companies and also travelled a lot. But, one day he said he would like to be more involved in the business. He had some free time and wanted to help us.

Andrew started coming into the office three days a week. He spent a lot of time to talking to everyone and began to get involved in day-to-day decision-making. He wanted a desk in the office. He had business cards printed showing him as an Advisor to our business.

One day Andrew sat down and said he wanted to join the Board. What he said that day and the way that he said it scared me. He seemed to me he wanted to run the business, to take it over.

I talked to other people in the team and they said Andrew was questioning my ability to run the business. He was inserting himself in the day-to-day operations. Everyone said they felt uncomfortable around him. Some said he was just bored and wanted to get back into the action. Rather that offering Andrew a Board seat, I asked him not to come into the company any more. We appreciated his contribution but we were growing up. Andrew was shocked and very angry. He walked out the door and I never saw him again.

My mentor gave me the wrong advice

I have worked with Sam as my mentor for almost three months. We meet monthly for about an hour. He was very useful and had a lot of experience. He gave me some input on my business plan as well as some details about the market and key competitors, which I included before sending it to some investors.

When I met with a friend, she said some of the information I was given by Sam was wrong. I double-checked and found out that she was right.

I got a note back from the investor thanking me for the business plan. They said it was a really interesting idea but that some of financial calculations were incorrect and affect the discounted cash flow. I had done the DCF the way Sam told me to do it.

What do I say to Sam? If I can’t trust him who can I trust?

Advisor and investor whiplash: Who do I trust?

This is my first business, so I’ve been seeking advice everywhere I can. Now so many people have given me advice on what to do and why. A lot of the advice contradicts what other people are telling me. Honestly, I’m confused. Who should I believe?

I know a little about a lot and I am certainly not an experienced finance person or CEO. I have a lot of book learning but not a lot of practical experience. I implemented many things that I learned at graduate school – some worked and some did not. I am not entirely sure why this is the case.

I’m also not sure where to go to raise funds. The bank is risk-adverse. And despite what investors say, they clearly do not have my long-term interest in mind. I went to an incubator and gave them 6% of the company for $15k and some support for 4 months. None of the mentors from the incubator respond anymore now that I’ve “graduated.” An angel investor wanted 50% of the company in return for $150K. This seemed like a lot to give up, especially since I’d probably have to raise funds again and would lose even more control. I’d be working for someone else. It wouldn’t be my business anymore.

Where do I get sound advice? Who should I trust?