When it comes to sales and marketing initiatives the name of the game is to stand out. Typically the goal is to be unique and different from the crowd of competitors. But with finance the opposite is true. It does not pay to do things like carve your own path if you expect to get the appreciation you require to gain access to capital.
For the most part people who deal with financial matters like routine. They set up processes to learn about a business, to check out that business, to set up a relationship with it, and then begin to have transactions to help the business grow. If the business acts in a way that disrupts the process, it is quickly seen as an anomaly and the question shifts to what is the problem with this opportunity.
Contract officers operate somewhat in the same fashion when considering a bid. They like routine and companies that can follow directions. Go your own way will lead you right out the door. And here it helps to have a history of being able to follow instructions and get along well with others.
Lenders can sense the maturity of a business by how they act when approached for money. When a business owner says, “we don’t give out any financial information, it’s proprietary,” there’s no need for any further discussion. This business owner obviously has never experienced trying to raise outside capital to grow the company. The same is true with non disclosure agreements (NDA), which lenders are loath to sign because it puts them in a legal framework they don’t need to be in. A lender is not in the business of stealing intellectual property or knowledge of models or concepts. Most lenders depend on their reputation to continue to find new business. On the other hand, lenders will not agree to have your attorney re-write their loan agreements – that have probably been in use and enforced for years.
It’s somewhat true that lenders and contract officers are not looking for why they should work with you. Because there are so many companies knocking on the door, they are really looking for the first opportunity to shelve your folder so they can quickly move on to a better one. So the object is to not stand out, don’t make it easy to dismiss your needs due to your thinking you have to be different.