AMA: Hatty Fawcett, founder of Focused for Business

One of the toughest challenges founders face is raising funds. Recognised as one of the Top 50 Business Advisers by Enterprise Nation, Hatty Fawcett is well-placed to help founders overcome that challenge.

Hatty talks to us about her company, Focused for Business, and much more.

Hi Hatty! Tell us a bit about your company.

Our mission at Focused For Business is simple. We help new startup businesses accelerate from early beginnings (and grow) by making it quicker and easier for them to raise equity investment.

I believe there’s never been a better time for entrepreneurship to flourish. We all know that the UK is a hub for creativity and innovation, but sometimes the process of securing funding is overwhelming and complicated.

That’s where I come in. I’m passionate about helping people who have developed the spark of a brilliant idea into a fledgling business to get the funding they need to take their business to the next level and make their vision come to life.

Personally, I’ve seen the journey of funding from multiple angles and that helps me understand how each player in the game feels, thinks and behaves at every stage.

That experience doesn’t just from leading Focused for Business for seven years, but also from building my own startup (where I raised over £250,000 in funding) and from my time managing investments for former Dragon’s Den star, Kelly Hoppen.

How did the idea for Focused for Business come about? 

Over the course of my life as a founder, and an adviser to startups, I found I was being approached more and more by other startup founders looking to raise investment. They wanted to know what it took to raise investment and where to start.

Raising investment is time-consuming and, while entirely crucial, can also feel like a distraction from the “real job” of growing your business and focussing on the creativity that inspired them in the first place.

I knew I wanted to make it quicker and easier for founders to raise equity investment, so Focused for Business was born. I want to see a level playing field when it comes to raising investment and there are lots of things that get in the way of this – gender, ethnicity and even information asymmetry!

Seven years later we’re providing training programmes, mastermind groups and running a Funding Accelerator to help founders build their knowledge and upskill themselves for the process of funding.

We show founders how to prepare all the documents investors expect when backing a startup through equity investment (pitch decks, financial forecasts, a valuation).

We focus founders on attracting the right investor for their startup by developing a Target Investor Profile and pulling together a list of investors to approach. We even share our proven process for reaching out to investors.

We also make introductions to angel investors, crowdfunding platforms and early-stage funds, as well as mentors and partners who can provide support with the funding and growth journey of early-stage startups.

Our suite of tools and techniques is developed specifically to help new startup founders go from the first step to closing a funding round as quickly, and successfully, as possible.

Can you share any practical tips or processes to help people work remotely? 

The last couple of years have really revolutionised the way we do business, and many businesses have realised that some things can be done just as well from a distance, as they can face-to-face.

It’s not true for everything, but I believe that if we can take one thing away from running a business through a pandemic, it’s the power of technology.

I love Zoom. It allows you to connect with people wherever they are. I deliver all my training programmes over Zoom and love connecting founders, mentors and investors without them needing to be in a room together every time.

And when it comes to innovative businesses, there’s life outside London. Video conferencing has helped level the geographic playing field for those not based in the capital when it comes to raising investment. For the benefit of all UK businesses, that has to be a good thing!

How do you keep your team aligned?

I’m really lucky to be surrounded by a group of people who all believe in the same mission. We’ve been clear about who we are and what we deliver, and that means we attract people who share that same core belief.

We, of course, have diversity of thought, because that’s integral to being rigorous and challenging how we do things, but the core mission is there and we’re all 100% behind it.

If an activity isn’t contributing to that simple goal, we have an open culture that enables everyone to question anything, and if needed realign. As an early-stage business ourselves, we are a tight-knit team. And that allows us to discuss, debate and make decisions quickly.

What is the biggest mistake you've made as an entrepreneur?

I love mistakes. It’s what makes the journey more interesting and the end goal more rewarding. Nothing hard-fought is ever as worth it.

For me, my biggest mistake is always not recognising that things always take longer than you think. I’m an eternal optimist and want to believe things will happen quickly, to plan and to my timeframe.

Of course, things rarely work that way and if you don’t have contingency plans it can leave you exposed. Whilst optimism has many benefits you need a good dose of realism too.

I see optimism in lots of my clients too. It’s all too common to be talking to founders who have left it too late to raise investment. Be optimistic that things will go well but have a plan in place to ensure you have access to investment should you need it.

Want my advice? Always ask the pessimist in the room what they think and use their worries and concerns to build a plan to avoid proving them right!

Do you have a share or option scheme in place for your team?

We don't currently offer a share scheme but, as the team grows, it is definitely something we will put in place.

Rewarding and recognising the team’s role is important to me, so while we’re a small team we are able to offer a number of different incentives and motivators such as flexible working hours and locations.

What is your North Star metric and why is it so important?

The ultimate success marker will always be the end result, seeing the founders I work with securing the investment they need, and seeing them go on to do great things.

That said, I’m a marketer by training so numerical marketing metrics are always close to my heart. CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) and CLV (Customer Lifetime Value) are two marketing metrics that startup investors love too.

By measuring the cost of acquiring a customer and the amount of revenue they go on to bring into the business, investors can quickly see if the marketing strategy of a startup is viable, or not!

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by the passion of the startup founders I work with. Many of them have a clear vision – often related to making the world a better place. There is so much room for improvement in our world it’s inspiring to support those who are helping make that change possible.

Give us an interesting fact about yourself that the business community doesn’t know.

I play a musical instrument that is actually as tall as me – the bassoon.

Every business owner will tell you how important it is to have a hobby totally unrelated to your business. It gives you a focus that sits outside of the 24/7 nature of being a founder.

For me, music is a great way of switching off at the end of a busy working day and I love playing in our local town band. Pure escapism!

Love that! Thanks so much for your time, Hatty.