An entrepreneur was recently introduced to me asking advice how to raise money. She had spent nearly £8,000 with so-called advisors who over a year had failed to produce a plan or an investor meeting.

These advisors weren’t obvious cowboys but prosperous looking retired company executives who had claimed they were writing a plan for wealthy investors they knew…caveat emptor you can hear me say.

This was my action plan for her:

1. Get a business plan template and start doing the plan yourself. There is a mystique around business plans – but common sense will get you through. All you are doing is writing the story of how you plan to take your idea and turn it into a profitable business. The trick though is to use a tested template and not reinvent the wheel.

2. The dreaded numbers – again common sense will see you through but you will save lots of time using a forecasting template – there is a free up to two years forecasting template on my website.

3. Buy a packet of Post-It notes and write out 108 names of people who you know or would like to know who could be useful. (108 is a very powerful number (12×9) – more on that another time…put these names up on the wall – and start visualizing to bring them into your life!

4. Now think of raising money like any other marketing exercise – and set yourself targets for contacting this list. Get onto Linkedin – and work out the connections – never cold call for money – a waste of time.

5. Get last years statutory accounts finished off if you are already trading and get this years management accounts set up with a budget ideally using a cloud accounting package. Investors love boringly well organised companies.

Last week she had her first successful meeting with a potential investor who lives 4 miles away who she had known indirectly for 10 years. Next step – the investor wants his accountant to go through the numbers….so think local!