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Last Update: Sunday February 25, 2018

Key Idea: Find An Angel

Debra St. Claire, founder of EcoNatural, found an angel investor with a special appreciation for her business idea.

Key Question:

A: 

When Debra decided to launch her company she left home and went searching for people who think like she does.  She learned about a conference being held in Washington DC for Businesses for Social Responsibilities.  She went to the conference and met the woman who ended up being her first angel investor.

Small business owners are in-charge of operations, administration, finance, marketing, human resources, technology, and everything else! No one can be expert in all of these areas. Each of us needs to "know what we don't know." If part of what you don't know is finance, find a CPA who can help you. And if you decide you want OPM to really grow your business, you'll also need an attorney and perhaps a venture capitalist, angel investor, business broker, underwriter and/or investment banker.

Q: Where does a small business owner find these experts?

A: Of course, talk to those who have done it! Other small businesses in your community that have been successfully served by their financial experts are a great source of referrals to you. If you have one expert, e.g., an attorney, whom you are really pleased with, than ask the attorney for referrals for the experts you need. You should interview several candidates for each role. You are looking for technical competence and a feeling of comfort in dealing with the expert. Look for experts that are able to explain complex terms in layman's language. Remember that ultimately you will have to make the decisions; the role of the expert is to explain your options to you and make recommendations. Ask each expert you interview for references and call them.

Think about it

Do you have the financial experts you need to assist you in finding money for your business?

Clip from: Money: All about Financing Your Business

Silicon Valley, New York City, Sydney and the World:   When you are just  starting, it is usually about your money, called MOM, an acronym for My Own Money. It is also called "skin in the game."  Very few of us have a track record and can write a business plan that is so compelling that we begin with Other People's Money (OPM).

If you are growing, there is an abundance of stagnant capital that may be looking just for you.  Qualified investors (and people who believe in you) are looking for ways to grow their money either as a loan or as an investment for equity. It will require an excellent business concept, a well-detailed business plan (your story), and real financial projections. They will also require that you understand your financials, even if they are quite modest. Those numbers are the organics of a business, the basic 1-2-3s.

Business is just a series of problem-solving exercises. That's its nature.  If you do not have the stomach for it, get a job. If you think money is going to be given to you just because you have a good idea, keep your job!

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St. Claire's Organics started as EcoNatural Solutions, Inc.

St. Claire's Organic Sweets, a global business

6235 Lookout Road
Boulder, CO 80301
303-527-1554

Visit our web site: http://www.stclaires.com

Office: 303-527-1554

Business Classification:
food processing

Year Founded: 1993

Find An Angel

HATTIE: In the business world there are also angels. These angels provide either debt or equity capital. If it's debt capital, they may give you money quicker, sometimes cheaper and with fewer strings attached than a bank. If it's equity capital, they'll want a return on investment within a fixed period of time. Sometimes angels are moved by the type of product or service you are selling. We've known many who are recipients of angel funding.

Debra St. Claire found her angel by attending a convention.

(Voiceover) This is Debra St. Claire, the inventor of Organic Sweets and founder of the company, EcoNatural.

HATTIE: What is a socially responsible company?

DEBRA: It's a company that has a mission statement that keeps it in line with things that are good for the planet. So a socially responsible company -- let me just tell you how ours is socially responsible -- I use ingredients in my product that I feel comfortable giving to my own children. The base of our product, organic molasses granules, is better than refined white sugar. Again, you asked me about Altoids is different. They use white sugar. They use beef gelatin. I use organic molasses granules. It's a totally vegetarian product. So I made myself a niche in that respect. How could I be different with a strong powerful breath mint?

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Why did you invest in this company?

Angel Investor: There were several things that really were interesting. Number one, I came from a background -- my father was a chiropractor -- and we were raised on natural foods and that sort of thing, but the food always tasted awful. I was very excited about supporting a product that was good for you and also tasted good.

DEBRA: People who believe in you are very, very important, and to be able to tell your story in such a way that you can communicate that you're going to stay with it until it's done, is very important. And if you're not sure that you can do that, then don't take your investors in.

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