Terrible “What do you think of my business idea?” e-mail…..

Richard Lucas
4 min readMay 6, 2016


“Hi Richard, can we grab a coffee — I love to get your feedback on my business idea to do X in Y — and show you my product.
We urgently need small investment of $100K due to our first customers being late in deciding to buy/ to keep us going as we get close to going global. It’s a billion dollar market. Don’t miss out.
Joe Doe –
Interplanetary Awesomeness Officer and Founder
Creepaability-aka-dontknowthefuckwhatthisisallabout.com ”

I get a version of this kind of note from time to time. I have taken the worst bits from different messages to make a truly awful message. I hope this post encourages those who write to investors to reflect on their approach. This is what I think and feel, what I write back, and some reflections.

What I think and feel
0. not again.

  1. Coffees are for drinking — not grabbing. Grabbing is rude, and you might spill it.

2. I don’t care what I or you think about the product. I care about the problem it solves and what customers and potential customers/users think.

3. If you urgently need money, you are bad at planning (of course businesses, people, and startups can and will run out of cash, but if you don’t realise this sounds terrible, you are probably not smart enough to be my partner).

4. $100K is not a small amount of money. I was well paid when I earned $1500 month net in my best paid job (25 years ago) before I went into business on my own account. It would have taken me 20 years to save $100K. If you think $100K is a small amount, I don’t really trust you to spend it carefully.

5. Blaming customers for being late sounds like a stupid attitude. If they haven’t bought anything they are not customers anyway.

6. Money should be for specific actions, not “keeping us going”.

7. Going global makes sense once you have a proven product that clients love. You provide no evidence of that.

8. What is a billion dollar market?

9. Don’t rush me.

10. Silly job titles repel me.

11. If I invite him/her to Open Coffee they will probably tell me it’s too early in the morning and I’ll never hear from them again.:-)

12. I respect and admire entrepreneurs and hustle so I will try (hard) to be nice.

What I write

“Dear Joe, Chief Awesomeness Officer,

Thanks very much for approaching me.

Best is to come to Open Coffee Krakow. We can chat after that.

I trust that you are OK with open feedback and if there are things about your idea I don’t like you’ll want me to tell you.

Do please send me a Linkedin invite so you can see more about me and vice versa.

Please answer the questions in this blog post I wrote a few years ago so that I can be more helpful to you during a meeting.

Tell me how you are going to make money, what you would spend my investment money on, and what I get in return. It doesn’t matter much what I think about your idea. What really matters is:
- what clients and potential clients think about your idea
- what pressing problem you think you are solving.
- what your costs will be
- how many months you can survive before you run out of money in the worst case scenario.

Good luck and see you next Open Coffee Krakow


My reflections

A lot of inexperienced entrepreneurs have read an article somewhere full of “fake it till you make it” type BS and imagine that a stupid angel can be duped into handing over money. It’s not a great way to approach me. I’ve made lots of mistakes and am not that smart, but I don’t like being patronised.

It’s important to think and reflect before sharing my feelings. I really want to help entrepreneurs. I don’t want to be rude to someone I don’t know.

Getting their Linkedin details enables me to figure out what sort of history they have. Past actions (and inactions) give a great insights into someone’s potential).

Maybe there are people out there who respond well to the intro above. If anyone reading this found an investor this way, I stand corrected. The beauty of a free society is that there is more than one way of operating.

This post first appeared on my Wordpress blog here and I was encouraged to share it by a big spike in traffic.

Thanks for reading! :) If you like this, click the heart button below. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people get to know my ideas. You can also listen to my Project Kazimierz podcast here



Richard Lucas

Business and Social Entrepreneur, initiator of new ventures, TEDxKazimierz Curator, ProjectKazimerz podcast, library of blog posts on www.richardlucas.com