How activist angels show an integrated approach to decision-making

Learning from #ImpactWomen

During a Make a Wave Growth Readiness Programme webinar, Bonnie Foley-Wong, CA, CFA, CEO of Pique Ventures (an impact investment and management company with an edge) and Ogunte collaborator, highlighted the way a new generation of activist angels make decisions when investing in social ventures. The key word is “integrated way”.

Here’s Bonnie’s insights to an integrated investment decision-making approach.

For now, put yourself in the shoes of an activist angel.

Investing is an interactive human activity

Yes, you can make number crunching interesting, and tell the story of a business in numbers. “But before you go about the numbers, as an angel, I want to hear about the business model, the narrative, the story. Tell me why you are doing what you are doing. Tell me what you are passionate about. Tell me about your strengths.” says Foley-Wong.

“Then, tell the story through role playing, choosing different scenarios. Talk about units, customers, what happens when you change variations, numbers, parameters and see how the story unfolds.”

Then transition to the hard core numbers.

Never forget that overall, it’s a human process, even when there are technical rules.

Impact investors are astute business people. In theory, they are interested in aligning values.

During the session, Bonnie suggested the audience to use the good old business model canvas and the seven domains model to start telling their story.

“You’ll see these tools have very human questions!”

When looking at your business, or your fellow’s business, put yourself in the shoes of an activist angel and ask yourself these questions:

  • Has the product been tested?
  • Who else is doing this (and there’s always someone doing similar things)?
  • Will you lose my money? Will I make money?
  • Will i have fun, will i enjoy myself working with this entrepreneur?
  • Are they ready to go through bad times? What obstacle could I help them overcome?

and the whole range of “why” questions.

So far, nothing new. When you’ve answered the questions, at that stage, the angel has just received information.

They haven’t started the decison-making process yet.

This is the next stage.

Remember that all decisions involve emotions, guts, emerging consciousness, not just numbers and analysis.

There have been a lot of discussions around how our body supports decisions and/or influence risk-taking. “Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves.

Remember this sequence: Intuition= Guts + Emotions + some dosis of experience.

Remember also that we cannot analyse something that hasn’t happened yet.

During the session, Bonnie shared the tool she uses to help people develop awareness, a tool to use the information and knowledge they have to guide their decisions.

1. Knowledge

- Remember to take stock of what you know. Look back at your own experience, your own knowledge, never forget your life experiences.

2. Awareness

- involves risk and impact. It’s a very personal matter. It’s influenced by our own experiences. eg. if I have had many exposure to risk, I might be more risk tolerant…  The things people perceive as impactful are also drawn from personal experiences.

3. Skills

- In conducting research, try the ” what if… then what?“ Grow your decision-making skills through exploration of scenarios, and follow through…

Final Top Tips

The following top tips are valid for activist angels but also true for any entrepreneur, as there’s always an activist angel in each one of us, even if sometimes we’re just providing knowledge or social capital!

1. Integrate

2. Work on your relationship building skills. Ask the other: how can I help you get your job done, which also helps me get my own job done!

3. Connecting: help people realise their ideas. Be relational.

4. Make the ASK.



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