We all forget too easily: The best startup funding is sales. Sure, we all think of angel investment, friends and family, and SBA loans; all of those options are necessary for most startups. But sales is better.

If you can, find the early customers. Give them a deal, make them important, work with them to optimize their needs; but make a sale.

Even if you do need to go out and find investment–and I speak now as an actual angel investor–there’s almost nothing as convincing as actual sales. People are spending money on your product or service. It makes a new business proposal far more credible.

True, not all businesses can do that. But a lot of them can. And, as we write about business plans and seeking investment and all, we forget the real sweet spot: financing growth by making the sales.

(Note: this is a repost from Planning Startups Stories, where I posted it a few days ago. I can’t remember the last time I reposted from that blog to this one – it has been a while – but I decided to do that today because it seems to be very appropriate here too. It’s been on Twitter a lot already, from the first time I posted it.  Tim. )

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.