Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at September 3rd, 2017
There are thousands of businesses using crowdfunding to raise money to fund their next business venture. For some entrepreneurs, crowdfunding is the ticket to financial independence. Starting a new business without adding debt or taking out equity, can be unheard of for startups. But with a little planning and creative marketing, starting a new business can be more enjoyable than disappointing. Yes, you can fund your business with crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding gives today’s business owner a new way to build a successful business. Don’t be fooled. Not everyone with a campaign on a crowdfunding site becomes an automatic millionaire! Success on crowdfunding doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, being an instant success on a crowdfunding site doesn’t usually happen. To succeed at crowdfunding, do your due diligence. And see if you would be successful at crowdfunding.
Find which crowdfunding platform is best to use for your business. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two of the most popular crowdfunding platforms to use. If you’re like most new business owners, you’re looking for investors. Before you start putting your campaign out there, make sure that you have everything ready and perfect. This way, you can get the investors that you want to fund your campaign.
Trying to get the investors you want will take time. You need to brainstorm, create, and perfect the right pitch that gets investors pouring money into your campaign. To help you get your campaign started in the right direction, use this quick guide.
Pick a Crowdfunding Platform. Before you get started with your campaign, pick a crowdfunding platform that’s the right fit for you. There are several crowdfunding platforms to choose from. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are two to start looking into.
And you need to be aware of what you are doing when you’re developing your campaign. If you’re raising rewards and not investments, then Kickstarter and Indiegogo should be on your list.
Kickstarter is great to use for creative projects, but it’s all or none. This means that if you don’t raise 100% of your initial funding goal, then you don’t keep the pledged money. Indiegogo is a little different from Kickstarter. If you choose to pay up to 9% of your funds raised, then you can keep the funds pledged to your campaign. The only drawback is that your project will need some minimum funding to work.
GoFundMe is another choice; they let you keep the money even if you don’t meet your goal.
Prepare and Get your Pitch Perfect. Remember that the content in your campaign is vying for the attention of your potential investor and client. There are so many other distractions that pull for the attention of your viewers. For this reason, your pitch and its messaging has to grab their attention immediately. Once you get their attention, you can’t stop there. You’ll want to keep your viewers engaged, which means that you need to have a great story to tell about yourself or your project.
Your pitch video will need to be good. Use a professional to film it and develop the script. Unable to afford professionals? Then try schools, both pupils and instructors.
Your script doesn’t need to be word for word but you must have points you want to make and not babble. Create a script and stay with it. This is not the right time to wing it.
If you have physical evidence of your project, then make sure to show it in your campaign video and on your campaign web page. This means an image of your spa’s sign or a short video recording of your prototype robot.
A great deal of people don’t trust crowdfunding. A photo and a tangible thing will go a long way to demonstrating to them that your project isn’t vaporware.
Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome to everyone. Use these magic words in your pitch and in your interactions with your donors. And use them in the cover letters you deliver with your perks (even virtual perks can include a cover e-mail). You don’t need to grovel, but you must be polite.
If you need $250,000 for your campaign, but you ask for $1,000,000, that does not do anyone any good.
You’ll just seem like you want to bum off others’ generosity. As an alternative, explain your overhead as transparently as possible. Because if you misuse your funds, you may find yourself in an unpleasant meeting with your state’s attorney general. So be truthful!
Focus On What You’re Giving to Your Investors. One of your goals in crowdfunding is to raise funding. But you need to focus on your investors. You want to create rewards or terms that will help you raise the money that you want. When developing the rewards for investors and backers, have your rewards tie back into your story.
One way to come up with a great reward for your campaign is to check out the most successful campaigns which raised the most money.
Line up the most significant and most reliable donors you can before you start. Tell your mother to postpone handing over her donation till you launch your campaign.
And ask them (nicely!) to release their money at a very specific time. Which time? The first or final day of the campaign. Separate the expected funding as well as you can. If the split isn’t around half and half, then ask for more to come on the final day of the campaign. Make the most of the novelty factor of the very first day of the campaign, or the urgency factor of the very last.
It’s like a busker with a few of her own dollars in her hat. To motivate people to donate, you want your biggest donors to show other donors that they believe in you and your project. It helps if they tell other donors that they’d best get in on investing in your company before the opportunity ends.
Get Supporter Engagement. Don’t make the common mistake of not engaging the people in your network of friends, family, and supporters. When creating a campaign, be ready to start funding once you launch everything. It’s especially important if you are using equity crowdfunding. Supporter engagement is vital. Because these people are your stakeholders, advisors, board members, partners, and existing investors.
Be gracious if your campaign fails. Even with GoFundMe (where you can keep the money even if you fall short), you still may not get enough to make a significant dent in your funding needs. If you wanted $100,000 and you only got $500, your best option may be to give back the cash.
If you almost got there with $95,000, then thank everybody who donated. See what you can do, although there’s a deficiency. And tell them what you are doing! Perhaps you’ll buy your building next year, or hire three people as opposed to four.
Once more, give your donors a stake in and an inside look at your startup. This will help them to feel invested. And they may decide to make up the shortfall themselves. Just because your crowdfunding campaign ends doesn’t mean a donor can’t send a check or buy more goods or services. If that comes about, then politeness is crucial.
Get to know Notable Investors. Get the attention of people who have never heard of your project before. One of your main goals should be to get people, organizations, and businesses that are familiar with you involved with your campaign. And ask them to spread the word. This sort of networking can only help you.
Share your campaign on social networks and ask your friends and family to do so, too. Tweet the link. Add it as a Facebook status. Turn it into a Tumblr blog post or a snap on Snapchat or publish a blog post about it. Ask your network to distribute the link. The best technique to get your network to help you out is by assisting them in return. If your nephew’s band is on Facebook, share their page, or tweet about it.
Be a cooperative member of your own personal community. Then your online community will be more likely to help you out when you ask. And rerun these social media posts. Consider time zones and our all-too busy lives. People might not see your message the first time around. Mix it up and send it at irregular hours. Use scheduling software such as HootSuite for this. This includes what is the middle of the night where you live.
Plan your Marketing and Outreach Strategy. You will need to put hours into creatively marketing your campaign before it launches. Successful campaign owners spend hours developing a plan that will market their campaign. And they have a defined goal that raises funding efforts both online and offline.
Your stretch goals should be a mix of easy to get and pie in the sky. If you are crowdfunding for $100,000, a pretty easy to meet stretch goal is $125,000.
Pie in the sky will be more like $300,000. Make it clear what you will do with any added cash if you are fortunate enough to get it. Will you buy the property your startup is in? Hire four more people? Replace your worn out equipment? Open a brand-new market on some other continent? Let your donors know what you are striving for, so they can dream with you.
Starting a new business venture doesn’t have to be restrictive or stressful. This is especially when you know how to use crowdfunding and its various platforms. Crowdfunding can be another way to fund your business or a new project without having to pay for upfront marketing costs. And you get to keep your equity!
As a business owner, you should always look for ways to grow your business. And by using crowdfunding you can provide your business with new avenues to get funding.