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So. You have an amazing idea for a business and you’ve decided you want to make it happen. That’s awesome, but what’s the next step? It’s likely that you’ll need to find funding to get the wheels in motion. Here are a few of the options you might want to look into:

Use your own money

Sure, it’s a risk, but it can’t be that much of a risk if you have an amazing idea and you’re really confident that it’ll work. It’ll mean you stay completely in control of your business and there’s nobody who’s going to kneecap you because you owe them money (although if you’re borrowing money through legit means we’re sure there’s only minimal kneecapping anyway). It’s the kind of funding that provides the most freedom from other peoples’ opinions.

Ask your friends/family/connections

If you know somebody who has money and who’d be willing to chip in to support you on your way to living the dream, then let them help you. It can be awkward, but it’s worth it if it gets you where you want to be. If you have connections with people who are open to investing, exploit those. Starting a business is no time to start feeling shame, and lots of people would be very excited about funding a loved-one’s dream.

Grants

It can take a while to research all of the business grants available and whether your project fits their criteria. The application process can also be equally long and dull. However, if you can find a suitable grant and end up getting it you’ll be glad you took the time. After all, free money is the best kind of money.

Incubators

If you think you could benefit from more than just an injection of cash, an incubator could be the way to go. Depending on the company involved they could offer to provide office space, advice, help with marketing, and networking opportunities along with their financial offering. It does require giving up a degree of control, though, so it might not be the dream option for everybody.

Loans

Loans are a classic option and, while there’s some suggestion that they’re more difficult to get in today’s financial climate, if you have a well-thought-out business plan and a clear idea of what your revenue will look like, you still might be able to convince a bank to sit down with you and talk it over. The crucial thing to remember is that you’ll have to pay it back eventually, whether or not the business works out.

Nothing

If you’ve got a simple idea, you might not need to be put off by complicated methods of finding funding. Say you were launching a consultancy business: You could work from home, set up a simple website, and get networking. There doesn’t always need to be a big financial outlay, and as you being to bring money in you can reinvest it to help your business grow at a sustainable rate.

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It’s not necessarily hard to launch and grow a successful business, but it does take a lot of work to keep it running. If you’ve managed it, you’re already kind of our idol. Do you fancy guiding other people through the process? Sign up today to become an Expert with HowNow. And if you’re just at the beginning of your journey, keep an eye out for some advice from our experts.

Crowdfunding in its current form has been around for close to a decade. In 2015 alone it has been estimated that over $34 billion was raised through crowdfunding. Basically, crowdfunding is kind of a big deal.

There are two main types of funding for businesses. There’s ‘equity’ – where a backer gives money in exchange for shares in a company, and ‘reward’ – where backers pledge money and are rewarded with something physical. In this post we’re going to look specifically at reward-based crowdfunding.

Step 1: Choose your platform

There are loads of platforms, which means that you can find one that’s suitable whatever your goal is. If you want to go the traditional route, you won’t get the money you’ve raised unless you’ve hit your target amount. There’s a slightly more pessimistic option on many sites where you can keep any money you’ve raised for a higher commission fee. There are also industry-specific sites, depending on what your company is doing. You’ll need to think about whether your potential backers will be willing to use a less well-known website, or if they’d prefer to trust a famous one like Kickstarter.

Step 2: Set your amount

Since you’re an expert on your chosen industry you’ll probably have a vague idea of how much money you need to raise. But humour us, and spent an afternoon sitting down and working through all of the figures. If you create a product, how much will it cost to produce? How much will it cost to send rewards out? How much will you need to pay for any staff or external services you use. Make sure you ask for all of the money you’ll need because you won’t be able to change your campaign target once you start crowdfunding.

Step 3: Decide on your rewards

If you launch a new product, will you send out the first run of those as backer rewards? If you run something with a membership, will people be able to access this if they back you? Maybe you’re funding a creative project like a film or a show, but will you still make a profit if you give away tickets as rewards? Make sure the excitement levels of your rewards increase with levels of backing, and make sure you don’t overdo it with the funding levels – it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit every £5 increment.

Step 4: Promotion, promotion, promotion

Now that you’ve got your campaign more-or-less planned, how will you let people know? The first place to start is with your personal network. The public won’t contribute to an otherwise-empty campaign, so make sure you’ve got some mates primed to chip in as soon as you launch. Send press releases to let the media know what you’re up to. Make sure you’ve got lots of content going out on social media to draw attention to what you’re doing.

Step 5: Keep up the momentum

Once your campaign has started, you’re going to be tired. It’s best to accept that now. You need to be posting content every day and hounding people at every opportunity. You’re going to annoy people and you’re going to feel bad about it. To give yourself something new to talk about, try adding some new perks midway through to keep people interested. You also need to stay in touch with the people who have backed you to let them know how you’re getting on.

Step 6: Keep in touch

Once your campaign is over, give yourself a couple of days to recover. Thank everybody who put up with your constant crowdfunding talk. After that, you need to keep in touch with your backers at least until all of your rewards have been sent out. After all, these people are your customers now, and have trusted you to come through. If there are delays with sending out their rewards let them know, and if anything changes definitely keep them informed.

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This is just an overview of some of the things you should think about when launching a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign. For more in-depth info, or to answer specific questions, check out HowNow for classes to help you along the way.