How To Crowdfund Your Million Dollar Idea
Have you got a great business idea? If you do, all you need is a wealthy investor to seed your exciting new project, and your world will be filled with sunshine and rainbows. Unfortunately, if you're part of the 99 percent, you probably don't have that connection. More likely you're starting from scratch, hoping for a financial miracle that could bring your great idea to fruition.
Miracles do happen, and you may be able to make one for yourself if you follow the tens of thousands of other miracle-seekers who have joined the crowdfunding parade. By taking your concept directly to the people you can bring it the attention it deserves, and if your concept is as magical as you think it is the funds should come flowing in.
Crowdfunding is an excellent option for aspiring entrepreneurs and creators who lack access to other sources of capital. You may be only vaguely familiar with how it works, but the important thing is that it does work. Crowdfunding is a solid, proven business strategy.
The Key Principles
If you go to the most heavily trafficked crowdfunding sites, you may be intimidated by the intensity of competition for dollars. Pretty much anyone can whip up a compelling enough business proposal to get at least some attention, and you may think it's impossible to stand out from the crowd when the crowd is large enough to fill a dozen NFL stadiums.
Your fears are unfounded. Crowdfunding is popular because supporters believe in it and are ready, willing and able to offer their assistance to projects they deem worthy. If you handle your campaign with enthusiasm, intelligence, and self-confidence, and if your proposal is as great as you think it is, the funding angels will descend from the heavens carrying bags of cash.
Many people from all walks of life have launched successful initiatives, and you can do it, too, if you follow these 11 essential recommendations:
Pick the right website
. By all means, check out the most popular and well-established websites: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe, and so on. Each site has its own terms and its own style, so you'll want to learn as much as you can before deciding which one to use. The crowdfunding economy is bursting at the seams, though, and many specialized sites may give you a better chance of finding sympathetic funders or investors.
For example, you might want to search for sites that cater specifically to investors or funders for business start-ups. Look for project proposals that seem similar to yours and if they are raising a lot of money that just might be the place for you.
Learn about online marketing (and face-to-face marketing as well)
. You could just post your project proposal on a website and then sit back and wait for the funds to pour in, but that is a sure-fire recipe for failure. You have to market your idea as aggressively as you can if you expect to draw people in, just as you would if you were launching a business the old-fashioned way.
Many websites and eBooks can teach you all the tricks of the online marketing trade. Read, learn, and implement those tricks one at a time, expanding your repertoire as your knowledge expands, and you'll be amazed by the positive response you generate.
Begin searching for funders or investors before you list your project
. Your marketing/awareness-raising campaign should begin 6-12 months before you're ready to go live on your chosen site.
You want to hit the ground running, and this means having potential funders already lined up and prepared to make their pledges on the first day your business proposal becomes active. Getting your project some attention from the start just attracts more attention!
Use and expand your social media presence as the focal point of your online marketing strategy
. You already know how to connect with people through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the like, so it's relatively simple to use these networks to spread the good word about your project and your new status as an entrepreneur.
You don't even have to be an expert in online marketing to begin creating buzz through your social media channels. You just have to let others know what you plan, and your enthusiasm will be contagious.
If your concept is big, break it up into smaller parts
. Investors and funders are looking for concrete development plans that seem reasonable and likely to succeed. Overly complicated proposals are unlikely to captivate anyone's imagination, so if you want to gain sponsorship, it's useful to break an ambitious project up into easily digestible and achievable milestones. A little research will serve you well: read up on ways to present a business plan clearly, effectively, and professionally. You will need to present your idea in clear, concise terms, and you will need to support that concise introduction with detailed explanation and analysis.
Make sure your presentation is compelling, imaginative and entertaining
. Once you're ready to post your business proposal on your chosen site, you should prepare a written and visual presentation that sells your vision, translates your excitement and persuades potential funders that you know your onions and have all your ducks in a row.
While you may prefer to compose your text and choose accompanying images yourself, it might be better to hire content marketing experts and offer advice to keep them on target.