In the recent years, startup and small business owners have seen crowdfunding rise tremendously. Today, it is one of the most popular ways for business owners to fund their business operations without having to go to a bank to ask for a conventional loan. Of course, crowdfunding does not stop someone from approaching a bank for a business loan.
However, it only makes sense for someone to plan their roadmap carefully and fulfill all their financial needs with an effective crowdfunding campaign on the right platform. For anyone who believes crowdfunding is just a way to collect funds from many different people, they need to rethink that.
Crowdfunding Is Much More than Just Collecting Money
Much Easier than Traditional Funding
Traditional funding is quite a challenge for entrepreneurs and small business owners. As soon as you are at a point where collecting funds for your business is necessary, you start approaching the wealthy people, angel investors, venture capitalists, banks and other lending institutions for investments. The issue here is that you start at the wide side of the funnel and narrow down your options from there to reach the pointy side of the funnel i.e. finding the right investors. If you are unable to strike a deal with your final option, you will end up wasting all your efforts and time.
On the other hand, crowdfunding is the exact opposite of traditional funding. You start at the pointy end of the funnel, create your crowdfunding campaign and let the right people discover you. Those who find your concept attractive and appealing will invest. You will not have to go door to door to find the right person to invest in your, your business and your idea. This makes crowdfunding much easier than traditional funding.
Better Market Outreach
For you to increase your chances of getting the right investor on your side, you have to be at every venue, seminar and meeting where you think you will get a chance to meet the potential investors. However, you can only do so much in the limited time you have before someone else copies your idea and capitalizes on it. On the other hand, when you pick crowdfunding as a way to fuel your business financially, you don’t have to rely on your efforts and marketing outreach solely. The first step of crowdsourcing is finding the right platform since there are many to choose from.
You have to pick your crowdfunding platform based on its popularity and reliability in the public. In short, you benefit from the market outreach of the platform. If your crowdfunding platform is popular in multiple continents then you can expect your funds to be coming from all those places.
Less Riskier than Traditional Funds
One of the biggest issues with traditional funding, especially venture capital, is that such funding has a lot of risk associated with it. Venture capitalists are people or institutions that are oftentimes more interested in their own financial gain than they are in watching your business grow. Their purpose of investing in your company is to double or triple their investment. For that reason, they will often have very strict regulations associated with their investments. If they have doubts about the success of your idea, they will often try to give you the money as repayable loan – the regulations will still be strict.
If they think your product/service will become a massive success, they will try to throw in permanent royalty deals or attempt to take away as much equity in the business from you as possible.
People who fund your business through crowdfunding might not even ask for any stake in your company. Their contributions can be as small as $5 and they might not even expect anything in return. Sometimes, they can make big investments without asking for a lot of equity. On many occasions, their rewards are as simple as a free sample of the product.
Brings Professionalism Out of You
Just because crowdfunding is less risky than traditional funding does not mean you can be all casual with it. Asking for the world to invest in your concept is serious business and you have to be at your professional best to convince people to invest in you. The first thing you will have to do is come up with a proper business plan. Secondly, you want to have a team of right professionals by your side that people can look at and trust. If the air around your team is negative, people will not invest a single dollar in you. You also have to have a good explanation of where you will be spending the money you collect.
If you have prototypes, bring them to the front. Create videos to showcase your technology. Be sure that your product/service is a solution to an existing problem. Do not create a problem and then fix it with your product. Angel investors often frequent crowdfunding platforms and they have to make sure that they are investing in serious people and business, not a hobby.
Helps You Create a Community of Followers
A lot of investment on crowdfunding websites comes in the form of small contributions. These people are not investors but regular people who like an idea, and want to see it in practical form. They believe your idea can solve one of their issues or maybe make the world a better place. If you can convince them that your idea does either or both of those things, they will actively invest in it. These people are early adopters of your technology/product/service and will also act as word-of-mouth marketers for your brand.
It is not a coincidence that crowdfunding has become one of the most popular ways for new businesses and entrepreneurs to support their early growth, marketing and expansion through crowdfunding. They must be seeing some benefits of funding their efforts through crowdsourcing over conventional funding. If you are someone who is considering the same route, the first advice for you would be to choose a platform with trust, reputation and outreach for your crowdfunding campaign.