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Turning to crowdfunding for business success is increasing in popularity. This article takes you through why, along with all important tips for your business fundraising campaign.
Whether it’s raising funds to start a business or to keep your business running, you may need financial assistance. You might have a wonderful idea and all the motivation you need to get started, but lack the capital to get things moving. This is where crowdfunding can really help you to follow your dreams!
Starting a business can be really costly, daunting and can often prevent people from following their dreams, even if they have a great idea. If you have the drive, the passion and a well formulated plan, then crowdfunding can help you raise the funds to get your venture off the ground.
Some businesses may already be up and running but may want to introduce a new piece of equipment, an upgrade to their business premises or another new idea. These new additions require money, so people may turn to fundraising.
A great example was a small business who faced an unexpected challenge when a big chain store opened up in the local neighbourhood, directly competing with their services. The small business began to struggle, but instead of giving up, they turned to crowdfunding to revamp their business and to add in extra aspects (including a post office) that the chain store didn’t offer, therefore regenerating the custom from the local community. Their campaign was successful. They met their goal at 101%!
Businesses sometimes struggle with everyday running costs, especially when they’re a fairly new business and are not yet making a profit. There are many costs to consider, such as wages, building upkeep, business vehicles and so on. Often people turn to an ongoing crowdfunding campaign to keep things running smoothly.
Businesses and business owners can face challenges. Whether it’s weather damage, a break in, or ill health of the business owner, sometimes we all need a bit of extra help. If challenges come into play, even well-established businesses may need to ask for help to get back on their feet.
A heartwarming example is Nana’s Kitchen, a well-loved family cafe which faced weather damage. In order to continue, they turned to their local community to help them get back on their feet and were amazingly successful, raising 251% of their goal!
Crowdfunding doesn’t just help to raise capital, but also the visibility of your business. This can be extremely helpful, especially when you’re just getting started. As you share your campaign page, take part in fundraising events and rally round the community, people are simultaneously learning about your business and the work you’re going to be doing.
When you are setting up your business campaign, it’s important that you first choose the right site for your needs. Be sure to do your research and pick a site that suits your individual situation. Once you’ve made that decision, you’re ready to get started.
Setting up your campaign can feel a bit nerve-wracking, but with GoGetFunding it really is simple and can even be fun! We have fundraising coaches able to assist you whenever needed. They are available any time of the day and night. Your coach can guide you if you get stuck and provide plenty of tips and ideas to optimize your chances of success.
You must be organized and ready to present your idea to your audience, so it’s important you’ve thought it through and planned it out. You could even run the idea past someone you trust. An extra pair of eyes can help you to see if there’s anything you may have missed.
Now that you have thought through your idea, it’s time to explain it to your audience. Be open and clear in the story section of your campaign. The more detail you include and the more transparent you are, the more you build that trust with your audience. They need to know that this is something you are really passionate about, but also that you are organized and have planned things out precisely. People are more inclined to donate if they feel that the business venture has a chance of success and if they understand that you are serious about it.
It’s a good idea to include:
As well as talking about your business, it’s important to let your audience know who you are! They need to connect with you on a personal level so that you build on the trust we mentioned earlier. You could include some basic details about yourself and a little bit about your interests so that they can see that human side as well as the more professional aspect of your campaign.
If you have the experience that pertains to the business venture you are fundraising for, go ahead and include it. This will allow people to see how well prepared you are and again, increase their trust as they see you are more likely to be successful. If you don’t have experience with business or the industry you are going into, it becomes even more vital to explain why you have chosen this route along with how you are going to educate and prepare yourself for success.
Adding pictures and videos of yourself and of aspects related to your business can allow you to connect with the audience on a much deeper level than just including words. You could include videos of you talking about business plans, include promotional media or use something more emotionally resonant related to your inspiration.
If you’re just getting started, this media doesn’t have to be made on fancy camera equipment or with a lot of funding, but it does need to look professional. Consider the background of your picture or video. Choosing something neutral and simple gives off a professional air. Consider what you wear in the video. Dressing appropriately in line with the tone of your business can ensure you’re giving off the right first impression. If you’re making a video and you’re nervous about speaking, take the time to practice so you get it right. Above all, remember to be yourself and to speak from the heart.
You can also choose the font, the word colour, the general colour scheme and the title of your campaign. Be sure that the choices you make reflect the tone you are trying to portray in relation to your business.
Ensure that you set your fundraising target realistically. If you’re just getting started, it’s important you raise money to cover the essentials before you look at more high-end equipment, for example. It’s also vital you are realistic about the amount of time it will take to raise the money. If your plan is date specific, start your campaign in plenty of time to try and raise the money you need. Setting an end date for your campaign allows you to be clear with donors about when you need the money, increasing that sense of urgency and driving donations.
While there is a chance that you will raise all of the money you need, there’s no guarantee. Consider what your plan will be if you don’t raise all the funds. GoGetFunding allows you to keep all the funds you do raise, even if you don’t meet your target. It’s a good idea to check whether that’s the case with any crowdfunding site you are considering.
How you run your campaign will reflect on how you are going to run your business. Especially if you are raising money for a business start-up, remember that this is going to be the first thing that many people see of your business. Be organized, take a professional air, and be proactive. Keep on top of things such as thanking your donors and updating them. Our site offers you the option to set up automatic emails to be sent out every time somebody donates to ensure that you are not missing out any donors.
You can use the update section to let donors know how the campaign is going and the progress you are making with your business. Once they donate, they are going to be very invested in your business emotionally as well as financially, so it’s important you keep them involved. This investment in your campaign also means that they are more likely to use your business services once it is up and running!
Remember that how you treat donors is a reflection and indication of how you are going to treat customers of your business. It’s important you interact with them professionally and let them know how much their help means to you. Take the time to check your campaign page for spelling and grammar, and double check that all your links and media are working so that things run as smoothly as possible.
One of the most vital aspects of any campaign is promotion, particularly if you want to reach a wider audience. It’s important to be extremely proactive to increase your chances of success!
Many business owners will choose to offer incentives such as displaying donors’ names on their website. You could consider offering discounts for your business once it’s set up, offering a free product or service, or even offering free advertising space on your website.
You could choose to offer small gifts to donors or send out thank you cards in the post. You could even run a competition with one entry for every donation, with a few prizes on offer once the campaign is finished. Our site keeps the donor’s information safe and ready to go, so that you have all the information on hand when sending out rewards. Remember to include your business name, address and logo (if you have one) on any correspondence to maintain that professional approach.
Social media can be your best friend when it comes to promotion. There are so many platforms out there that you can utilize to reach a wider audience. Ensure that you post regularly. Use social media posts to talk about your campaign, include your link and ask others to share the post. It’s important not to overwhelm your audience however, by constantly posting about your fundraiser on one platform. Vary the platforms that you are posting on, for example Twitter one day, Facebook the next, then Pinterest and so on. It’s also a great idea to interact with your followers about other topics to build personal connections. This will make them more likely to follow your social media account.
Set up social media accounts for your business and use these to promote your campaign, rather than using your personal account. You can use your business name, link your website, and include your logo as your profile picture. This means that when people are sharing your campaign posts, they are also sharing your business name and logo.
You could share photos and videos on social media in relation to your campaign to gain even more visibility. You could even choose to do a live stream, as these tend to appear at the top of people’s pages and often attract a bigger audience. Remember that you are always representing your business, so present yourself well during a live stream just like with the pictures and videos on your campaign page.
Use relevant hashtags to your campaign and the industry of your business. For example, a dog walking business, you could use hashtags such as #dogs and #dogwalking, as well as more business-related hashtags like #businessstartup. Take a look around to see what hashtags are popular. Just as we don’t want to spam our audience with posts every day on the same social media platform, we also don’t want to flood each post with lots of hashtags. Try to use 3 or 4, and then next time use different ones to expand the reach of your posts.
GoGetFunding allows you to use widgets embedded into your website or on your social media account which link back to your campaign page. This can give a professional appearance, as well as standing out to your audience.
Printing flyers and posters to hand out around the local community helps to reach more people. Ensure they are well-formatted and look professional. You should include the link address to your campaign page, as well as some basic information about your business and your reasons for raising funds. Making them colourful and including pictures can really capture attention.
Connecting with other local businesses can be useful. You could ask them to display your flyers or posters in their windows. You could even ask if they would put a donation box near their tills so that people can donate as they shop. People are likely to drop in their spare change when they are already spending money. Our site allows you to add offline donations to your campaign page so that you can keep track of them.
You could even offer local businesses discounted rates once your business is set up, or free advertising space on your website for example, in exchange for them helping you to promote your campaign. Making these networks with other local businesses can be pivotal to your success. If a customer sees a business they already trust recommending a new business, they are far more likely to check it out!
There are plenty of other ways you can utilize the internet to promote your cause. Get involved on business forums and notice boards. Join community pages for business owners, or which are relevant to your industry. You could set up your own blog or YouTube channel to document your journey. Offering to guest blog for other blogs or websites about something related to your business for free (in exchange for including a link back to your campaign page of course) can drive traffic your way.
Fundraising events can not only help you reach your fundraising total but can also help to raise the visibility of your campaign, and in turn your business! You could choose to run an event that is in line with the area of your business, for example running a sponsored dog walk if you’re setting up a dog walking business. Consider giving out business cards or flyers at the event to make the most of promotion opportunities. You could even have t-shirts printed of your business name and logo and ask those involved to wear them!
Once your campaign is up and running you are able to adjust or improve it as you go along, giving you flexibility at no extra cost. Whatever your business idea, crowdfunding can help you to turn dreams into a reality! What are you waiting for? Get started today!
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