If invoicing and chasing payments are taking too much of your time then it’s time you reconsider how your business deals with bookkeeping and accounting. It shouldn’t be taxing.
4 Useful Tips To Manage Your Small Business Finances
Business Finance Articles
Whatever the health and condition of your business venture, it will benefit from planning. Business planning of all types provides a roadmap that guides the leadership team to successfully achieve business goals.
I’ve taught business plan writing for more than 10 years and I’ve also developed a one-day business plan writing workshop. As I see it, the process of business planning gives company leaders opportunities to see the big picture and remove “magical thinking” from the process. Business planning first reveals if the proposed goals are potentially viable and second, requires that we devise strategies that will make them a reality.
What your team wants to achieve will shape the plan that is written. For example, if the mission is to launch a start-up that will require significant outside investment, then the plan will include detailed financial projections. Additionally, marketing strategies that delve into customer acquisition, the competitive landscape, the logistics of the product or service launch, messaging and sales distribution, along with operational aspects such as manufacturing, staffing and quality control, must be thoroughly detailed.
Solopreneur consultants will focus heavily on marketing, in particular defining the target clients and client acquisition; providing services for which there is adequate demand; and appropriate pricing. Financial planning will focus on allocating the budget to support promotional strategies and marketing campaigns.
Whether the plan will be used to launch a big venture and attract outside investment money or open a boutique-style consulting service, include the following elements:
Present the business mission statement here. Include as well the date the business was formed; the leadership team and other key management personnel; the credentials or experience that make you and the leadership team uniquely qualified to launch and successfully run the venture; the business legal structure (LLC, Sole Proprietor, or Corporation); the products and services; one or two key competitive advantages; a concise overview of sales projections; and the amount of capital needed if recruiting investors or obtaining bank financing is a goal.
It’s traditional to present a brief description of your industry and its outlook, nationally and regionally. Give the details of your products and services and briefly discuss how they’ll be used by target customers. Identify whether the venture is B2B, B2C, or B2G. If the organisation holds a patent, review the competitive advantages that it will convey. Have there been any technological advances that will help or hinder the enterprise? Divulge the details here.
This element is a big tent that encompasses sales, product or service distribution, competitors, advertising, social media, PR, networking, branding, customer acquisition and pricing. Plans written for a small organisation will spotlight the role of marketing because for Solopreneurs, success hinges on identifying and reaching paying clients, as well as pricing the services advantageously.
Whether you’re wealthy enough to self-finance or the venture is small and not especially demanding of capital investment, the leadership team nevertheless needs to know with a reasonable degree of certainty how much money will be required to achieve important goals.
The plan might be written to support financing for the acquisition of new office space, additional staffing, or manufacturing equipment. Bank loans typically require a business plan to demonstrate how the investment money would be used and how the organisation will generate funds for loan repayment.
If the goal is to attract investors, they’ll need to be convinced by the projected sales revenue figures (as will the bank), so they’ll know when their investment will be repaid and when to expect profits if they are made co-owners of the business. A break-even analysis, projected income statement, projected cash-flow statement and projected balance sheet are required by those who will need significant money.
How will day-to-day business processes function? Tell it here, along with providing the organisational chart, the business location, the method of producing that which you sell (if you are, for example, a freelance book editor or graphic designer, you produce the service yourself), your usual sub-contractors (if you are a special events organiser, who are your preferred caterer, florist and limo service?) and quality control methods. This element is about logistics.
If you think that a business strategy is not important because you only have a small venture, then you need some serious rethinking to do. Creating a strategy is a crucial task of a business owner. Even if you only have a garage-type operation or an Internet-based home enterprise, the strategic direction that you will set for your business will determine your failure or success.
Unfortunately, most small business owners are intimidated by the word strategy. They will simply create a short-term business plan for their weekly or monthly operations. If you are following this approach, then you will have a difficult time transforming your small business into a big and highly successful corporation.
You have to remember that creating a business strategy need not be too complicated. There are simple ways of devising a strategic plan for your small venture. Here are the top two models or formulas that could help you.
The Goal-Focus Graph
Creating a strategy graph that focuses on your bigger goals is the easiest and simplest way to formulate a strategic plan. You do not have to earn a business degree to create the goal-focus graph. In fact, you can finish creating the strategy in a few hours.
What you need to do is to get a clean sheet of bond paper. Consider this paper as a representation of your 5-year strategic plan.
The bottom edge of the paper is year zero while the top-most part is the fifth year. On the bottom part of the paper, write the current status of your business. Then you should write your five-year goal on the upper edge of the graph.
The blank space of the paper should represent the x-number of years or months and you must set concrete and quantifiable milestones for each year or month. Make sure to set the major tasks that you have to accomplish to reach a milestone. Once you complete the goal-focus graph, then you will now have a working business strategy which should guide you for the next five years.
Following the Kaizen Model
The Kaizen model is a Japanese invention focusing on performance and productivity. It is practically a hands-on business strategy which could become the unique culture of your enterprise. Even the global MNCs of Japan are following the Kaizen model to chalk-up more achievements.
The Kaizen business strategy is not complicated. In order to simplify your approach, you need to focus your efforts on improving two things: customer relationship and employee morale.
Your intra-corporate strategy should be centred on teamwork, quality, rewards system, discipline, and thrift. On the customer or sales side, the focus of your strategy should be customer satisfaction, giving greater value, building lasting relationships, and maintaining cordial communications.
If you apply the Kaizen principle to your small business, then you are already half-way to your success. This is a proven business strategy that promotes greater customer loyalty and harmonious relationships within the workplace.
Creating a business strategy for your small business is not difficult. You can easily create a strategy as long as your business goals and objectives are clear. Once you have created a strategy for your business, you have to apply it consciously in order to achieve greater success.
Though it has undergone many changes, the business plan is still around. No longer limited to the traditional 12-15 page type-written document, a business plan can be exciting and engaging as well as useful. Many of us realize that it’s the planning process, and the associated research and soul searching, that is so valuable. The finished plan is just icing on the cake.
Just as there are many types of entrepreneurs and business ideas there are many kinds of business plans. Here are three that deserve some special attention.
The “Accidental Entrepreneur” Plan:
Believe it or not, it happens quite often. An impulse, a hobby, or a passing notion turns into a business without warning. One day you’re handing your extra back-yard tomatoes or homemade cake to the neighbours, and before you know it you’re filling out the forms for a booth at the local farmer’s market. Perhaps you create a unique bit of hand-crafted jewellery and wear it to school or work, and then find your phone flooded with messages like, “Where can I get one?” and “I’ll pay you to make one for me.”
When you’re writing a business plan in a situation like these, you need to address a few issues the intentional entrepreneur has already pondered. The first is do you really want this idea to become a full-blown business? Certainly it’s flattering when you realise there’s a market value for something you were doing anyway, but that doesn’t always mean you should launch a business. A lot of accidental businesses form around fads or seasonal items, and may not be robust enough to function as year-round, money-making, enterprises.
Next you will need to carefully examine what actually goes into your offering. How many hours does it take to create those one-of-a-kind bracelets? How much does it cost to bake a dozen of your special recipe cookies? How much research goes into “whipping up” a website? Making tangible goods requires space. Do you have room to grow enough squash to actually generate profits? Are these numbers you could sustain beyond the occasional personal or family use of your product or service?
The business planning process can be very helpful to “accidental entrepreneurs” as it allows you to decide which ideas are best left as hobbies and which ones could provide some real cash flow.
The “Back of a Napkin” Plan:
It is the source of entrepreneurial legend and lore, the million-dollar idea that was hurriedly scribbled on a bar napkin. Yet, for most potential business owners this option for business planning remains a fantasy. However, like any myth there is a tiny grain of truth inside. A quickie business outline can work as a launch plan under the right circumstances.
If you need to get going quickly to ride the wave of a fad before it fizzles, then fast, bare-bones planning may be all you’ve got time to execute. This works best when you’ve already got the infrastructure in place, perhaps from previous projects or an established business, and you can simply shift energy and resources to the new idea.
When you, and your partners if any, have all the core skills and industry knowledge you need to start right away without seeking experts, napkin notes may be enough to get going. Let’s say you are already an expert in technology and social media. Then you, and your team, probably don’t need a detailed plan to start developing a new app. You will draw on your knowledge and experience, and you understand that you might need to go back and do some more detailed and formal planning later.
Certainly when you reach the point where you are looking for investors or lenders, you will move beyond those first casual notes. Until then, drawing upon your expertise can allow you to quickly jump into the market and perhaps gain a competitive edge by using a minimalist plan.
The “One Pressing Issue” Plan:
Business planning does not stop the day you open for business. Under the best of circumstances you should be revisiting your plan once or twice a year to see how things are going, and where perhaps you’ve veered away from your original goals. Remember, changing the direction of a business isn’t always bad, but it should be intentional.
Then there are the moments when something seems to be going wrong, when one or more areas of the business just don’t seem to be working. Cash flow is anaemic or the marketing message is flat. Perhaps customers have shown a marked interest in only one particular product or service, ignoring all your other offerings. This means it’s time to revisit your business plan, more precisely it’s time to revisit the questioning process that helped you craft your plan.
Look at the assumptions you baked into your original plan. Did the city follow through on opening that new park across from your location? Were insurance rates what you expected? How many hours of accounting or web design help did you really need? Are your online inquiries out-stripping your face-to-face sales? Or vice versa?
Sometimes no matter how much you research, plan, or test, things don’t go as expected in a business. This isn’t necessarily a herald of failure or a sign that you’re not cut out for entrepreneurship. Life and the marketplace are both unpredictable, and plans need to be fluid and responsive. The “One Pressing Issue Plan” is simply a reflection of a normal evaluation process.
While I still recommend the business planning process, I caution you to realise that a beautifully crafted document does not always equal business success. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who successfully launched without a plan, and some with beautifully written plans that never materialised. You and your business idea are unique. Your planning process will be unique as well. Be wary of one-size-fits-all advice or pronouncements from experts about how you should proceed.
With the tremendous usability of accounting software in the marketplace, many businesses are summiting new Everest on a regular basis which is proving to be a good sign of market growth. Numerous of small-scale businesses are approaching for financial portals without entertaining second thoughts that might convey otherwise. The acceptance of such portals is offering ease to start-ups in many ways.
The highly recommended accounting & taxation software, QuickBooks desktop editions have taken the whole business world to a new level by offering infinite of features. Originally developed & designed by Intuit, QuickBooks traditional versions are enormously got integrated with millions of businesses and offered both flexibility and reliability to users. But with time, the need for something more advance & secure has realized by both users & the company.
Technology has no limitations instead it vasts with time; each second pays its importance when it comes to the market world. The company, Intuit, also quests for innovation which can be reliable to their customers and in meantime offers them more flexibility without compromising with the security of data. Cloud technology was the perfect answer for each & every concern of Intuit’s and thus the actual need of hosting provider comes to notice.
In order to offer more ease to already-hooked users, Intuit decided to extend QuickBooks functionalities and provided one decent option to convert “machine-based software into cloud-based software” effortlessly. Now the approach of doing this conversion is at its peak but to avail the same, Intuit asked third parties to offer their servers for QuickBooks software integration process. As the name speaks, many third parties accepted the quote raised by Intuit and only authenticity passed third parties are allowed to offer the hosting service.
The Main Query: What Is QuickBooks Hosting?
Where most of the already-hooked users are all set to avail the service, some are still struggling hard to know what exactly is QuickBooks hosting! Do they need to purchase it from Intuit?, Does integrating data means they will lose access to the desktop software? & many more. But in reality, QuickBooks hosting is a way to get an instant entry in the cloud network and access your data files over there.
The data which is being saved in the cloud network can only be accessed when it is being hosted on a server. The third party offers their server to QuickBooks users where they can access the data files originally saved over the cloud. This is the basic concept of QuickBooks hosting where the traditional desktop-based QuickBooks software is being hosted on a server.
Benefits of QuickBooks Hosting
There will be surely some interesting & scalable benefits of hosting QuickBooks desktop editions due to which many businesses are availing the integration to cloud. Some of the precise benefits that are useful for all business kinds are described below:
- One-click reports checking: Users can instantly check & track all the changes made on any particular report as the cloud-based application works in real-time constraints. The user doesn’t need to consume much time to get updated report file instead can avail directly at one single click.
- Convenient to access anytime, anywhere: The application after hosting to cloud network can be accessed via any device at any time without any much efforts. All the authentic users can work in a flow, no matter at what place, from what device, using which OS, on which time they are accessing the files.
- Ease of payroll management: No more burden to calculate payrolls each month, as the application is capable of doing the same. The hosting provider keeps you updated with all the recent changes made in HR field laws. Business will not be hampered due to such management.
- Same data with enhanced security: Hosting doesn’t mean data conversion in any manner; user’s data will be transferred to the cloud and not retained at any cost. This is the major benefit of integration to cloud as the user is still using the same QuickBooks software. Cloud network enriches data security.
- In-house IT department is old talk: Businesses can get free of unwanted expenses while having advanced software such as cloud-based QuickBooks. No user needs to invest in IT departments as the hosting provider will take care of all the issue fetched by the business during the integration period.
Fortunately, QuickBooks hosting is reliable, flexible, secure & advanced in every manner and thus offers growth in small times to businesses.
From managing employees to securing sales and dealing with any growth opportunities; as a business owner you will have many things to deal with. Whether you own a small business or are just starting up, you will understandably be under a lot of pressure to ensure that if nothing else, your company keep its head above water and nothing is more crucial to that then your finances.
Whatever the size of the business the financial obligations remain the same; bookkeeping, tax returns and vat returns are just some of the financial factors that must be considered and this includes payroll. Whether a business employees ten people or ten thousand, it is legally obliged to ensure that all are regularly paid for the work that they do.
Managing payroll is never easy and with everything from national insurance to tax to consider it can get very confusing! As with all areas of business finance it is important that payroll is dealt with correctly and according to HMRC standards which is often why many business owners will opt to outsource to a payroll specialist.
Is managing your company payroll getting too much? Are you wondering whether you have done things right? Then why not consider outsourcing too…
- Penalties- HMRC is known for being incredibly strict and any miscalculations on national insurance and tax payments could result in a penalty however by outsourcing to a payroll specialist you can rest assured that your payroll will be managed correctly.
- The Know How- Financial rules and regulations are often regularly updated and for the average business owner, knowing what to do and what not to do can all get very confusing. In order to manage payroll in-house a great deal of time, understanding and effort is required, something which the average business owner may struggle to spare. By outsourcing your business can keep up to date with any changes, as the business owner you can become educated all the while keep your business in the best condition possible.
- Time- As mentioned over and over again, time is of the essence in business and when it comes to payroll, you could easily several days each time trying to ensure that you are doing things correctly, to put it simply, outsourcing payroll will free up your time so that you can comfortably focus on other things… what could be better?
- Cost Saving- For many the idea of outsourcing may seem costly however did you know that by outsourcing payroll you could actually save your business money? From saving yourself the hassle of dealing with payment software to avoiding and mistakes and of course as mentioned in the above point, saving yourself time; in the long run outsourcing could save you a great deal!
Correctly managing all areas of business finances is of great importance and payroll is a part of that. Is your payroll department being managed correctly?
Financial services enable to focus on the growth of the organization. The bookkeeping service is probably the pivotal part for the success of the organization. If you want your business to grow more, do not underestimate the importance of bookkeeping. Accounting services are preferable for small industries as accounting work can be a time-consuming process and complicated too. So always take out a proper time while looking for because an effective bookkeeping is a great help in providing start-up ventures as well as small-scale businesses. As it is a complicated process which needs valuable time and efforts, therefore in order to make your work lesson and to solve the challenges of bookkeeping it is important to hire a professional bookkeeping service provider, it is a very important step to reduce your burden and make the task easier by hiring an experienced and intelligent service provider for your accounting needs.
Bookkeepers are known for not only for reducing the work and burden but also for maintaining a balance in credit and debit transaction. Organizations pay them for their accuracy, expertise, honesty, ability and for punctuality. The bookkeeping service providers play a vital role in maintaining the accuracy of reports and data.
There is no denying that these professional accounting services saves your time, money and energy from a significant amount of distraction and enable you to put your efforts, time and energy in the other core business processes. This will be an advantage, which helps you in achieving a high level of growth in the market. If you are looking for the edge of professional bookkeepers, no doubt you are going to entitle yourself to numbers of benefits that include:
Accurate and up to date bookkeeping & accounting services improve the ability of a business to focus on business growth and simultaneously truncate the risks and costs too.
- They make your data secure through a high-end facility of safe data centres.
- Cost effective services and reduces the cost
- Use of high fidelity software for these services which will make bookkeeping and accounting work a piece of cake and simple too.
- A smooth facility of control prevails to biometric access
- A professional bookkeeping service is responsible for completing inventory system, reconciliation, and more which enables you to complete all the documents easily and promptly.
- A much enhanced as well as quick preparation for all the taxation work and accounting.
There is no demur that professional payroll companies offer a unique and excellent treatment to all your needs specifically for bookkeeping and accounting work. All over the business owners and organization globally understands the needs and tremendous work of these service providers. Therefore rely on these service providers results into the growth of the company. The organization will shortens their work and not only save themselves from a headache but also at the same time they will make sure that all the business processes undergo in an efficient manner. These bookkeeping service providers add value to your business and your professional growth in a prominent way.
What does “exit strategy” mean to you and when do you think you should start thinking about it?
That’s not an easy question to answer without some context or specific examples. Here are a few:
- It (exit strategy) might mean how you intend to sell your business. Will you use a broker? Will you try to sell it yourself?
- It might mean saving, perhaps into a pension, while you run the business so you can retire regardless of what happens to the business; maybe you plan to shut the doors when the time comes and walk away.
- It might mean succession planning – training a family member or trusted right-hand person to manage the business after you retire. Maybe you’ll have a phased buyout for your successors. Or perhaps you’ll put your shareholding into trust for your family.
- It might mean you will build it to sell to a specific buyer or type of buyer. If you’re developing a new brand of vodka, for example, you might aim to sell to Diageo.
- It might mean building a business that is profitable and grows whether you are there or not so that you own a valuable asset, which you can sell easily as a going concern or take a passive income from after you put it under management.
With these thoughts in mind, when should you start thinking about it? In other words, how long will it take to develop your exit strategy and execute it to fruition?If an exit strategy means example 1 to you, then you’re probably looking at 12-18 months. The others will take more time.
For instance, if option 4 is your choice, you may have missed the boat if you didn’t consider your exit at day -1, in other words before you even start the business.
For the other options, you at least need to start thinking about exit planning as soon as your business becomes profitable, the third phase of business. Why? Because it will dictate, or at least guide, how you use the profits.
Of course, this might all make sense logically, but you’re busy growing your business, you haven’t got time to think about exiting.
Except having an exit strategy is all about growing your business.
Have a look at those examples again. What do they all have in common?
They all involve (with the exception of example 1):
- making more money than you need today because you will invest for tomorrow,
- growing an effective team,
- delegating day to day tasks to other people
Which of those aren’t about growing your business today? The more day-to-day tasks you delegate, the more time you can spend on finding ways to grow your business and make more money. The more money you make, the more you can invest in, among other things, hiring great people, to delegate even more to.This is succession planning in practice. It’s also how to build a more valuable business. One that is more sellable.
For privately owned businesses, having this kind of exit strategy is good business strategy.
Have you started working on your exit strategy? It’s never too soon.
How to improve your Email marketing
Many small businesses use email marketing as it is a popular and cost effective way for small business owners to consistently engage with past, current and prospective customers. If done well, it can be quite effective. If you already engage in email marketing, here are some tips to help you improve your results and work towards achieving email marketing success. If you haven’t tried it yet, keep this information in mind to help guide you through the process.
Whether you are trying to increase click through rates (CTR) to your website or ecommerce store, increase your email open rates or boost the number of times an email is shared, there are some things to keep in mind to help you improve your approach.
Tips for Email marketing success
Deliver one clear message. Have a single focus. For instance, focus on one topic and avoid ambiguity in your email content. Having too many focuses or too much information often gets ignored and is not as effective in grabbing people’s attention.
Small Business tips for better email marketing
- Share a clear reason why subscribers should click your ‘call to action’ for instance, click on your or ‘web link’, or ‘subscribe’, or click your ‘buy now’ button.
- Don’t make your emails too long, as most people just scan for key pieces of information.
- Cut out words that may trigger spam filters, particularly in the subject line, such as, ‘free’, or ‘you are a winner’ etc. Avoid overusing exclamation marks.
- Be consistent, establish a set time and day to deliver your emails. It could be weekly, monthly, quarterly or whatever time you think works best for your audience. Try and schedule your emails so that you are consistent.
- Make your emails mobile responsive. This is such a popular medium for readers nowadays. Make sure you are not missing opportunities by not investing in making your content mobile friendly.
- Keep subject lines short and communicate something of value.
- Ensure your target audience can still read your e-mail without having to download graphics.
- Keep your copy simple and professional and focus on the benefits to the customer.
- Make sure it is easy for people to unsubscribe (opt out) of receiving your emails.
- Segment your email lists so that your messages are more relevant and targeted to your specific clients. For example, if you have a sale on women’s cosmetics, it is less effective sending a blanket email to your entire list. If you segment your list to females within a certain age range, then your email will be more effective. You can also segment by geographic region, or job title, or by buyer behaviour, depending on the sort of data that you capture about your customers.
- Track response rates and metrics from email campaigns so you that you can obtain insights into buyer behaviour and refine campaigns.
- Add links to your images, so that readers can click through to your website or store via images.
- Add social sharing buttons like Facebook. LinkedIn and Twitter to promote social sharing.
Finally make sure you preview and test your emails before sending. Do all of the links and buttons work correctly? Have email addresses and web addresses been spelt correctly? What about phone numbers? Consider split testing your emails to determine which one will perform best. Finally ensure that everything is in order before sending.Don’t forget to track your results so that you can measure the impact of your efforts. If you need any assistance with your email marketing or any other marketing services find a marketing consultant that can help point you in the right direction and get you started.
Effie Cinanni is Founder and Director of Small Chilli Marketing, a Melbourne based consulting firm specialising in marketing and communications for small business. She is an Associate Member of the Australian Marketing Institute and a Certified Practising Marketer (CPM). She has experience across a range of industries including; IT & software, allied health, children’s services, real estate and professional services. Effie is degree qualified in Marketing & Finance and has worked in marketing and business consulting roles for over for 15 years. Her experience encompasses all facets of marketing, including strategy, planning, digital, communications, branding, event management and online.
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.
It’s important to find ways for your brand to stand out over other brands. You want your brand to be particularly distinctive and individual so that your audience has no doubt about whether something was put out by your company or not.
1. Match Your Branding Throughout
Remember that your brand should match whether you’re online or offline, on Facebook or LinkedIn, or publishing an article or an eBook. Your branding should be the same no matter where you are. The colors, fonts, mood, feeling, and thoughts your audience gets from your work need to match.
2. Be Active on Social Media
The more people see you sharing, the more they’ll get to know you and the more you can demonstrate what your brand stands for. Each share, comment, or response is a chance to show what your brand is about and how it’s different from others.
3. Understand Your Audience
It may seem strange to focus on your audience when branding yourself. But how your audience sees you is what’s important. Doing activities, publishing content, and responding to people in the way your audience wants you to, needs you to, and expects you to, is essential to show your distinctive differences.
4. Know How You Solve Problems
Your job for your audience is to solve their problems within the scope of products and services that you offer. You can solve those problems via your own products and services or by promoting someone else’s. But you should know how to solve their problems, and that requires knowing what they are.
5. Use the Right Language
The language you use should match what your brand voice is, and what your audience uses as well. If they have terms that they use (keywords) to find you, you should be using those too. Plus, use them in the right way, and the only way to do that is to know your audience and how they communicate.
6. Pay Attention to Your Voice
Your brand should have its own voice. That voice often matches your personal voice, and that’s okay. However, do pay attention to that voice, ensuring that it fits in with what you are trying to project to your audience and that it remains consistent throughout.
7. Be Consistent in Your Messaging
Keep every message you send consistent. If you say something that contradicts something you said yesterday, you need to have a good reason and explain, otherwise people get really confused about who you represent and who you are.
Branding is important for small businesses as well as large companies. If you have a limited budget, smart branding is perhaps the most inexpensive business tool you can create.