INSIGHT

Raise funds (and make some noise)

Our insider’s crowdfunding tips will help your business grow

Want to raise some cash and generate some excitement about your idea? Crowdfunder’s ambassador, Jess Ratty is well worth your attention. Her Voom Tour talk is full of practical help so we’ve put together the highlights here.

And don’t forget, if you’re lucky, you can still nab her for a funding 1-to-1 at one of our Voom Tour stops

“The best advice I had for almost all of them was to believe in themselves, to know that they are a hugely important part of their business brand and that in order to gain access to funding, or to crowdfund, they'd need to put their faces out there.”

 
 

Don’t stop till you get enough

Jess was on our Voom Bus to dish out help to startups, “The best advice I had for almost all of them was to believe in themselves, to know that they are a hugely important part of their business brand and that in order to gain access to funding, or to crowdfund, they'd need to put their faces out there.”

Like everything to do with business, knowing the numbers is key. You need to know how much money you want to raise, but also be cautious.

Jess explains, “Crowdfunder takes a fee, the card payment providers take a fee (all small %'s but they can add up) – so crowdfunders need to work out how much they need and then how much they need to raise to cover costs on top. That's not forgetting how to get rewards to backers after they've pledged too – do you need to think about postal fees?”

Networking – online, offline and in your sleep

Okay, you’ve got the magic number you need, set. Are you ready to press go? Crowdfunder may give you a platform but the fundraising itself is down to you. However it’s not as daunting as it sounds; you probably already know plenty of people who’d be interested in your idea.

“The crew at Crowdfunder always chats about this thing called the ‘network map’ and it's vital. Everyone has a network – starting with close friends and family, acquaintances, business connections, people you do yoga with, people you've connected with online, people you go to the pub with, or even the people in the walking club you hang out with on a weekend,” says Jess.

Jess suggests actually drawing your network out as a bullseye with your name on the middle and your networks in circles around you.

“You have to understand who those people are, where they fit into your world, and what the best approach/message is to get the news of your great business idea to them.” 

For example, a Facebook message is a very different beast to approaching your business contacts via LinkedIn. As crowdfunding starts with you building momentum within your circle, it’s not enough to send out a couple of emails and cross your fingers. 

Know your audience

If you want investment (even if it’s just a couple of quid) you need to ask in the right way. And to do that, you need to know exactly who you’re talking to.

Jess says, “I got chatting with the business brains behind unique brand RetraSafe, these guys build stabilisers for ladders. Now that's not an obviously a sexy business (sorry guys – I still love your idea; it's amazing!), but they are in a sweet spot as legislation is coming in to ensure all ladder users have stabilisers, so they’re going for gold. Their audience is different too – we talked about trade business owners, maintenance teams, big contractors.

“It's a very different audience from an inner-city social enterprise workspace. (I've also been chatting with the fabulous Camilla Rigby who’s setting up a space in Bristol for working parents called The Village Hall.)

“Can you see just how different these audiences are? That's why it’s so important to understand who you’re targeting.” 

Funding the future

Jess has been dispensing wise words across the country but what made her and Crowdfunder get involved with the Voom Tour? “The UK has such hidden talent and #VOOM is enabling their voices, and importantly, their ideas to be heard – and funded.”

And she ends with some much-needed optimism, “The world is an exciting playground for entrepreneurs, right now. And I'm pretty stoked to be in the mix.” 

Come and hear Jess in the flesh, on our Voom Tour bus – find your nearest stop now.

Or get more help crowdfunding your project, here.

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