Crowdfunding sites enable entrepreneurs to showcase their business and the investment opportunity it offers to potential micro-investors.
14th November 2013
Crowdfunding sites enable entrepreneurs to showcase their business and the investment opportunity it offers to potential micro-investors – people who choose the idea, person or business they want to invest in, and the amount they want to invest. This guide from Crowdcube will help budding crowdfunders create and execute a successful campaign.
1. Be investable
Demonstrate how investors will realise a return on their investment, with a good business plan that outlines the opportunity, and financial forecasts that plot your revenue, profit and cashflow projections. An investor slide pack that distils your business plan can be helpful, while case studies make great supporting material.
2. Make your pitch compelling
Keep your pitch clear, simple and jargon-free so potential investors can easily understand what and who they’re investing in. Crowdcube’s research shows that the potential of the market and the prior experience of the entrepreneur are key factors in an investor’s decision – so describe your background and expertise, what your company does and who for, and how the market works. Tell them what you’ll use their investment for, and explain your strategy for growth and your potential exit strategies.
More than two-thirds of investors want to be ‘personally moved by the idea’, so tell them what makes your business unique, and why it inspires you. Where did the idea come from? If you’re blazing a trail, shaking things up or disrupting the status quo, play this up.
3. Start promoting yourself…yesterday!
Create early momentum by taking every opportunity to tell people what you’re doing and what you want to achieve. Start raising interest and warming up potential investors as soon as possible; don’t wait until your pitch goes live. A pitch will attract more interest if it has already managed to secure a decent chunk of the target, so encourage friends, family, your own network of contacts, customers and suppliers to invest – and also to spread the word on your behalf. Tap into groups and communities who might have an interest in what you’re doing, and target opinion leaders and influencers.
4. Get real
Don’t be over-ambitious with your investment target. Set yourself an achievable target that represents good value for an investor’s money, and don’t ask for more than you need. Investors want to know why you need their money, and exactly how you’ll spend it. Don’t put people off by overvaluing your business, either – it’s only worth what investors are willing to pay for it! There are many sophisticated corporate finance techniques that can be applied to valuation but they’re not always appropriate for early stage companies. Whatever method you use, justify your valuation.
5. Sign up for tax incentives
Registering your company with Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) gives investors substantial tax breaks – up to 50% for SEIS and 30% for EIS – and are a crucial ingredient for attracting investors.
6. Don’t just sit there – keep on engaging
Be proactive, well-prepared and eager to engage with investors. You’ll need to nurture potential investors like sales leads, so be ready to answer questions and keep them updated on the progress of your pitch and on your business in general. Get out and talk to people face-to-face. Once you’ve reached your funding target, focus on building relationships with your investors: because they have a vested interest in the success of your business, they can become your biggest advocates.