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Crowdfunding Readiness

You are now on an exciting journey.
From one small business
to another: Thank you for your business, and good luck!

This section of the book has info, activities, and resources to prepare you for success. There also supplemental files provided in your private data room. 

Start by learning why readiness assessment is vital, then review your funding options.

Funding is no time to rely on a gut-feeling or hearsay, you must do the research AND the math.

Are you ready for this?

Not everyone using this workbook will decide to run an
Investment Crowdfunding campaign. 

You can probably guess the reasons. The most common issue we see: 

Founders / teams don’t do the homework to know if they are ready. 

Best part: it’s completely fixable. Use the Before section of the workbook to ask yourself/team the tough questions. Do the activities. Make notes and calculations. Think about your “Plan B.” Ask our team and your mentors for help. Become confident this is the right funding choice to commit to.

We know you want to get to the money part as quickly as possible. Just know that campaign companies with a clear offer, honest goals, and team alignment get to the money faster.  

Review fundraising options

Investment Crowdfunding is just one way to raise capital. There are many other ways to raise funds for your business. We encourage you to explore all options/avenues available to you.

Reflect on your legitimate business needs, the availability of funds, and “Cost of Capital” compared with the urgency of your situation. Your options may include: 

  • Bootstrapping (self-funding
    through sales revenue)
  • Personal Savings
  • Credit Cards
  • Business or Personal Bank Loans
  • Reward-based Crowdfunding (Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Indiegogo)
  • Investment Crowdfunding with Silicon Prairie Online
  • Investment Crowdfunding with
    another portal
  • Award from a Contest
  • Grant from an Agency
  • Business or Technology Incubator 
  • Angel Investment
  • Venture Capital
  • Private Placement (money from a single wealthy source)
  • Reg A+ (Mini IPO)
  • Other?

Notes about some of the options:

Bootstrapping, or self-funding, may be ideal for a business cash-efficient model (pre-sales etc) and the necessary skills in-house. It may not be practical if you need expensive equipment early, or if your competition has deep pockets and a jump start.

Other funding options have constraints due to the level of funds available, selection criteria, or cost of capital:

  1. For example, Personal Savings require you to put your livelihood at risk. Credit Cards have high interest rates, and Bank Loans depend on personal guarantees. Kickstarter maxes out around $20K with average backer spending less than $100.
  2. WeFunder.com is an Investment Crowdfunding Portal, but they only accept about 2% of applicants. Incubators, Angel Investors, or Venture Capitalists are also very selective only accepting 0.5% – 2% of those interested.
  3. Awards and Grants are non-dilutive but may require retooling your
    business to fit their mold.
  4. Private Placement sounds great, but the rich have gatekeepers and/or high (40% plus) equity demands.
  5. Lastly, consider campaign tone and visibility: Campaigns may be public or invite only. Remember that fundraising may give your customers their first impression of you. Therefore, match the tone of your strategy with your overall brand. Consider that wacky “startup” antics during fundraising may not fit with your product/ service. In the rare instances when you have a genuine need to stay in “stealth mode” you could be tipping your hand to the competition with a funding email blast to 30,000+ people.

You’ll find the items below in the Readiness Validation sheet to help you complete the Action Items in this section.

Funding Options
Readiness Questionnaire
Team Member Commitment
Comparables
Milestone Plan
Campaign Goals
Use of Funds Chart
Smart Goal Example

Use this link to download the sheet, or click the linked items above to work on them now.

Validate your fundraising options by entering actual numbers for options you’ve considered. Use our reference data + your personal experience to evaluate the options.

Consider ranking or sequencing your options in the order that best supports your business goals.

Fundraising Options

wdt_ID Fundraising Option Speed Exclusive? Max Amount Cost/ Risk Price/$100K
1 Bootstrapping TBD NA
2 Personal Savings 1 wk No 100% (total loss possible) $100,000
3 Credit Cards 1 wk No Up to $20K 15% Interest $15,000
4 Bank Loans 1 mo Yes - Med Up to $5M 8% Interest $8,000
5 Kickstarter 2 mo No $1M 10% of raise $10,000
6 Silicon Prairie Portal 3 mo No $50K - $75M $5K Single State 5-7% Multi/Nat $5000 - $7000
7 We Funder 6 mo Yes - High $1M 7% plus fees $7000 +
8 Contest Award 12 mo Yes - High $30K Non-dilutive 0
9 Agency Grant 12 mo Yes - High $150K Grant obligations 0
10 Business Incubator 12 mo Yes - High $120K 6% Equity $6000
Fundraising Option Speed Exclusive? Max Amount Cost/ Risk Price/$100K

Fundraising Options Notes

wdt_ID Fundraising Option Speed Exclusive? Max Amount Cost/ Risk Price/$100K
1 Take the dog for a walk
2 Explore Option2
3 Explore Options3
4
5
6 Ask my cousin for money slow Yes 25,000 Lose a key relationship 2000

Next Formulating your offering
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