Co-founder of The Cheeky Panda, Julie Chen is just one of the female founders whose business journey is being showcased in a campaign called 100 Stories of Growth: Capital at Work, which aims to showcase and inspire budding entrepreneurs and startups about various business models and funding options.
Recent insight from 100 Stories of Growth revealed that female entrepreneurs find it difficult to raise cash via crowdfunding. However, Chen is an example of how this doesn’t necessarily need to be the case.
Here’s Chen’s top tips on how to crowdfund triumphantly –
Choose the right platform
Nowadays, there’s a variety of crowdfunding platforms available so it’s important to choose the right one for your business. There are many reward based crowdfunding platforms including Crowdfunder, Kickstarter and Indiegogo. We chose Crowdfunder due to the nature of our business, and also because the followers on Crowdfunder had invested in similar projects before, meaning they were more likely to invest in our project.
For equity crowdfunding, Seedrs and Crowdcube are two of the main sites. We chose Seedrs because they have a nominee structure, so all the investors are treated as one rather than individuals, thus making it easier to manage down the line. Seedrs also has a secondary market which allows investors to trade shares.
Create content that captivates
Your video needs to grab people’s attention in the first 10 seconds. Naturally, if content doesn’t let your audience know straight away what it is or does, they won’t spend time trying to understand your brand or products. This is why it’s so important for your website and content to be customer friendly and enticing.
Right from the homepage In our first video, we used a fun animated panda to explain our products! For our second video we added a splash of creativity. We had a person dressed up as panda running around and my partner Chris and I talked about our journey and products. People like genuineness, fun and humour.
Set your target low
When it comes to meeting your target – it’s better to overachieve than underachieve. When your campaign reaches the initial target, it will rank top on the system. Potential investors are more likely to attracted to popular projects that rank at the top than the under-funded projects on the bottom of the page.
The platforms will also be more likely to promote you via their email newsletters and social media channels. After you reach your target, you can then run into over-funding. People follow the crowd and the crowd is more likely to invest in projects that have reached targets.
Have at least 75% of your target funded before it goes live
You need to have a few lead investors who are willing to put a larger sum of funding to your campaign. Before your campaign goes live, you need to know that you are at least 75% funded. This will help you reach your target quickly and rank on top of the page. The crowd will then fund the rest.
Many people are scared of failure. You need to be confident about your video, your product/service and the campaign you are running. Before launching the campaign, speak to as many people as possible. Use LinkedIn and Facebook to let your contacts know you’re running a crowdfunding campaign.
Those who know you and believe in you will invest and share your campaign with their circle of contacts. One of our friends is a CEO of a vegan snack company called Creative Nature and she felt a bit nervous before launching her crowdfunding campaign.
She followed these tips and felt a lot more confident before launching her campaign. By doing so, she’s now 95% funded in less than two weeks.