Top 5 equity crowdfunding tips
When you have a great business idea and want to get it off the ground or take your business further, crowdfunding can be an attractive option. Joe Sillett, co-founder and CEO of The Funky Appliance Company has extensive experience with four Seedrs rounds under his belt. He shares his top tips for success.
Alternative finance options like crowdfunding have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they are a great way for business owners to boost cash flow or launch new products.
There are generally two main types of business crowdfunding:
- Rewards-based, where investors receive a product token or discount in exchange for their donations
- Equity-based in which shares in the business are given in exchange for funding
As crowdfunding campaigns are almost exclusively done via an online platform it also makes it an incredibly viable option in the post-COVID-19 era.
As an SME co-owner, I have carried out four successful equity crowdfunding campaigns using equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs. For me, it’s been a fantastic way to launch the business and gain supporters. We have raised a total of £750,000 which has enabled us to expand the product range and we now have 363 investors in over 25 countries.
Despite all the positive aspects, crowdfunding is by no means an easy route – it is time-intensive work and you have to be available round the clock if you want your campaign to be a success. You must be highly responsive to every query that comes via the crowdfunding platform on top of running your business.
If you think crowdfunding could be a good idea for your business, here are my top tips to help you get started.
1. Be prepared
It sounds obvious, but you must know everything about your business and your business plan. You will need to create a professional-looking pitchbook which you will present to investors. Everything you put together, from your documentation to anything that will appear online for stakeholders to see, must be well-prepared and meticulous.
When compiling your pitchbook, make sure everything that appears in there is well-thought-out and well-planned. Get feedback from others. When you’re ready and confident that everything is as good as it can be – and if budget allows – have a professional designer do a final version to make it look as slick as possible.
2. Hire a great accountant
You must work with an accountant to challenge every single line and rationale in your numbers, whether it’s a three-year plan or a five-year plan. You must be able to know and explain those numbers to anyone at any time.
If someone says, “Tell me what this means?” or “Tell me how you justify this figure?” you must know the answer immediately.
I cannot stress the importance of this enough. You must make sure the rationale for those numbers is watertight in your mind for when you present that to prospective investors.
3. Work with a professional crowdfunding agency
There are some great crowdfunding agencies out there to choose from and you need people who have extensive experience that can help you to prepare your pitch. These people have executed hundreds of campaigns so know what works and what doesn’t.
Hire a crowdfunding agency and you will reap the benefits of their knowledge. Yes, there is a fee attached, but it’s worth the fee because of how it will take you forward. Crowdfunding is a very particular science so it’s best to work with the experts that know it inside out.
4. Create a quality crowdfunding video
This video is your chance to professionally get across your brand, your unique selling points, your point of difference, your ambition, your vision for the future, your personality and a chance to explain to investors why your business will succeed and map your points of success which will drive the business forward.
It’s worth investing in a professionally-filmed video, which can cost upwards of £3,000 but if circumstances or funds don’t allow this, you can do a self-filmed one.
Have a list of five or six main bullet points just to the right of your camera, which you can temporarily look at, and once you have seen the headline for each bullet point, this is the trigger for you to speak directly to the camera and naturally without having to refer to any more notes.
Do a couple of practice runs first so that you know that you can let the content naturally flow when the record button is pressed. Try to speak neither too slowly nor too quickly. Have a confident, upbeat tone which will get across your passion for the idea, business or project.
5. Be enthusiastic!
Be yourself, be excited about your pitch, let the investors feel your enthusiasm. Whilst presenting to investors, you should be mentally visualising that these people could be your future business partners. You want to sell the sizzle without overselling. Think calm, confident and persuasive.
About the Author
Joe Sillett has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and in that time, he has designed, sourced and sold over £20 million worth of products. Joe co-founded The Funky Appliance company with his wife Sadie in 2016. The company puts a stylish design twist on small household appliances. www.funkyappliance.co