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Fund your startup with crowd funding

Fund your startup with crowd funding

Crowdfunding is the way to fund and kickstart your startup idea into reality. I believe that every dream and idea are meant to be manifested into reality, they turned up in you in the first place to give your life a direction, having said that, not all startups are lucky enough to see the day of light, it is not because that the idea or the service is not good enough but mainly the reason behind it is they lack financial grooming or meager people showing interest in the idea. Initial stage for a startup is very crucial where they require regular nurturing of funds to survive the incubation period before a startup really takes off and is able to survive on its own. I guess if you want to kick-start your startup then initially your first choice of finding financial support should be from friends and family members. This will cut your risk for committing to debt or interest wise financial aid, this will also keep your mind free from unwanted pressure to pay back to debtors and you can fully concentrate on your startup.

What is crowd funding?

Fund your startup with crowd funding

If you couldn’t find financial support from them then crowd funding is your unique chance to support your startup. What is crowd funding and how could it be helpful to you. Crowd funding is alternative finance option available over the internet through websites where a large number of people show interest in an idea or a service committing to support with a small amount of financial bid. As individually it does not burden a person because the amount is very small and though number is very large the total amount incurred is sufficient enough to support a startup. This way you can make sure that power of masses is utilized to manifest your intentions. Today crowd funding is not just used for financing startups but it also works for people who are looking for support for medical reasons like liver transplants or kidney dialysis. Raising money is now feasible if not easy due to internet and the idea of using the power of masses. The concept of crowd funding is the internet mediated platforms where there is an initiator who proposes an idea or a service to an individual or a group of people for raising funds. The mediating agency or the internet platform is the moderating organization which brings in both the parties together to launch the idea. Funding is not just limited to the entrepreneurial ventures but is also supports to people into travel, creative projects, artistic projects, medical expenses, social causes, marriages, surgeries. I have even seen people asking for crowd funds for a sex change surgery over the internet so there is no lack of people that can support any idea. As you reach out to people through internet this way you can reach to millions of people at one point of time, using any other way would gruesome and time consuming you just have to prepare a proposal.

How many types of crowd-funding are available?

Fund your startup with crowd funding

It is very interesting to know that they are many types of crowd funding available over the internet. And you could choose from the point of view of your entrepreneurial venture. Majorly what we have experienced is that there are two ways to raise funds in the arena of crowd sourcing per say first is the reward based crowd funding and second is the equity based crowd funding. Although there are other ways also that the crowd funding is manifested many mediator organization or platforms have their own unique way to seal the deal.

  1. Reward based: Reward based is the most common and the best way to raise funds in the crowd sourcing avenue. The intriguing part of reward based crowd funding is that you don’t have commit for a equity or royalty share to anybody for your finders. IN this way you just commit to give service to your funders from your startup. It like pre-selling the idea to you is the customers while you take payments in advance. Even if you cannot offer service from your startup you can also commit to give away free t-shirts with your brand logo print on the front. A gift or a pre service commitment is not compulsory, I have seen funding has been approved for a startup with no prior commitment, the funders it up to the initiator, if the venture becomes successful then the initiator could do anything for their funders as a token of thanksgiving or appreciation.
  2. Equity based: Very less common is the equity based crowd funding, where the initiator is legally bound to share its equity with the financial funder for a lifetime. It just like selling share of a business and this time it is prefixed. Sometimes the initiator even legally commits to share royalty for a life time in lieu of funds support. Equity based crowd funding is very less common as it requires legal bond between the parties and also the project initiator losses power of its venture by giving away equity shares.

The last and the least talked about crowd funding is the donation based crowd funding, this is a kind where the funds raised or given are purely from the point of view of doing a charity and no reward or equity is demanded or expected from the individual or groups from the funding side. Donation based crowd funding is usually done for paying for marriages, travel expenses, medical bills and community based social causes.

Fund your startup with crowd funding

What websites are organizing crowd funding platforms?

Initially it all started with one or two websites that was available over the internet back in few years time but now it has grown into new venture in its own game. To name a few websites that are reliable and good for project initiation are Kickstarter, GoFundMe, Seedrs, Crowdcube, these are the international platforms famous and reliable. For Indian paradigm there is PactGuru, Ketto, Wishberry, TheHotStart, Start51 and dream wallets. One word of advice to all of you before go and present your project proposal, all these websites work on their own way, some may have initial registration charges while few may have some rules which you have to go and read first. When abide by their rules only then you allowed for presenting your case. Many website may also charge you with penalty if your startup fails so be careful before you apply. It is requested to all our readers to please let us know about how you liked our article on crowd funding also do check out our next article on tips for successful campaigning for crowdfunding for your entrepreneurial venture.

Please do also read our blog on crowdfunding tips for an effective campaign.

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Is entrepreneurial journey meant for everyone

Is entrepreneurial journey meant for everyone

There were times when only a class of people had the privilege to own or run a business, but now there is so much hype around entrepreneurship that percentage of people interested in starting their own business has increased. The question to start a startup is questionable in itself, because nobody knows the destiny of a startup, looking around, it seems that everybody wants to start a startup business as many of you wants to get out of the rat race, have financial freedom, retire earlier and enjoy life to the fullest. Although there are many good ideas if put into reality will definitely turn into great business but nobody can tell for sure if the business will run for sure or not. Entrepreneurship is not just about doing business or just about initiating a startup; it is about showing true strength over weakness to endure the success and failures, sacrificing pleasures, doing things without knowing the results, believing in integrity, commitment to continue no matter what the results are. That’s what entrepreneurship is and will be.

Is entrepreneurial journey meant for everyone

There is no sure way of knowing what’s in store for future but if you really believe in your idea then you should really take a balanced risk. Now the question arises is what is a balanced risk, I would say a balanced risk is where the stakes are not too high and if by any chance the business doesn’t do well then your family and assets are not at risk. I myself pondered upon this question and my personal experience is if you are in a job then slowly built your startup business parallel with your job with time and growing business you will gain confidence that now your business can bear the weight of your living and other expenses. Only then will be its time to fulltime switch to the business this way you can endure the hard times of bearing expenses of both your family and your business. I would really suggest that never put at risk the future of your family, as they came first and the startup secondary. Have you ever seen a trapeze artist performing, and then you must have seen that how the artist is takes the well calculated risk to switch from one trapeze to another one.

Is entrepreneurial journey meant for everyone

The risk factors associated with a startup is way to high that is why job has its own charm, sticking to a 9 to 5 boring job at-least gives you a monthly pay check and will provide security to your family. I may sound negative by giving job and its pay check more value against the bliss of owning and running a startup but I would say I am been objective than rather been unrealistically optimistic. Here comes the value for research and analysis. Weighting the pros and cons of starting a business, doing the risk analysis. You don’t have to be a scientist to conduct the research, check the market around your idea, product or service. See what would be the best and minimum startup cost you have to invest, do financial planning for at least minimum of 3 years in advance. Surviving the incubation period for any startup is crucial and that’s when the guts are tested and not after that. Incubation period will help you design and re-design your startup as you will evolve as an entrepreneur yourself. Savings from the job will help in this crucial time period.

Is entrepreneurial journey meant for everyone

If you already have job commitments and still you want to pursue the path of entrepreneurship than be assured that it will take most of the things from your life which you may have enjoyed earlier like family time for socializing. As a startup owner your   most of the time will be consumed by the startup itself, you will also have to invest on your health, may be exercising and taking care of yourself. Health is very important to entrepreneurs, committing to brutal hours, managing day to day stress while keeping the enthusiasm high.  Entrepnuersip individually is a lonely road where one has to make many sacrifices related to personal preferences. Even if you have made many sacrifices you will never be sure if you will get the desired results or not. Continuing a job with the responsibility of the startup will make things difficult. If you will succeed you will enjoy the fruits and if not then you know what can happen.

Is entrepreneurial journey meant for everyone

When I thought of writing this article I wanted to make sure that I shouldn’t sound pessimistic or negative but reality is reality we should accept things as they are and not as we want to see them. There are more failure stories than success ones. If it was that easy than everybody would have done it and might had created success in it. On a closing note, if you really think that you are passionate enough about your idea for the startup and really want to embark on this journey to become an entrepreneur then stay true to yourself, first plan, research, decide and then fully commit.

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Crowdfunding tips for an effective fund raising campaign

Crowdfunding tips for an effective fund raising campaign

Crowdfunding could be your chance to launch your project and give it a life of its own, and if you are about to go about raising funds through crowdfunding then here are few suggestions that you can surely use for a successful fund raising campaign. We see a lot of neck to neck competition even in the sphere of crowdfunding where there are so many platforms in and millions of people to reach out for funds make it confusing and a gruesome task at first glance. Interestingly this article will help you understand that by taking care of few things you can easily raise funds. Here are crowdfunding tips for a successful fund raising campaign.

Crowdfunding tips for an effective fund raising campaign

1. Choosing a project or the idea
Your very first step to a successful fund raising campaign is to choose a project or a idea wisely, it’s not really easy to let people fund, donate or invest in projects just like that, it needs to be appealing to them. Even if your campaign is for something like donating for a marriage function then you really need to be compelling enough that it hits the financiers at the right place, your conviction in choosing a project for fund raising should be strong starting from you. If you have strong belief that the cause or the project deserves funding then it will get the funding and will attract right people to back the project. Your project should have clear goals and outcomes; a confusing project will repel financiers and will also drop your chance.

Crowd funding tips for a successful fund raising campaign

2. Choosing the right platform (mediator organization)
This step is really crucial as there are many platforms in play out there and it’s very confusing for an individual to choose from thousands of crowdfunding platforms. The best and easiest way to choose a platform should be according to your project, for example if your project is to get donations to fund for medical bills then we guess PactGuru is the right platform for you. Reward based platforms like Kickstater are good for creative projects, but Kickstarter works on all or nothing basis, which means if you are not able to reach 100% of your campaign funding goal then you don’t get anything from the backers who pledged you funds. Now it must have been clear to you that why it is so important to choose the right platform. This will save you from unnecessary task. Same ways like Kickstater there are platforms that are best used if you are looking for investors rather than financiers to be precise and you are ready to share the equity of your company among the investors. For equity based fund raising Crowdfunder is the best available option. We would also like to discuss that each platform works on it unique basis so please do go through the platforms policy before you choose it. Few platforms work on “all or nothing” policy while others may charge you with a percentage of commission likewise the banks, others may have an annual or a registration charge initially. I guess now it is crystal clear as to why choosing a right platform is important at the first place.

3. Presenting your case project
If your presentation for the project is not right then you aren’t getting nowhere in your fund raising campaign journey, it’s not about what your story is instead it’s all about how well you tell your story. There will so many others who may have same creative inclination in the project that only the way you will present your case project will help you stand out and convince backers to pledge for funds. Been authentic but yet convincing at the same time will help your project draw attention of the backers. There are no fixed rules to follow but you can always checkout the platform you’re using as to how others have put up their case. An attractive project proposal will certainly be helpful along with a short video of what’s your project is all about will help give the campaign the right pitch.

Crowd funding tips for a successful fund raising campaign.

4. Choose to offer incentive
Now it may sound counter-intuitive as to why choose to offer incentive to backers for pledging you funds. It is not at all compulsory that you offer incentive to your backers but if you do so will certainly add on to the numbers of people supporting you. The people who believe in you might not even need incentive in the first place but it’s a great gesture that you are also pledging something back to them as a token of respect and thanks, people always welcome such gestures with a warm heart. Now the question is how you can offer incentive to your backers, just to mention few ways, if possible you can always offer the service to your backers from your project, a T-shirt or a hat saying thanks to the backers. If possible you can also ask your financiers to visit your place personally and you can offer vote of thanks in front of the project staff, appreciating your financiers gesture through media is also great way to offer incentive to your backers. These are just a few ways; you could always come up with new and creative ideas.

Crowdfunding tips for an effective fund raising campaign

5. Planning outreach
There is an old saying that goes by if you fail to plan then you plan to fail, this stands true still today. A successful fundraising campaign will never be complete without a good plan for an outreach. Raising money through crowdfunding is all number game; the more number of people you reach will increase your percentage of people interested in backing your project. What you have to do is sit for a while and chalk down your outreach plan. Plan to reach people through other social media platforms like Emails campaign, Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook and blogs etc. Looking at the data the conversion rate of people into financiers out of the total people you reach out is very low so the more number people you reach is better. These people you are reaching out should be able to come to your campaign page so design your outreach plan accordingly.

6. Use the power of conviction
There is a lot of power in conviction and when you do things with conviction then certainly the results are far better than what is expected. First of all your belief in your project will ensure that other too believe in the project. Second and the most important thing after conviction are touching the mind (logic) and heart (emotion) part of the financiers. How this project could change the life others and If you are able to touch both, then no one will stop them to fund your project. May be your dream project is creative one or maybe not. If the other party is convinced then they are convinced they will fund you in-spite of the relation of the project with creativity. For an example there are people who have seen trauma in their homes due long term illness and had borne loss of loved ones, their logical mind is convinced that illness are not good and emotionally it is too traumatizing so such people are more interested in donating for payment of medical bills like cancer and other terminal illness.

7. Updating the campaign page and keeping in touch
Once we launched our campaign page then it becomes our duty to constantly update about recent progress in the campaign this makes us appear that we are sincere in our project and that financiers are investing in sincere and honest people. Much crucial is also keep in touch with our supporters they come first as they are the ones that is supporting our project, we are accountable to them in a moral way, do keep them updated through social media and emails.

Crowdfunding tips for an effective fund raising campaign

On a closing note, more or less we have compiled our best suggestions for crowdfunding tips for an effective fund raising campaign. Hope this will certainly help you out in raising finds for your cause, project, creative ordeal or just raise fund for your marriage.

Please do also read our blog on fund your startup with crowdfunding. 

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List of Startups Incubators for early Stages of Business Development- Startup India.

List of Startups Incubators- Startup India.

On 16th Jan 2016, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi announced bunch of benefits and schemes to promote start-up ecosystem in India. Here you will find list of Incubators for Startup India program,  The event which  lunched by the PM was called ‘Startup India, Stand up India’.

Startup India is a flagship initiative of the Government of India, intended to build a strong ecosystem for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country. This will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities. The Government, through this initiative aims to empower Startups to grow through innovation and design.

In order, that a new startup should survive the early stages of the business development, startup incubators support is required. According to Wikipedia, a business incubator in business speak is a company that helps new and startup companies to develop by providing services such as management training or office space.

The Startup India has more than a 100 plus such incubators that will support the business in the early stages. These incubators are spread across Indian states.

Here you will find the complete list of incubators which are enlisted in the Start India program.

List of Startups Incubators- Startup India.

List of incubators from Karan Naithani
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Step by step startup launch marketing plan.

Step by step startup launch marketing plan.

The success of a startup would often depend on its approach to marketing plan. Many new startup founders’ struggles with this mind boggling question, with no prior experience of marketing or handling the marketing budget, it becomes obvious that the marketing deal has become dangerous. Good news is that the startup industry is no short of ideas and it all depends on planning. Learn from old timers and make sure that you have marketing strategy in place.

The internet is flooded with information, with millions of articles on branding and launch marketing. Reading them all would give you an insight that would help you get started with your launch campaign. Your marketing plan will decide how you are welcomed in the market. A warm welcome will give you a head start, boost your motivation and build a name for your brand. To ease out the launch and help you with the marketing preparation, we have jotted down step by step framework for the campaign. We hope it will support your design.

Phase 1 – Strategic Positioning, Brand and Web Presence

  1. Strategic positioning

The very first step to successfully launch a brand/product program is to go with the strategic positioning exercise, correct positioning is as important as aiming your tanks in the direction of your target during a war. Initial phase will include by defining the ‘category’ that your product or service do exists within. After categorizing your product/service then jot down its key benefits, the core value propositions and competitor bench marking. Just after these questions chalk out the segment of people your product or service will cater to, this will also help you in writing down your key messages as you have the profiling of your customers.  

  1. Brand development

We live in a world with endless competition and branding is everything. Starting from the Name of your brand, logo and URL, you have to stand out from the crowd and really ‘mean something’.

Be creative in your Endeavour, you and your business is here for a longer haul, so your brand name, your URL should give you the right look and market presence.

And if you already have the right look and feel create a logo that will lure your employees, customers and partners as well. Give it the right feel and structure.

  1. Web Presence

You cannot survive this age without your presence being felt in the web. In the age of social media and digital marketing your web presence will decide your future. You need to design your website not for yourself but for your customers; think of it is as an application that your customer will use to buy your service or the product. It should be attractive at the same time friendly to your customer.

A content rich blog site, a great Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter page at a minimum. These are the minimum requirements of the today’s world.

Technically speaking you have to embed with the most relevant keywords, SEO tags and visual elements. While planning for the web presence you have to plan your website according to the onslaught of mobile internet access.

Phase 2 – Blogging, PR, Video and SEO

  1. Blog Strategy

In today’s competitive world no business could survive without a successful blog. Your blog will attract customers to your company and hence they will reach to their wallet to buy your product. So don’t be left behind.

You blog is your marketing front foot; make sure it stand out for you. Blog sites should be set up properly. The blog site should peak about your credentials, key messages, and benefits as well as drive a successful thought leadership. Writing yourself or outsourcing, this question needs to be answered. I guess you should hire professional writers because simply that save your time to invest on something else and also the professional writers have the experience to really touch the brain and the heart of the reader.

  1. Digital PR and partnering

Get the press hits from the activities done by the digital PR and partnering program. It will drive the marketing campaign to a whole new level. Press hits also increase the word of mouth (WOM) and online reputation.

Focus on twitter as a main tool, of course, an effective digital PR and partnering should also give you results with achieving numeric business goals, help drive revenues and clients/users.

There also advanced digital PR techniques such as viral and crowdsourcing community, that has to be used to increase day to day digital PR and partnering mechanisms.

  1. Viral videos and guerrilla marketing

Viral video and guerrilla marketing programs done in the precise way can help amplify and spike awareness. But watch out and be careful about the execution cause if done in a wrong or aggressive way it might backfire.

Be as original as possible, viral videos and guerilla activities are all about great, original ideas, content and production. These video really works and creativity has no limits, remember to add a pinch of humor, it never fails.

  1. SEO and link-building

Solid SEO and Link-building must be applied to ensure that your web presence have technical underpinning and get effectively amplified with the network dynamics. Just really know how to use the internet for your benefit.

Get some solid back link from authority sites, email people whose websites are related to your business to provide you with a link on their site. Other strategies would include link-spreading and link-baiting strategy which should be tightly coordinated with the digital PR and social media marketing program.

Keywords are important-research them, develop them; use them in your blogs. That will drive your content and will increase your organic search.

Phase 3 – Advertising

  1. Online Advertising

You positioned yourself in the right direction and have your presence felt in the Phase I and \Phase 2. Now Phase 3 is about striking off with some online advertising program.   

Now you have all the vital information about your brand, customer base, category of the service/product, market, prospects, users, clients and partners and also your launch is complete. You are in a good strategic position to start your advertising program.

Consider going for Google Adwords program, it is the best place to start as it is cost effective, flexible, results oriented program. Then slowly start investing in premium services of Facebook ads, they charge you with a minimal amount to run the page for likes.

  1. Strategic PR

Digital PR is the basic PR that is done today, to really make a difference it requires a few toppings.

PR initiatives to strategically drive events also include high profile awareness campaigns with big media and high impact events can be developed. This way you could easily reach out masses and gain recognition.

This will spread out to high readership, relevant media, to critical conferences and later radio and TV. By and large this campaign is designed to have ‘big impact’ over events. This of PR is just like the topping on the cake.

  1. Crowdsourcing campaigns

Crowd sourcing is another arrow to shot in the social marketing arena. Big brands and entrepreneurs are tapping into the power of the Crowd for contest based campaign ideas.

Crowdsourcing is also used for cost effective business development, market research, opinion gathering, customer pledges and gaining support for your business.

  1. Speaking and Briefing

Time to take it on the road, you can do this by developing a program for targeted speaking and analyst/media briefing program. This will take your brand to a higher level.

Now it’s time to capture the market & lead the arena with thoughts and leadership. Make a position in the market and reach the sky’s.

Conclusion:

It all about making the most out of everything, with thoughtful and best shot, surely you will reach the sky. Follow this plan to launch a marketing program for you start up.