A Start-Up’s Introduction To…Crowdfunding

A Start-Up’s Introduction To…Crowdfunding

The following post has been written by Justin Grainger, Managing Director or crowdfunding consultants, CrowdFundMe2… Let me start by dispelling a Crowdfunding myth. In general the key rules of successful business are not different in Crowdfunding, despite the hype. To succeed your start up must solve a problem for which customers will pay enough to make you a living – it really is that simple. Crowdfunding or otherwise, it really doesn’t matter how brilliant your idea or elegant your widget, this rule must be obeyed. In fact the crowd are really cruel and more likely to spot a turkey than the bank manager – crowds may have less individual expertise but together they have precision. And perhaps somewhat surprisingly, herein lies the key opportunity and benefit of Crowdfunding your start up. The crowd will tell you faster and more honestly whether your beloved idea is a turkey or the next Reggae Reggae Sauce. And what’s more, the crowd will lap up the sauce or tell your turkey to get stuffed for far less of your scarce start up fund than expensive professional market research. I am talking about good value, rapid product or service validation and feedback – that’s the real value of Crowdfunding your start-up. In theory, equity, debt or reward Crowdfunding is available to start ups. In reality debt crowdfunding generally requires a two year track record and start-up equity Crowdfunding tends to succeed with business star studded, serial entrepreneur management teams who have a big chunk of the raise lined up beforehand. Reward (aka perks) Crowdfunding succeeds when your start up offers a genuine problem solving,...
A Freelancer’s Guide To…Customer Testimonials

A Freelancer’s Guide To…Customer Testimonials

However good you are at talking up you and your business, what your customers say about you is infinitely more persuasive to new prospects. You only have to look at sites such as Ebay, Tripadvisor and Amazon, to understand how valuable customer testimonials can be in influencing buying decisions. Before employing the services of a new supplier, how many times have you asked yourself “Who else purchased this product/service and what happened when they did?” When you can show potential clients that other people similar to them have purchased your product or service and enjoyed some wonderful benefits you will increase your chances of making a sale. The New Clues website, from the authors of the successful book “The Cluetrain Manifesto” quotes “If we want to know the truth about your products, we’ll find out from one another.” Which means that you need to get your best and most loyal customers to specifically tell prospective consumers the benefits of doing business with you. How? Most importantly, make it easy for them to leave feedback for you. Asking 2 or 3 questions is more likely to get results than asking 10 or more.  These can then be asked by email or survey tools such as Survey Monkey. The most effective process I’ve found is by asking customers 2 very simple questions: Would you recommend this [service/product/event] to other [target market]? Why? Not only will you learn about yourself, but so will potential new customers. What now? When you’re asking for a testimonial and feedback, make sure you mention that it will be used on your website and social media channels....
What To Name Your New Freelance Business

What To Name Your New Freelance Business

Naming a business isn’t always easy as it can create an impression of your business before any contact with you has been made.  In fact, for some, choosing the right name can be a downright overwhelming, frustrating, and exhausting experience. I can remember how frustrating the naming process was for our new coworking space. We went through a lot of chopping and changing before finally deciding on ‘Cambridge Business Lounge’, which I chose because I wanted to create an impression of professionalism and informality – like an airport business lounge. As for my mentoring service, I simply went with my name… for now. The right business name can prove to be your most powerful branding tool and naming it requires a lot of consideration. You also need to think carefully about your name for legal reasons, as well as the marketing ones. Part of your decision also rests on answers to “is the domain name available?” and “has the name already been registered with Companies House?” If you’re selling your own knowledge, than naming a business should be, very simply, named after you such as, “Ed Goodman Business Support”. If not, these following suggestions will help: Creating The Right Name For Your Business Compile a list of words that describe what you do, who you help, the problems you solve, etc. Then choose the ones that strike a chord with you the most and suit the personality that you want to portray.  You could also use a thesaurus to find the synonyms of your preferred keywords, for more suggestions. Once you know the exact business name you’re after, check with a domain registration tool to see...
A Freelancer’s Guide To…Collaboration

A Freelancer’s Guide To…Collaboration

Collaboration is more than just working together. For example, a training provider and a venue is more of a partnership, a client/supplier relationship. Whereas, a collaboration is so much more exciting. It’s where a group or an individual team up to produce something and achieve a common goal which would never have been achieved without that co-operation. It’s the process of pooling knowledge, resources and relationships for the sake of pursuing shared aims, where everyone shares the reward or loss of the venture. For example, instead of author commissioning an artist to illustrate their book, how about an artist and a writer coming together to create a graphic novel? That’s a collaboration! Bringing people and businesses together and then igniting and nurturing a collaborative effort, is something we proactively support at Cambridge Business Lounge. The opportunity for a start-up to create something fantastically new with the support of others can be invaluable to any start-up who are trying to find their feet. Here are a few examples of to demonstrate how it worked for others… Victoria Arnold, Desk Union: We were keen to collaborate with another start-up, Desk Unions booking software, rather than buy an off the shelf package or have something developed from scratch. We identified a fellow Scottish start-up called Appointedd who had just launched an online booking software for salons and spas. Together, we co-developed Desk Union’s booking software over 3 months. The end result means an awesome affordable software for us, an opportunity for Appointedd to try white-labelling, and two happy startups. It’s a win-win! We always try to collaborate rather than reinvent the wheel. Ann Hawkins, Business Coach, Speaker, Trainer and Mentor:...
A Freelancer’s Guide To…Accountants

A Freelancer’s Guide To…Accountants

We’ve all been there; you have a great idea or product and all you want to do is find customers, that’s all. Few people go into a business for the paperwork – unless you’re a Virtual Administrator, of course. And the thought of talking to an accountant is often even further removed from the minds of new business owners. However, the right support can so often make a difference between a successful and unsuccessful business, and an accountant can be one the most valuable ports of call that you have, and here’s why… Why Does My New Business Need An Accountant? Will you start trading as a limited company or sole trader? Should you be VAT registered? What taxes will you be liable for? How does corporation tax work? What impact does VAT MOSS have on my business? What documentation should you keep track of and how? And, what do you need to know to set up your business that you don’t know now? It is these questions that you will need answers to and, as Elaine Clark, MD of the award-winning Cheap Accounting, says“not seeking advice from the offset can often prove to be a false economy” What Else Will An Accountant Do For Me? Accountants are known for being tax experts and supporting both businesses and individuals on Self-Assessment, VAT, PAYE, Year End and more. In my opinion, an accountant should be a professional friend and confidante for a business. Elaine goes on to state that, like a friend, an accountant will stand with you throughout “It’s not just about today and what needs to be done at start...