I’m currently writing my business plan for my final subject of my Small Business Management course. A big, important chunk of this is the financial plan. (Understandably so). You can’t plan anything in your business unless you can fund it. Most people will suggest that you get an overdraft or a business loan, sounds simple right? But what if you don’t have a car or a property to secure finance against? What if you’ve been studying business stuff so you can actually succeed in the business world and don’t have a steady income for the banks to make their income calculations against? If this is you then you’re in the same boat as me. You could ask your family to go guarantor for you, but you may feel like you’re losing your independence. If you’re like me, you can’t live with the thought of them having to repay the loan if anything happens to you.
If you want to start a charity or not-for-profit there are philanthropists all around the world who would love to help you out. Almost every financial institution has a charitable grants programme. If you’re a tech-based start up you’re ok, lots of investors out there waiting to cash in on ‘the next big thing’. If you want to start a community program to help under-privileged peoples then you’re also covered. If you want to make a short film or theatre production there are quite a few government grants available. If you’re under 30 you’re in luck with many youth programs for young entrepreneurs available.
What if you want to start a business because it’s something you’re good at, something you enjoy, it’s a good idea, there’s a gap in the market for it and it may do some good in this world? Then you’re like me, biting your nails, reading through grants websites til 4 in the morning.
This morning I stumbled accross the Suncorp 5 Grand Helping Hand. $5,000 may not sound like much to big business, probably their annual budget for paper clips and highlighters. But for someone small, (a one-woman-show working into the wee hours to research, plan, network, blog and get things done), it’s a BIG deal. It’s just what you need to hire a professional graphic designer for some rebranding, get sample products made, get some advertising and get to some local wedding expos to get some paying customers. To be able to do this, without going into debt, would be ah-mazing!
If you like what I do and what I write, can you do me a favour? (I will rarely ask my readers to do something for me). VOTE FOR ME for the Suncorp 5 Grand Helping Hand. As a reward I would like to offer 40% off total purchases from the Mountain Moon And Sea Etsy Shop with the coupon code “HELP2012” for all who vote. This includes 40% off already reduced, discontinued lines.
If you’re looking for funding and but more into communities and crowd-sourcing try Kick Starter. There are many Kick-Started success stories such as that of Allegory Pens. In the world of music Amanda Palmer is THE kick-ass Kick Starter.
If you’re not familiar with Kick Starter, it works by you submitting an individually crafted “all-or-nothing” project. The public pledge funds, yes that’s people you know and many you don’t, from all over the world. Any donation amount from $1 to $10,000 is catered for on Kick Starter. The artists have full control and responsibility over the project and usually showcase what they want to achieve with their projects in a video to convince would-be investors. Each project offers different rewards for different levels of funding pledged. Often rewards are a copy of the finished product, limited editions or exclusive experiences and are only limited by your imagination.
Kick Starter really is an all-or-nothing game. You set your budget and your deadline and get people to pledge funds. If the target is met by the deadline you are funded, people’s credit cards are debited and you’re obligated to send rewards to your backers. If your deadline comes and you’re short of your goal well that’s the end, no one gets charged and you don’t have to send anyone anything.
Kick Starter may sound a bit like the hippie commune barter system of business funding, but you know what? I’m totally OK with that. It has power, with over 20,000 projects funded, over 2 million people pledging funds and over $200 million in funding granted.
I hope this has helped some other small business person out there to not give up. It may seem hard but if you have faith, believe in your ideas and keep sharing your ideas with people, the abundance you need will come to you.