Entrepreneurs, Fund Your Product Idea Through These 5 Creative Avenues
A great product idea is a great product idea, whether it comes up while you’re searching a store’s aisles unable to find what you need, or if it comes to you in a dream. But what does it take to get it from idea to viable business? Commitment, passion, and a bit of seed money to get its roots planted firmly in the ground.
Convincing people to give you their hard-earned money in support of your dream is one of the bravest things a new entrepreneur must do – and there are many avenues to explore in order to do it. Here are a few broken down for you so it’s a little less scary (and more exciting!):
Simply, crowdfunding means collecting many small amounts of money to collectively accomplish a goal. But thanks for the internet, crowdfunding has been simplified from dragging yourself door-to-door selling chocolate covered almonds to filling out one easy page to get your business off the ground!
For tips on how to run a wildly successful campaign, check out the story of industry innovator Petcube and how they raised more than double their funding goal.
A business incubator is a company that works to support start-ups by providing services that help them get going – from leadership training and shared office space, to connecting you to a community of fellow entrepreneurs. Although directly not a way to gain money, great insight can be gained through involvement in an incubator.
Many banks offer small business loans for people looking to break into entrepreneurship. Although it may be the easiest to set up, it also comes with the some serious red tape. Some loan programs have rigorous application processes; varying interest rates; and even different office space requirements. Don’t be scared, just do your research so you know what you’re getting into!
If you’re looking for smaller, no-strings-attached seed cash, grants are a great way to self-start your way to entrepreneurship. Government funded loans tend to be pretty specific – not a bad thing if your product is niche! Do your research and dig deep into how your area approaches small business on a local, state/provincial and federal level! Steve Strauss, author of ‘Get Your Business Funded’ and small business columnist for USA Today and Huffington Post, suggests checking out USDA, the Department of Commerce, and the Treasury Department to get you started on the search for a grant that suits both the nature of your business and needs.
Investors come in many forms – maybe it’s a family friend with some savings, a person in your community who believes in the project, or someone from an investment organization – but the common thread is that they have a lot of money, and are willing to give you some of it for a piece of the action. If a person invests in your company, it’s generally not no-strings-attached, It’s because they believe in the potential for your company to blow up into the Next Big Thing. To find out more about how to sell your idea to investors, keep your eyes peeled next week for part two of this series!