Is crowdfunding right for me? Five questions to answer.

By Victoria Bennett, Strategic Marketer, Crowdfunding Ambassador

In the five years since I ran my first successful crowdfunding campaign, I’ve learned a lot about which products and organizations are right for this model. Currently, I take a few meetings a week from companies and individuals who are considering their first crowdfunding campaign. What they usually want to know is, will crowdfunding work for us? These are the questions I ask them:

1. Do you have a product or service that meets a need?

We’ve all seen that person on Dragon’s Den who has spent their life savings and mortgaged their house developing something that they are passionate about. The only problem is, no one else wants it. Don’t be that person. Remember: something you love that doesn’t make money is called a hobby.

If your product or service meets a measurable need, you can define a meaningful addressable market that you can reach, and you can clearly differentiate yourself from the competition, you have the potential for a backable business.

2. Can you deliver?

I’m not talking about UberEATS here, more do you have a believable business plan that details how you will execute? Backers need to see you have the right partners and a fully-costed plan to deliver. Additionally, when you apply for equity or debt crowdfunding, your business plan will be reviewed by the platform’s due diligence team, and you may also need to provide audited accounts.

3. Do you have a team?

So, you have a plan. Great! But do you have a team that can deliver the plan? Throughout a crowdfunding campaign, you are looking to build trust with potential backers. Those backers want to be able to trust that you know what you are doing and that you can deliver. You’ll need to show that your team has the skills and experience to follow through on your promise.

4. Do you have a story?

Venture capitalists and bankers focus primarily on the numbers – they want to know if you’re financial feasible and likely to make multiples return. Your crowdfunding backers want more. They need a story they can believe in – something worth sharing (which is how you build the crowd). If you haven’t developed a story yet, start thinking about the following: How did you discover the need for your product or service? How did you invent the product? What impact has your product or service had or will it have in the future (once you’ve raised funds).

5. Do you have a crowd?

I often say there is a clue in the name, crowdfunding. You need to have a crowd of people willing to back you, willing to share, willing to support your campaign. This typically comes from your personal network of friends, family and business connections (and those of your team). You should plan to achieve between 10 and 33 per cent of your goal from your personal contacts and advocates on the first day of your crowdfunding campaign. This provides social proof to those who don’t know you personally.

Another thing to remember is that you’re not just asking your network for money. You need your network to help you get the word out about your campaign, talking about it over coffee, at the water cooler, over a beer on a Friday night, and also online.

Your job is to articulate your story, find passionate advocates who believe in your story, and provide them with the right tools to share it. Once you’ve established social proof, you can continue to build your crowd through social media, bloggers, influencers, the press, events, and paid advertising. That’s how you build your crowd.

If you have answered yes to these five questions, then I’m going to sneak one final question in. Are you willing to invest significant time, effort, and money into your campaign? Crowdfunding is not a quick and easy fix to your funding gap. However, if you’re committed to doing it right and want to raise funds while building a group of advocates who are committed to you and your product, crowdfunding may just be for you.

Principal joins the NCFA Ambassador Program

CALGARY, Mar 21, 2018 – The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) today announced that Victoria Bennett, Strategic Marketing Principal, Bennett Milner Williams Consulting Ltd., has joined the Association’s Ambassadors Program.

NCFA Canada Ambassadors

NCFA Canada Ambassadors are leaders, educators, supporters and advocates of an inclusive and broad-based alternative finance crowdfunding industry in communities across Canada. They are circles of influence and ‘go to resources’ for small businesses, organizations and investors to connect with, share and learn about crowdfunding via locally hosted events and initiatives. Ambassadors are specialists and plugged into an international network of shared resources, thought leadership, and industry professionals striving to cultivate and shape the future of finance in Canada and beyond.

Victoria Bennett ran her first successful crowdfund campaign over four years ago, a long time in crowdfunding years. A strategic marketer by training, she has worked on many major brands including Tide, Pampers, ENMAX and TD. She has used her skills as a marketer, to identify the solution the product or service provides, the target market, the so-what, and to communicate clearly, effectively and consistently to the crowd; all skills vital to crowdfunding. She has run successful campaigns in Canada and in Europe and her team is currently consulting for a number of Canadian equity and rewards crowdfund campaigns.

“Entrepreneurs are not well served by the current, closed networks, if you don’t have a good network of friends and family, any great idea will fail. The Canadian government opened up equity crowdfunding in 2015 and we have seen companies in both the start-up and growth stage benefit. The benefits, whether it be rewards or investment crowdfunding are much more than just the capital, a community of advocates, who believe in the company. The pace of adoption has not been at the same rate as in the US and particularly the UK where government policy has strongly encouraged investment crowdfunding to finance companies. I am pleased to see NCFA lobbying the government for further support and policy change for crowdfunding, and hope to see the benefits across all crowdfunding platforms,” said Victoria Bennett, NCFA Ambassador

“The fintech and crowdfunding sectors in Canada need more experienced advocates who truly understand the capital and growth benefits for small businesses launching ventures or products to market inherent in crowdfinancing, along with the wider economic benefits and job creation for the country and welcome Victoria’s sustained expertise and industry support,” said Craig Asano, CEO, NCFA Canada.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Source: NCFA Canada

For more information please contact:

Media Contacts:

Craig Asano
NCFA Canada
Founder and CEO
p. (416) 618-0254
e. casano@ncfacanada.org

See the press release