How To Use Social Networking To Raise Money For Your Business
January 3, 2011 2 Comments
40Billion.com Launches Free Social Networking Tools for Small Business Entrepreneurs and Startups Seeking Loans and Resources
By Cornelius Colin McNab, 40Billion.com
Looking for funding to start a new business? Need to raise startup capital, but don’t know where to go? Well, you may already know hundreds or thousands of potential financing sources that you interact with every day. This article exposes five simple steps to raise funding by leveraging your social network online.
It is estimated that half of small business entrepreneurs raise money through friends and family to fund the first phase of their startups, but it is often difficult to manage these relationships. With Internet social networking, it can be much easier to raise money while maintaining your relationships. So what steps should you take to raise funding for your business through friends and family? How can you increase your access to capital and resources by leveraging your social network?
- Upload Your Business Plan
A recent poll of 140 people found that a good business plan is the #1 most important factor in deciding whether to fund a friend’s or relative’s business. One of the best things you can do as an entrepreneur to increase your chances of raising money is to turn your idea into a business plan, and make your business plan accessible to people you know. Some services allow you to upload a document and share it on various social networking websites quickly and easily. However, be careful not to upload any confidential information or intellectual property that you don’t want publicly known.
- Create A Social Funding Profile For Your Business
After you’ve written a compelling business plan, you need to make sections of it available to your potential funders. Create a business profile online that people you know can easily access on the Web. The profile should provide insight into your vision and plan for the business, how much funding you need and why, and what you have to offer in return – e.g., rewards and discounts on products or services you sell.
In the last three years, social funding websites, such as 40Billion.com® (http://www.40billion.com), have launched that allow you to create your own profile page and use it to raise money for your business. You can even make your profile private in order to limit access only to invited people you know and trust, not strangers.
- Invite Your Friends And Build Your Network
After you’ve created your business fundraising profile, broadcast it to people you know. Invite your friends, family, community members, neighbors, and others in your social network to view your business profile, contribute towards your funding target, and spread the word. Post a link to your profile on any online social networking websites that your friends are on, such as Facebook® and LinkedIn®, or simply invite all of your friends to join you on the social funding website if it has built-in social networking tools. The more people you share your profile with, the better your chances of raising the financing you need.
For example, imagine you need to raise $40,000, and you invite 40 friends to contribute $100 each in support of your startup. You may even propose to reward them with a free trial or discount when your business is up-and-running. Each of your 40 friends invites 40 more friends to contribute. Together, 40 x 40 = 1,600 people helping to raise money for your business. If just one out of every four contributes $100, then you’ll easily reach your target.
- Use Automated Payment Methods To Collect Funds
Now that you have potentially thousands of people interested in funding your business, how do you make it easy for them to send you money and for you to track all of the transactions? There are online payment processing services, such as PayPal®, that facilitate fundraising by handling the transactions as donations or payments for goods and services. These online payment processors enable the funders to transfer funds from their bank accounts or credit cards to the entrepreneur, while making it easier for the entrepreneur to keep track of all the transactions in one place.
- Keep Your Promises And Keep In Touch
After you get funded, what then? Be sure to thank your friends and family who believed in you and supported your venture. Distribute any rewards that you had promised to your funders, and be sure to keep the lines of communication open by sending them regular updates to let them know how their support has helped you fulfill the “American dream.” A great benefit of social networking sites is that it’s easier than ever to send messages and stay in touch with friends. These communications will go a long way in helping you maintain good personal and professional relationships, and your friends will be more likely to support you again in the future as funders and even as customers.
40Billion.com is the first micro-funding platform that facilitates American small business capital fundraising through gifts and loans from an entrepreneur’s network of friends and family online. 40Billion.com’s scalable platform helps entrepreneurs raise funding more affordably through friends and family than through banks or other traditional financial institutions. Using proprietary online tools, entrepreneurs build social networks – including friends, relatives, colleagues, customers, and other contacts – and use these connections to raise capital through small business loans and gifts. Entrepreneurs create fundraising profiles and invite their connections to offer funding in exchange for discounts or potential returns. 40Billion.com, Inc. is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. For more information, visit http://www.40Billion.com.
Cornelius Colin McNab is the founder and chief executive of 40Billion.com, a micro-funding site that facilitates business capital fundraising through social networking online. Cornelius earned a bachelors degree from Yale University and a masters degree in business administration from the Sloan School at MIT.
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