Is the “American dream” dead?

Is the idea of achieving the “American dream” a dying fantasy that is becoming impossible for more and more people? Yes, unfortunately, it is true. There is no doubt that the economy is suffering, and suffering with it is the American dream.

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to start businesses, families can’t afford to buy homes, and students can’t afford to go to college. Banks don’t seem to care, and the government seems to be paralyzed from the waist down.

But the fact is you don’t need a bank loan in order to build and grow a successful business, just like you don’t need an Ivy League college degree in order to be a successful entrepreneur and businessperson (though, it can help). We have to help ourselves and save our own economy, our own businesses, our American dream.

Raise money. Build dreams. 40Billion.com … Let’s start here!

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5 tips for approaching friends and family about your business

At 40billion.com, we provide online tools to help small-business and startup entrepreneurs increase access to funding and resources by leveraging their social networks, including friends and family. Here are 5 tips that we give to entrepreneurs to help them approach friends and relatives about their business:

1.  ASK FOR ADVICE & REFERRALS, NOT HANDOUTS

When you approach friends and family about your business, just share your idea in a conversational manner, and ask them for their advice, feedback, or referral. People are usually glad to give you their point-of-view if they think their advice or feedback may be helpful. And, if they really believe in you, they will either offer to help or they’ll be willing to refer you to someone who can help.

2.  FORMALIZE A LOAN OR DISCOUNT

Businesses often get started with a loan from the entrepreneur’s friend or relative, but it can be difficult to manage the relationship, especially if the loan is not formalized with a written agreement. Create a formal loan agreement with details of the loan, including what is owed, when payments are due, and any consequences for missing payments. Even if you’ve promised a discount to your friend or relative in exchange for a loan or referral, put it in writing and provide a discount coupon that can be redeemed. This may significantly reduce the risk of ruining your personal relationship over business.

3.  GIVE A PRESENTATION

Are you serious about your business? Then give a business plan presentation to your friends and family, and show them. This is your chance to display your professionalism and passion, while getting free advice and feedback from people you know. The result could get you closer to the funding, resources, and customers you need to get your business up and running.

4.  POST ON SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES

Add a description of your business to social networking websites, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This easily allows your friends and family to read about what you’re doing and spread the word to other people they know. So, instead of you going to them, they will come to you and ask about your new business.

5.  KEEP IN TOUCH

Be sure to thank your friends and family who supported you or helped you spread the word. Then, be sure to keep the lines of communication open by sending them regular company updates to let them know that their support has been put to good use, and you’re achieving those milestones that you set in your business plan. These communications will go a long way toward maintaining good relationships with your friends-and-family supporters, and they will be more likely to support you again as customers, investors, advisors and advocates.

Want to know which of your friends are most likely to invest in your business (or someone else’s business)?

Ever wondered which of your friends is most likely to invest in your business? Want to know which potential funders you should pursue and invite to participate in your Raise?

Use our amazing new Funding Probability BETA feature to find out the likelihood that each of your contacts will fund your Raise (or even someone else’s Raise).  Just click the “Invite Your Friends” button at the top of any Raise to find out more and make your social network start working for you!

 Add contacts to your network and find out which ones are most likely to fund your business.

How To Use Social Networking To Raise Money For Your Business

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? 

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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. 

About 40Billion.com
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.

Copyright 2010, 40Billion.com Inc. All rights reserved.

Grab a widget! Add a custom widget on your website or blog for easier access to your business fundraising profile.

It’s easier than ever before to share and access Raises (business fundraising profiles) all over the Web. Just add a 40billion widget to your own website or blog. Simply copy the embed code and paste it into your website’s code wherever you want the widget to appear.
 
You can grab a widget for any Raise that you have access to on 40billion.com. Just click “Widgets” at the bottom of the page.
 
Want to try out an example? Visit our sample Raise and then click the Widgets link at the bottom of the page. Copy the code in the box for the widget that you want to use, and paste the code into your website or blog.
It’s just as simple as adding a YouTube video to your website or blog, and it’s FREE.
 

Want to learn more about 40billion.com and get tips for raising capital through people you know? Sign up for our upcoming webinar and see live demos.

Please join us for an exclusive live product demonstration of the 40billion.com business micro-funding platform. This intimate webinar and demonstration occurs weekly on Thursdays at either 2-3pm or 7-8pm Eastern Time. Reserve your seat for an upcoming webinar below.

40billion.com is the micro-funding platform that helps entrepreneurs raise capital quickly, easily, and affordably through social networking so they can start and grow successful businesses.

The #1 reason why many small businesses fail is lack of adequate funding and access to resources. 40billion.com enables friends, family, and others to form networks, in which they can raise money for businesses, support and invest in businesses, and find resources to build successful businesses.

This live demonstration will share with you all that 40billion.com has to offer and allow you to ask questions of our expert presenters.

Register for a session now by clicking a date below:

Thu, Sep 30, 2010 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Thu, Oct 7, 2010 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Thu, Oct 14, 2010 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

Thu, Oct 21, 2010 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT

Once registered you will receive an email confirming your registration
with information you need to join the Webinar.

To your success,

The 40billion Team

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