Category: Crowdfunding

Buy The Block: 50 Business Ideas for Vacant Land

Farming
Farming

If you have a vacant land it’s always a very good idea to start a business there. It’s the best way to monetize it and you can have a pretty good return on investment too. However, you do need to come up with the right business ideas if possible. Yet if you pay the right amount of attention and you focus on growth, you will be fine. It’s definitely important to think outside the boundaries and come up with creative ways to push things to the next level. And here are some methods you can use right away.

  1. Creating a Parking Lot makes a lot of sense. You can charge people to park there, and since there’s a lack of parking spots in most cities, this will actually be a great business idea to be honest.
  2. Outdoor Photography Studio can also be a good idea. You can offer this place to photographers for a charge whenever they need outdoor photos with their models. You still get the income and you keep the property too.
  3. Having an Art Installation there works too. You can showcase art and make people pay an entry fee. You can also charge for merchandise and food too, which makes this quite an interesting business idea if you use it right.
  4. Outdoor Yoga Studios are willing to pay good money for a vacant piece of land. This is a great activity and a fun one at that too. Plus you can monetize it really well.
  5. Share your space as a Pop-up Facility for companies, as it’s interesting and it comes in handy. You can get new businesses working on this all the time.
  6. Farmers’ Markets are looking for spaces too, and you can get some great value for your place if you go with such an approach, just make the most out of it if you can.
  7. Setting up a Carpentry sounds a bit challenging, but you can use the space to build large furniture pieces and various structures. It’s enticing and also very rewarding, exactly what you would need for your vacant land.
  8. There are lots of Antiques Markets out there. If you want you can work closely with some organizers and create one on your land. It’s a great way to get some extra money for your land if you already have it there and ready to go.
  9. Outdoor Advertising is an option if your land is close to a large road. Yes, it might be a bit challenging if it’s not near the road, but the payoff can be really impressive.
  10. Adding in a Roadside Attraction will help draw in visitors pretty often. And you can charge an entry fee so you can earn money from it. The idea is to be creative and come up with cool stuff that people want to see.
  11. Beekeeping is suitable for a vacant land, but you have to make sure that you know how to manage bees, so they don’t become a problem.
  12. A greenhouse or a Plant Nursery will actually be really good, since you can have fresh plants for any project you want. It’s definitely interesting and super convenient, might as well check it out for yourself and see if you like the results or not.
  13. A Training Facility will be good for company employees to come and learn new things. It can be used for landscaping, drone operation, construction and so on. You can be as creative as you want, it all depends on what kind of training you want to provide and what’s already out there.
  14. In case you have lots of storage space, then you can opt for Landscape Supply Storage. It’s a great business idea to earn some money.
  15. Event Rentals are also a great source of revenue. That being said, you will be restricted to certain events based on where your terrain is located. But it will be great anyways.
  16. Using the land as a Concert Venue sounds interesting and it really is. However you might need to fulfill some other requirements before being able to use your terrain like that. It’s still extremely impressive and you are bound to like and enjoy this quite a bit.
  17. For the largest pieces of land, you can go with the Drive-In Theater approach. It’s a very interesting option for sure, but it’s totally worth it.
  18. Glamping Facility. It might be a trendy concept, but there are people looking for Glamping spaces all over the place, and yours might be the right one. As long as you comply with regulations for this kind of stuff.
  19. Manufacturing Tiny Houses on your land can be a prosperous business idea. You can make tons of money without major worries.
  20. It all comes down to height limitations, but creating a Zipline Course makes a lot of sense. People are always willing to pay to test out their thrills, and it will be enjoyable.
  21. Biking Course. You will like the idea of adding such a course to your vacant land, especially if you want to add support for BMX or motocross. That is, if you have enough space for it.
  22. If you want to focus on the team building aspect for companies, create a Paintball Course. Everyone loves paintball and it can be insanely fun, which is exactly what you want.
  23. Then there’s also the option to use the terrain as an Outdoor Shooting Range if needed or possible.
  24. In case you own a very large piece of land in rural areas, then you might be able to use it as a Hunting Property. There are some limitations and legal requirements for that however.
  25. A very simple option is to use the space as a Junk Yard. You can scrap unwanted stuff and actually make money from it. This will be very well worth the effort, so consider that.
  26. Creating a Golf Course on your vacant land might be challenging. But if you lack enough space, there’s always the option to have mini golf courses set up.
  27. Vineyard. Yes, you can have a Vineyard on your land, however in order to do that your land should be in a rural area.
  28. Using the land as an Ice Rink is a great idea. You can earn quite a bit of money, but this will be a seasonal business, so you really have to consider all of that.
  29. This might sound a bit out there, but creating a Christmas Tree Farm is actually a great business. Granted, you will have no payouts during the year, but selling the trees during the winter will bring you quite the profit.
  30. Some people create an Apple Orchard on their vacant land. It’s a really good idea to think about and honestly it delivers just about all the benefits you want and so much more without major worries.
  31. It can be a good idea to create a Petting Zoo too. People are willing to pay to visit and pet animals. It sounds strange but you will enjoy this quite a bit.
  32. If possible, you can create a Hay Ride yourself and it can be insanely fun. The idea is to check out what you can expect and what features are there. They will be very enjoyable and exciting at the same time.
  33. Some people have a lot of land outside the city or even rural areas, which is why it makes sense to use it as a Corn Maze. You can charge for admission and make quite a lot of money. This is a creative idea for sure, and certainly a worthwhile one.
  34. Setting up Sports Fields on your land might take a little bit of work. But it’s not impossible and you are bound to like and even enjoy the amazing results that can be acquired in such a situation.
  35. You should also consider creating a summer camp where kids can enjoy outdoor activities, it can actually be a lot of fun and very exciting if you do this right of course.
  36. In case you set up a working farm on the property, you can make it educational where groups can come and interact with you or one another.
  37. Some people want to raise a goat but they don’t have space for it. So they are willing to rent a goat that you raise on your space and that’s it. This is a great and also quite interesting business idea.
  38. Establishing a Wool Processing business might not be very easy. But it’s possible since you can process wool and then turn it into fabric or yarn.
  39. A simpler idea is to turn this place into a Horse Stable. You can raise or keep horses here for a certain amount of money per month.
  40. If you are very passionate about having a Dairy Farm, then you should consider opting for that. You can produce lots of milk and cheese, which can turn into a goldmine for you.
  41. Related to that, you could also start Raising Livestock, depending on your skills and knowledge.
  42. A much simpler option would be to create a Self Storage Facility, as this will help immensely if people need to store items but don’t have enough space.
  43. Then there’s the idea of having a Solar Energy plant that will help generate electricity and you can sell that to local energy companies.
  44. You could go with a wind farm if you want too. This is a growing industry and again, you can turn a profit from this pretty fast without a lot of hassle or trouble.
  45. If your land has lots of trees and you replant trees often, you could go with a Firewood Business. There’s still a large demand for firewood out there, so you should totally consider that.
  46. We also encourage you to turn this space into a Campground and just rent space to people that travel here. It’s a creative option and it can turn very profitable.
  47. If you’re located near water, you can opt for creating a Boat Storage business. It will be profitable especially if you have low storage prices. And you should do that if you’re new to the industry.
  48. Just like boat storage, you also have RV Storage. In this case you can keep RVs in a certain space for a fee. It’s a very lucrative business actually and it will work great for you since you can store all RVs for a free and make a profit pretty fast.
  49. The simpler but also quite demanding option is to use the land as a Produce Farm.
  50. Or you can use it as a Farm Stand if you want. Here you can sell the vacant land basically to food retailers or restaurants.

We encourage you to be as creative as possible when it comes to harnessing the vacant space you own right now. Make sure that you browse all these ideas and also come up with some new ones. You never really know what works and what doesn’t work, so figuring things out and coming up with some options here and there might totally be worth it. Avoid rushing, and you will find this to work extremely well!

Looking for opportunities to invest? Visit Buy The Block https://buytheblock.com/campaign/takes-a-village-1-inc

The Value of the Pre-Launch

What you need before launching your rewards campaign:

As you raise crowdfunding capital, it’s your job to answer your audience’s questions and build their confidence, persuading them to support and share your campaign. It’s up to you to identify some of the specific needs and questions that your customers will have, but there are several universal components of any successful campaign. The good news is that nobody knows your business better than you do, so these are pieces you can start gathering today as you plan your upcoming campaign.

Compelling Pitch – You already know your business inside and out, so now you just have to wrap it in a meaningful package for your potential backers. Your pitch should be a lean, well-rehearsed narrative about:

  1. Where you came from
  2. What you do
  3. What you need

Your goal is to change the world with your product or service. While the goal is to tell a story that resonates with your specific audience, every successful pitch does 3 things:

  • State the problem – The first and most important part of a great pitch is to identify a painful problem.  The more severe the problem or need that you address is, the more valuable your business’s solution will be.
  • Introduce the solution – Once your audience understands the problem on an intellectual and emotional level, you can present your product or service as its best solution. Remember, be clear and concise—focus on your solution’s big picture, not every last feature.
  • Define the market size – Once your audience understands the problem and how you’re uniquely equipped to solve it, you need to put the opportunity in perspective. The bigger the market, the greater the potential value of your company is, and the more enticing the opportunity becomes for backers and investors.

Elevator Pitch – Adapt your pitch into a ready and rehearsed elevator pitch, a condensed version that can be delivered in the span of 30 seconds to a minute.  In the same way that you never know who you’ll run into and have a chance to pitch to in the real world, you can’t predict how distracted a potential backer might be when they happen upon your page, and you definitely shouldn’t assume you have their full attention. For these situations, it’s best to have a short, 3-4-sentence elevator pitch at the top of your page and keep it focused on the problem, solution, and market size.

Email Pitch – Email marketing is just one of the approaches you should be thinking about for promoting your campaign. Similar to your elevator pitch, craft a brief version of your pitch that the recipient can skim in under 2 minutes.

Social Media –  is crucial to the success of crowdfunding campaigns for individuals, brands, and nonprofits. Focus on creating shareable content and cultivating a community on social media so you can reach new audiences and build an email list.

Campaign Video – Campaigns that include an overview video have been shown to perform better, and the reason why is understandable: the average user would rather watch a short, well-produced video than take the time to read the same content. Invest the time (and production cost) to produce a professional video that features your company’s founder or core team, explains the unmet need that sparked your idea, details your product and how it’s different than anything else out there, shows where your business is at right now, and hints at its long-term potential. This is the sort of content you can build into your campaign that’s not only more likely to get seen, but also get shared online.  

Product Overview – Write a detailed description of your product or service, how it works, and why people would want to see it brought to market. Since you’re likely to be offering a pre-order of this product as a crowdfunding reward, you should be “selling” the product as much as you’re explaining it.

Rewards – At the heart of any rewards-based raise are, of course, the rewards. Although a small number of backers will support your business solely out of personal affinity or the desire to see you succeed, the vast majority will decide to pledge based on what they get out it. What you offer your backers is entirely up to you, so it’s worth thinking long and hard about what would incentivize your customers. Rewards generally fall into 3 main categories:

  • Pre-orders – By far the most popular type of reward, this approach simply involves selling pre-orders of the product you’re raising money to produce. This is a great mid-level reward and is an exciting way for backers to experience the impact of their contribution.
  • Services – If pre-orders aren’t available or don’t fit your business model, you can offer special services in exchange for support. We’ve seen everything from Founders preparing a home-cooked meal for backers, to developers offering to write code for fans and supporters.
  • Recognition/Swag – A perfect entry-level reward for donations under $20, this category offers backers some sort of personal recognition for their support.  This can include a company t-shirt commemorating the campaign or the backer’s name on the company website.

Whatever rewards you choose, it’s best to have at least 7 rewards tiers—a small price point that offers some sort of simple recognition, a mid-sized price point that offers a pre-order, and a large price point that offers special recognition for generous backers.

The Ask – You’re here to raise money, so it all comes down to the ask. Always remember this rule: be crystal-clear about exactly how much money you’re raising, and know exactly how you plan to spend it. Detail is the key here—the more information you can provide, the better. In as much detail as possible, be able to explain how you plan on spending the crowdfunding capital you raise, and explain specifically what milestones it’ll help you reach.

This is a great chance to build backer confidence by showing that you’ve spent the time to chart your business’s course forward. Some common categories we see in rewards campaigns are product development, sales and marketing, recruitment of key personnel, legal and accounting, and operating expenses. You can use these broad categories as a starting point, but be sure to expand upon them where you can. For example, explain which product features this funding will help you develop, or which key team members you’ll be able to hire, and what they’ll do for your business.

The Benefits of Crowdfunding

Introduction

Both rewards and crowd investing offer a wide range of advantages over traditional business financing. With benefits ranging from a wider pool of potential investors to more nimble fundraising options, crowdfunding is going to continue to evolve into more popular, and more powerful funding method for startups, local businesses, and inner-city real estate development.  Though funding is almost always the main goal of a crowdfunding campaign, it can also be a fantastic way to gain visibility, validate your business, grow your customer base, and more.

It’s more efficient than traditional fundraising

When you’re an early-stage company, local retail business, or real estate development focused on building your business and attracting seed capital, you might not be able to afford all the time and attention that pursuing traditional financing demands. Compared to applying for a loan or seeking out accredited investors yourself, setting up a successful crowdfunding campaign on Buy The Block or another platform is far more efficient and effective in getting your message out to the right people. With the right platform, you can tell your business’s story, produce a quick video, set up some enticing rewards, and benefit from having everything in one centralized location where potential backers can find you.

It’s a place to build traction, social, proof, and validation

A strong, highly visible crowdfunding campaign can provide validation and social proof that’s vital in charting your path forward. When potential customers show interest in your startup’s product or service, you’ve generated social proof—demonstrating that other people believe in what you’re doing. Once early adopters vet and buy into your idea, others are more likely to follow suit. Social proof is translated into traction—whether it’s a large number of backers, pre-orders, or media attention—that’s invaluable as you pitch to other investors.

It’s an opportunity for crowdsourced brainstorming to refine your idea

Hear your would-be backers poking holes in your business plan or asking some tough questions? Take it in stride and accept it as free, crowdsourced brainstorming. The basis of a startup is finding some important, unmet need that your customers have, and deciding to be the one to do something about it. Thus, it’s important to seize any opportunity for customer feedback and consider it in planning your startup. One of the greatest things about crowdfunding is how close it gets you to your customers, giving you a chance to engage them and field questions, complaints, feedback, and ideas. You never know—your company’s next great idea could come from somebody who is a staunch member of your crowd.

It gains you early adopters and loyal brand advocates

The people that power your idea’s social proof are your early adopters and potential brand advocates. They’re the people who believe in your story, product, or service, enough to stake their money on its longevity and long-term success. These early adopters are key to the success of your crowdfunding campaign and the momentum you keep after closing, being the ones most likely to share your vision with friends and family and promote it through their social networks.

It doubles as marketing and media exposure

Press coverage will create more eyes on your campaign and create lasting brand awareness for your startup. This can come in the form of a feature story on a popular news station, blog, or print publication, and is a great way to bring in backers outside of your personal network. A good feature story or Twitter mention can create a powerful snowball effect, putting you in touch with major investors you might not have otherwise reached. Whether they read about your new product or development on a popular blog or hear about your innovative campaign from a friend, a successful crowdfunding is a great way to capture new investor interest.

Crowdsourcing has grown into an excellent way for entrepreneurs, local business owners, real estate developers, and early-stage companies to validate their business, find capital and early adopters, and get the exposure they need to grow. To recap, some of the most powerful ways a crowdfunding campaign can help build more startup momentum than other financing methods are:

  • It’s more efficient than traditional fundraising.
  • It generates traction, social proof, and validation.
  • It’s an opportunity for crowdsourced brainstorming to refine your idea.
  • It gains you, early adopters and loyal advocates.
  • It doubles as marketing and media exposure.

Crowdfunding for the Black Community

Crowdfunding for the Black Community

Crowdfunding is essentially the opposite of the mainstream approach to business finance. Traditionally, if you want to raise capital to start a business, launch a new product, or develop real estate you would need to pack up your business plan, market research, and prototypes, and then shop your idea around to a limited pool or wealthy individuals or institutions.

These funding sources included banks, angel investors, and venture capital firms, really limiting your options to a few key players. In the Black community, the number of Black founders obtaining funding from these sources is dismal at best.  Black Americans’ entrepreneurial experiences contrast dramatically with these groups. Modern disadvantages experienced by blacks include racial segregation, low levels of earnings, lack of wealth, poor education, lack of experience in a family business, employer discrimination and difficulty in getting a loan.

In April 2000, a congressional study found that “Most banks largely ignored African-American neighborhoods, even those with above-average incomes,” forcing many blacks to depend on expensive and abusive lenders. In addition, while the average white family’s wealth in 2009 was $113,000, the average black family’s wealth was a fraction of that, $5,700. These liabilities make it harder for blacks than other groups to obtain loans, lines of credits and other financial services which are crucial to starting and running a business.

You can think of this fundraising approach as a funnel, with you and your pitch at the wide end and your audience of investors at the closed end. Fail to point that funnel at the right investor or firm at the right time, and that’s your time and money lost.   

Crowdfunding platforms, on the other hand, turns that funnel upside down. By giving, the entrepreneur, a single platform to build, showcase, and share your pitch resources, this approach dramatically streamlines the traditional model. With crowdfunding, it’s much easier for you to get your opportunity in front of more interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business, from investing thousands in exchange for equity to contributing $20 in exchange for a first-run product or other rewards.

The 5 Benefits of Crowdfunding

 

  • ReachBy using a crowdfunding platform like Buy The Block, you have access to thousands of non-accredited and accredited investors who can see, interact with, and share your fundraising campaign.
  • PresentationBy creating a crowdfunding campaign, you go through the invaluable process of looking at your business from the top level—its history, traction, offerings, addressable market, value proposition, and more—and boiling it down into a polished, easily digestible package.
  • PR & Marketing – From launch to close, you can share and promote your campaign through social media, email newsletters, and other online marketing tactics. As other media outlets cover the progress of your fundraising, you can double down by steering traffic to your website and other company resources.
  • Proof of Concept – Presenting your concept or business to the masses affords an excellent opportunity to validate and refine your offering. As potential investors begin to express interest and ask questions, you’ll quickly see if there’s something missing that would make them more likely to buy in.
  • Efficiency – One of the best things about online crowdfunding is its ability to centralize and streamline your fundraising efforts. By building a single, comprehensive profile to which you can funnel all your prospects and potential investors, you eliminate the need to pursue each of them individually. So instead of duplicating efforts by printing documents, compiling binders, and manually updating each one when there’s an update, you can present everything online in a much more accessible format, leaving you with more time to run your business instead of fundraising.

Understanding Crowdfunding for The Black Community

What Is Crowdfunding

The passing of President Obama’s JOBS Act in April 2012 ushered in crowdfunding as the word of the day. While this concept has arguably been around for centuries, it is still formally recognized as a new industry to many consumers, particularly those outside the United States. Crowdfunding is, by definition, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”  

Why Crowdfunding Developed

There is a seemingly nonstop global recession, and small businesses are struggling more than ever to stay afloat, and entrepreneurs are facing terrible odds.  Small businesses finding capital for expansion from the banking industry has been unfeasible for the last seven years, and startups finding the needed funding in the more traditional venues of Angel Investors or VCs seems to be impossible. But, in this financial environment Crowdfunding offers these individuals an increased probability of success by showcasing their businesses and projects to the entire world via the Internet and social media.

How Crowdfunding Works

There are numerous crowdfunding platforms where consumers can safely ask for or donate money. While each site offers their unique culture, the general concept is the same across the board. Project creators can create a profile typically containing a short video, an introduction to their project, a list of rewards per donation, and some text and images to elaborate. The idea is to create a compelling message that will resonate with the readers.

Why Crowdfunding Works

The idea of “it’s not what you do, but why you do it,” is the message that drives crowdfunding. By focusing on a bigger purpose, the impact of a brand or project will be able to create a unique community of like-minded individuals. Each campaign is set for a goal (a publicly stated amount of money) and a fixed number of days. Once the project is launched, each day will be counted down and the money raised will be tallied up for visitors to follow its success.

How It Works in Practice

 

Instead of traditional investors, crowdfunding campaigns are funded by the general public. Typically, most successful projects receive about 25-40% of their revenue from their first, second and third degree of connections. This could include friends, family, work acquaintances, or anyone that the owner is connected to, including their second and third-degree connections. Once a project has seen some traction, unrelated consumers start coming out of the woodwork to support campaigns they believe in. There is a huge misconception that creating a successful crowdfunding campaign is as simple as hitting submit and waiting for it to go viral. While this has happened to many brands, the vast majority of projects require an immense amount of marketing and management skill and phenomenal effort on the part of the project creator. Utilizing social media, creating email distribution lists before the project launches, contacting local media, are all necessary steps to take if you are serious about your goal. Remember, this is not a platform to ask for a handout. If you expect people to join your cause, you had better be prepared to prove your salt.

Why Investment Clubs and Crowdinvesting Will Build Black Wealth

Introduction

The 2012 JOBS Act and digital communication tools have ushered in the age of the crowd economy where platforms like Buy the Block allow African-Americans to invest with their peers to provide the needed capital to support Black entrepreneurs and real estate developers by investing with our peers. Black people in the United States have a combined purchasing power of $1.3 trillion which would make us the 13th largest economy in the world, yet our wealth is encroaching zero as our income and education attainment continue to rise. We must as a community, embrace the crowd economy pool our immense financial resources through impact investing, crowd investing, and entrepreneurship to create companies and build inter-generational wealth.

What is an Investment Club

Investment clubs are a great idea for Black professional organizations and Black churches. Why do I say this? A lot of people that are new to investing don’t want to go it alone so joining or creating an investment club provides the structure to build confidence and investment knowledge for people that don’t have a lot of investment experience.  An investment club consists of members who study stocks, bonds, real estate, and private placement investments. The goal is to have each member take an industry and report to the group why they think it is a great investment. Many times they will pool their money together in order to make joint investment decisions.


Crowdinvesting Has Opened the World of Private Placement

Crowdinvesting will allow tens of millions of ordinary people will be able to buy shares in startups and early-stage companies online. This is a dramatic departure from the restrictive rules that U.S. investors and entrepreneurs had lived under since 1933. The deals that make equity offerings will be the same kinds of deals that have been making equity offerings to angel investors for decades, through more traditional financing channels. Many of the deals that have raised all the money they can from founders, family, and friends (the three Fs) and still need capital to grow, but are still too small to attract the interest of commercial banks and venture capital firms. Will now be available crowd investors at a much earlier stage which increases the risk, but also increases the potential reward.

 

Real Estate Investing Through Crowd Investing

Entrepreneur Lynn P. Smith is the founder and CEO at Buy The Block one of the only Black-owned platforms in the country that is dedicated to making investments in real estate as a group more accessible. The movement is presently on its way to recording massive success in funding for diverse development projects across Black communities in the US. This enviable initiative offers every Black American an opportunity to invest as little as $100, and connect with other investors – with an added advantage of helping every member buy a piece of their first block. With the platform, acquiring property or block of choice in one’s local area is achievable. Getting the funds to make such a big difference can also be without hassles.

 

Leading the Way Through Policy and Technology

The ability to share wealth depending on each person’s investment makes it a win-win situation for all block investors. With the focus on the Black communities in America, Buy The Block is on track to raise millions of dollars in funding for development projects in these communities. Having the capacity to take on more significant projects and contracts, Buy the Block believes that hey will soon change the face of crowdfunding real estate investing in the country and the wealth building process for Black America. The first African American-owned crowdfunding portal, its symbolic power, and economic potential are undeniable, especially in the commercial real estate. Buy the Block creates a revolution in early-stage finance that is changing the way inner-city African-American communities relate to capital formation, real estate development, entrepreneurship, and job creation.

Black Professionals Organizations

There are many Black Professional organizations that have hundreds of thousands of members if not a million members. These organizations are not only helpful for African-Americans to learn to navigate in their professions, but they could be the very foundation of creating investment clubs. The associations already exist all they have to do is form the clubs and begin investing via crowd investing. For example, the Association of Black Accounts has over 200,000 members. If we are to make a move toward economic and political empowerment as a group then the path is being blazed by crowd economy entrepreneurs.

The Black Church

Annually Black Churches rack in over $14 billion tax-free, yet this demographic data has grown worse as time moves forward into the future. In many Black neighborhoods, there is a church on many corners (sometimes 3-4 per block), a liquor store, and businesses that aren’t owned by Blacks. These businesses that are not Black-owned plague our communities in many ways. The majority of people that live in the Black community don’t own the place where they reside.

With a goal to build wealth and community equity using Regulation Crowdfunding and impact investing. The Black Church has a significant role in making this goal a reality. One way forward is to form investment clubs inside of Black churches that use crowdfunding and crowd investing to empower the community both politically and economically. There must be accountability of the money to improve the situation of the people through the crowd economy.

Takeaway

The United States has been and continues to be very hostile to Black people and in response to this high level of state-sponsored hostility, many African-American professionals have formed their own associations. These associations provide a path forward for young professionals and the opportunity to find mentors, but in the age of the crowd economy, there is an opportunity for these same associations to create investment clubs that will allow group investment in Black-owned businesses and real estate development through crowd investment. The Black Church has a long history of providing guidance for the Black community. The Black Church was one of the primary institutions that taught the former slaves how to take full advantage of their new freedom and US citizenship. During the Civil Rights era the Church led the way in the fight for full citizenship, and today the Black Church must take its place as the leader in the fight for economic empowerment through crowd investing for business and real estate development.  

BBNomics and Black Crowdfunding

Introduction

10 years ago, crowdfunding emerged after the 2008 financial crisis in response to the difficulties faced by early-stage enterprises attempting to generate marketing traction and funding. As the inner-city African-American community embraces its potential, and the substantial reservoirs of untapped entrepreneurial talent are beginning to emerge daily the economic of these communities will change for the better as jobs, businesses and wealth are created in these once disinvested communities. There are millions of inner-city individuals and organizations that are able to make small crowdfunding investments in community businesses.

The Crowd Economy

As a crowdfunding consultant, my hope is that this trend will grab a foothold in inner-city African-American communities and continue to grow as friends families and community organizations will finance business ideas with crowdfunding’s online extension to access the capital and national reach of the community, or “the crowd”. Now, with the recent news of crowd investing options for startups, I look forward to seeing growing startups and real estate development engage in crowd investing to continue to grow their brand loyalty with their crowd and be able to spread the wealth through retail investing in local businesses and real estate development.

Black People’s role in Pop Culture

As a community, inner-city Blacks tend to set the trends in popular  American culture from music to fashion and we are beginning to become strong authors and filmmakers. These are all areas that have long been dominated by a relatively small number of wealthy and powerful people that determined what products made it to market and they would reap the profits. Today, driven by the crowd economy the dynamics will change as our community embraces crowdfunding as a driving force for creativity, marketing, and funding. No longer will our creativity and entrepreneurship be exploited for the gains of other communities.   

Building Wealth From Our Creativity

Black consumers are trendsetters and tastemakers for young consumers of all races, according to the Selig Center. They define mainstream culture and wield immense influence over how Americans choose to spend their money. Any marketing campaign targeting millennials “must include messages to reach African-American youth. With the advent of crowdfunding and crowd investing we now have the ability to create, market, fund, and distribute our creative products while building wealth as entrepreneurs and retail investors.

Takeaway

BBNomics – ‘A Crowdfunding Site,’ soon after many more initiatives were designed and privately financed to help our community organizations. This journey is long and extremely difficult, but I refuse to give up. My personal goal is for these platforms to raise millions in funding to help entrepreneurs and organizations open their doors to the public. BBNomics-Buy Black Economics other goals are to teach the fundamentals of group economics, group-love, and financial literacy through education, keynote speeches, panelists and most importantly, funding many start-up ventures. BBNomics-Buy Black Economics is all about group reliance, real money wisdom, for our people who want to beat the odds, prove everyone wrong and become a beacon of light in the world by living life with a purpose. The aim is making an impact by providing platforms for everyone to actively engage in fundamental principles of group economics, grouplove, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. It’s for our people who are serious about taking their lives — and their POWER — to the next level!

Why Opportunity Zones May Be Good For Urban Real Estate Development

Introduction

Opportunity Funds were created in the 2017 tax law to promote investment in the development of low-income communities across the US. They offer investors federal tax advantages that are only available through the new Opportunity Zone program. When investors put their money to work in qualified Opportunity Zones through a qualified Opportunity Fund, they can defer and reduce their capital gains tax burden. investors can defer and reduce realized capital gains on the principal invested, and even eliminate their capital gains tax burden on returns earned through the sale of investments in qualified Opportunity Zones.

What Are Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones are census tracts of low-income areas designated by state governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. These areas are being targeted for economic development through the newly created Opportunity Zone program. Investors can invest in the development of qualified Opportunity Zones through Opportunity Funds, which can provide significant federal capital gains tax advantages, both immediately and over the long term.

Why Opportunity Zones are Perfect for Buy The Block

Buy The Block is positioned to take full advantage of the Opportunity Zone laws and it has a very similar mission to provide capital for the redevelopment of  inner-city real estate. The Opportunity Zone program was created to revitalize economically distressed communities using private investments rather than taxpayer dollars. To stimulate private participation in the Opportunity Zone program, taxpayers who invest in Qualified Opportunity Zones are eligible to benefit from capital gains tax incentives available exclusively through the program.

Why Affordable Housing  Is a Must

According to an article by UrbanLand By 2025, affordability will have lost over 25 million  units based on the expiration of government subsidies and another 3 million unities of organic affordable housing units those are unites not subsidized but develop naturally occurring affordable price points. But what will not change—and in fact only stands to increase—is the demand for affordable housing for people on fixed incomes and those earning 40 to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

Takeaway

At the same time, members of a new generation of “social-impact investors” are eager to place their equity in housing as a platform to address a variety of issues they care about, including economic mobility and disparities in health outcomes and educational attainment. Opportunity Zones working in collaboration with with real estate crowdinvesting platforms have the potential  to create expanding pools of equity investors with the potential to shore up the supply of affordable housing while creating a rapidly expanding housing workforce.

Urban Redevelopment Across the Midwest

Introduction

There is a renaissance occurring across the Midwest with the miracle in Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine and now moving to Gary, Indiana’s central business district. Gary once a large and prosperous. One hundred years ago Gary, was a new settlement on the south shore of Lake Michigan nicknamed the “city of the century.” Gary was founded and funded by the industrial colossus U.S. Steel—chairman Elbert H. Gary, for whom the town is named.

Classic Rust Belt

Today Gary is a Rust Belt city with a predominantly African-American working class population points to its perception not as an historic boomtown, but a city left reeling when the manufacturing left. Gary stand as a model for the failing Midwestern industrial town  with white flight and the disorderly departure of industry in the later half of the 20th century resulted in a lack of jobs and development. But the promise of the city and community needs vision for revival that could apply to other working class cities on the ropes.

Urban Renaissance

There is today a focused on blight busting and targeted development, attempting to inject optimism back into the town and its citizens. A number of new community initiatives and institutions, including ArtHouse, run by Chicago’s Theaster Gates, are using art as a catalyst for urban renaissance.

Francine Anderson

Francine Anderson is the youngest in a family of 5.  er father migrated to Chicago from Greenwood, Mississippi.  Her mother migrated to Chicago from Brookhaven, Mississippi.  Both were fleeing the racism, violence, and lack of opportunity that plagued the south. Francine worked in corporate finance as a financial analyst after completing her BA in Finance at Clark Atlanta University.  She later worked as an Illinois Realtor while investing in properties in Chicago’s Englewood and Washington Park neighborhoods.

Lakichay Nadirah Muhammad

Lakichay Nadirah Muhammad affectionately known as “The Queen of Self Improvement” and “The Wellness Angel” has an extensive background in the healing arts. This international bestselling author, speaker, earth steward and community leader is committed to the awakening and refinement of the indigenous family. With an extensive background and training in the world of Real Estate Investing, Philanthropy, and Community Building this wife and mother is able to effectively marry her skills to aid in the transformative rebirth for individuals, families and communities.

More Gold Investors, LLC

Enter More Gold Investors, LLC to put their own brand of redevelopment on downtown Gary. More Gold Investors consist of a pair of highly skilled and experienced real estate developers that have combined forces to bring the redevelopment of 624 Broadway with approximately 6,250 square foot retail development space.  The project is located on Gary’s main downtown street, Broadway, and is walking distance from City Hall, the Metra Train Station, US Steel, and the city’s minor league baseball stadium. The project site is on the west side of Broadway Street, midblock, near the Centier Bank Building.

The Convergence of Locavesting and CrowdInvesting

When we look into the investment portfolios of most individual investors we will find stocks and bonds of large multinational companies that very often send jobs and profits overseas. The new retail investor class that crowdinvesting creates is very cash rich and rarely finds itself being invested in local businesses that as stated above are the economic drivers of communities. How do we change that dynamic? How do we channel more capital to productive use—to the small businesses that create jobs, spur innovation and build strong local economies? Well, crowdinvesting is the vehicle that will be able to transfer this capital to small local businesses and real estate development.

Delivering the Gold in Commercial Real Estate

Introduction

Black women are the fastest growing demographic of business owners and here are three Black women that are moving into the domain of commercial real estate what is considered by many to be the especially in commercial real estate, which has been called ‘the least diverse industry on the planet.’ Real estate ownership is also key to building inter-generational wealth. So many of our inner-city neighborhoods have suffered from divestment and benign neglect for decades after the erosion of the urban industrial manufacturing base. But Midwestern cities are making a comeback led by ambitious and visionary Black women that are taking real estate development to a new level.

Capitalizing on Inner-City Redevelopment

Gary much like Detroit is experiencing an influx of redevelopment capital for major players and these Black women are taking advantage of this urban renaissance by purchasing buildings on the periphery of the major development that will allow them to take advantage of the rising tide of urban development. There are using a new tool called crowdinvesting which became legal in May of 2016 and allows anyone rich or poor to take advantage of real estate development as an investor with as little a $100 investment.

The Project

The commercial project includes 6,250 square feet of retail space that includes office spaces in the basement.  It is expected to be renovated, operational, and leased by 2019. Francine Anderson and Lakichay Nadirah Co-Founder of More Gold Investors And their goal is to serve their community by providing resources and trainings that result in community revitalization and development which will ultimately lead to a more sustainable and enriched community.

Takeaway

Buy The Block    is the only Black female owner real estate platforms in the United States and it provide the infrastructure for the African-American community to shift some of the $1.3 trillion we have in purchasing power to small Black-owned businesses, inner-city real estate development and tech businesses that lack access to capital to grow and prosper. Buy The Block is open to any sort of project as long as there is a real estate component, whether residential, business or industrial projects. 

Women Owned Businesses and Crowdfunding

Women are Driving Business Growth

Women are creating more businesses than their male counterparts, and African American and Latina women are driving that trend. However, women, especially non-white women, still lag in  revenue and job creation. According to the report State of Women Owned Businesses From 2017 to 2018, women–owned firms—defined as firms that are at least 51% owned and controlled by women—grew by 6% compared to 1.6% growth by all firms. Women make up 40% of all firms, but their numbers have been growing at an average 4% per year for the past decade, compared to 1% for all firms. If that growth rate continues, women are on track to become the majority of small business owners.

Women Owned Businesses by the Numbers

These women-owned businesses employ 8% of the total private sector workforce and contribute 4.3% of total revenues. When firms that are equally owned by women and men are included, those numbers jump firms at least 50% owned by women account for 48% of all businesses, employ 14% of the workforce and generate $3.1 trillion in revenues (7% of revenues). Yet Less than 1% of black women founders get VC funding. What does this mean for the future of inclusive innovation?

The Failure of Venture Capital

The Venture Capital industry is 70% white, 82% male, and only employed eight black women and two Latinas. With such homogeneous and insular industry statistics as these, it can easily lead to under funding, or not even finding, good technology and founders born of these communities. Black women are the most educated and entrepreneurial group in the U.S., yet they receive less than 1% of VC funding. What is the solution to this financial and cultural conundrum.

Enter Crowdfunding

While many women pursue the dream of having their own business, many fail because of insufficient capital to cover start-up and operational costs. And that’s unfortunate because research shows that women-led business enterprises are more profitable. Enter Crowdfunding frustrated female entrepreneurs struggling to get funding should set up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo page. While female-led ventures have long struggled to get financial backing from banks and investors (who are predominantly male), a new Indiana University report finds that women actually have an easier time getting money on crowdfunding platforms than men do.

Digital Marketing and Crowd Investing

Introduction

While at the Crowd Invest Summit in Los Angeles back in September, 2017 the event confirmed what I had suspected for a very long time.  Just like rewards based crowdfunding required a very powerful strategic marketing and PR plan the same would be required in the world of Title III Crowd Investing. Our panel was very lively and the audience was very excited and engaged. You need to have a strategy for putting your capital raise in front of enough people who are willing to invest in you so that you reach your goal, otherwise the whole process is a waste of time. And with only a few exceptions, the equity crowdfunding platforms don’t offer a lot of support for campaign marketing. And that can be really frustrating.

Facebook Ads

An effective Facebook ad campaign allows a company to effectively target likely investors based on Facebook users’ location, demographics and interests. Facebook is truly 21st century digital marketing. Facebook is the number one platform in social media marketing where you can target a customized audience, so you are able to reduce blasting out a message to who-knows-where and to whom. Facebook Ads reduce the waste of advertising dollars. Facebook is like picking up the phone and selling directly to someone. During your pre-launch you can create an ad and test multiple audiences. Whichever, one converts the best and is most engaged that is the audience that you should target for building your email list. Facebook Ads provide awesome targeting and analytic data along with the ability to create lookalike audiences and re-targeting.

Twitter Ads

Use Twitter ads if you have a Twitter handle, you have a great marketing tool for your product. Companies use Twitter to expand their community. Though this is a fast moving source, it can get you a lot of exposure. Twitter is also a great tool for influencer/blogger outreach. Twitter also provide a great platform for digital PR by reaching out to journalist and building relationships. Twitter a is great platform for building relationships with your many audiences.  

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads work best in a B2B context and can be used to drive people to a lead generation page for the right crowdfunding offerings.  Precise targeting of LinkedIn members with investment expertise in their member profiles, plus targeting to members of LinkedIn Groups for venture capital and private equity, helped Spotlight Ads and Sponsored Updates reach investors.

Search Engine Marketing

The most basic form of SEM involves paying for certain search terms and having Google drive traffic to your crowdfunding campaign based on what you paid for. With SEM, we know somebody is a potential investor based on their search terms, so you are directly reaching out to people who have already identified themselves as someone looking to make a purchase or an investment.

Email Marketing

Email marketing may not be as sexy as newer marketing tactics such as social media and video, but it can still be a huge factor in driving a successful equity crowdfunding offering. There are plenty of digital platforms available to deliver your message, but email marketing continues to offer one of the best opportunities to build relationships and drive sales. Early momentum is crucial in any crowdfunding campaign, and building your email list to engage people in what you are doing before asking them to invest or contribute will put you at a huge advantage on launch day.

Takeaway

Digital marketing is an essential part of every equity crowd investing offering, just as it has been for rewards-based crowdfunding. Working with the right professionals with the correct strategy and knowing who to target is the key to success. Digital marketing is a process that takes time. Most say it takes a potential investor seeing an average of five ads before they make a decision to invest. Converting digital advertising is a process, so start early in the crowdfunding campaign.

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv  

Implementing a Crowdfunding PR Strategy

Introduction 

Crowdfunding has caused a paradigm shift in the way startups and creative projects are marketed and funded. Social media has taken center stage in the drive to build an excited and engaged crowd that will fund a crowdfunding campaign in a very short amount of time typically between 3-6 months of the pre-launch period. Sometimes managing customer expectations can be a really difficult task. Customers want to grow their social media targeted and organically form 8 followers to 15,000 in two weeks. How do we approach this issue? We begin the process of PR.

Public Relations

The Public Relations (PR) field has been radically transformed by the rapid and innovative growth of the Internet, social media and the latest interloper crowdfunding. The fact all marketing must now move at the speed of Internet requires a different emphasis for the PR field. It is crystal clear that PR in relationship to the crowdfunding industry is all about reaching influencers such as bloggers, podcasters, and journalists to assist with the promotion of the crowdfunding campaign.

Strategic PR for Crowdfunding

The role of PR in a crowdfunding campaign must be in the context of the overall marketing and Crowdfunding strategy and not seen as a stand alone component of the campaign. This means we have to make PR make sense in the context of the overall campaign strategy. We begin our outreach by tapping the “Inner Circle” and trying to raise the needed 30% to build momentum early in the campaign.

We look to implement the PR/Media Relations plan in the middle of the campaign when you normally see a lull in the campaign funding cycle. By this time if the plan is being implemented on objectives are being met we have developed some traction and the campaign has legs to stand on.

Implementing the Targeted PR

By this point we have develop a database of bloggers, influencers, podcasters, and journalist, so you have a list of targeted media and now you are ready to integrate your media outreach to a campaign that has demonstrated proof of concept and market validation. There is now a story to write about and the media will be glad to pick up on it and help push it forward.

Takeaways

Your media outreach/PR plan should fit into the overall crowdfunding strategic plan and the marketing plan to complete the campaign objectives. The outreach must be targeted to the people that are industry influencers and have an interest in your campaign’s product or project. The timing of the implementing is vital make sure the campaign has traction before launching into this part of the plan.

Crowdfunding and Inbound Marketing

Introduction

What is crowdfunding? Crowdfunding is a compound word and if you don’t build an excited and engaged crowd you will not get any funding. Crowdfunding is essentially inbound marketing attached to an accounting function. Crowdfunding is a very prower global funding and marketing mechanism that has infused the global economy with before unknow capital for projects and businesses.

I am going to talk about the technology driven world we live in that places the power of brand engagement squarely in the hands of the donor/ investor. Selective consumption is the ability of donors/investors to engage or consume information from a brand when, where and on what device they chose to engage any brand.

Inbound Marketing

This new power relationship is driven by social media, which means that brands today MUST be present when and where donors/investors chose to engage them. According to Hubspot 80% of consumers (investors) would rather be engaged by a series of informational articles than an advertisement.

The basic a premiss of inbound marketing is to be present when and where investors are and to provide the information they want to consume. How that tasks is accomplished is precisely what this post is all about.

Inbound Methodology

Inbound marketing is about sharing high quality information that is relevant to consumers and creating content specifically designed to appeal to your ideal customers, your best prospects will come to you. The question is how will the find you? The content acts as a magnet, or beacon, to capture your prospects’ attention so your potential donors/investors come to you.

The four step of the inbound methodology are:

  1. Attract- this is where you attract visitors to your website
  2. Convert – capture the information of visitors and make them leads
  3. Close – make the leads into investors
  4. Investors relations and community management through engagement

Key Takeaways

In future post we will delve deeper into each aspect of inbound marketing for crowdinvesting and how to implement the methodology as the most effective and efficient method of building an engaged and excited organic crowd.

Marketing Technology: The New Wave of Business Funding

Introduction

The rise of the internet and mobile has led to significant changes in the marketing and finance worlds. In this new era, the marketing and funding departments now require an evolved set of skills, definitely ground and rooted in technology, to take advantage of this rapid transformation. Are marketers and marketing departments keeping pace with the skills they need to produce the desired outcomes for the SMBs where they work for crowdfunding and marketing which are quickly growing into a single entity?  What about the SMBs that don’t have a marketing or crowdfunding departments or marketers that possess these skills and certainly don’t have the time to keep up with the rapid change of new marketing technology for both marketing and funding.

Technology Driven Marketing 

No part of the business world is changing faster than marketing and funding. Consider the tools that were either in nascent form or didn’t exist just two decades ago: Websites, email, social media, marketing automation, mobile phones. When I entered the marketing field most of these tools were not even on the drawing board of transformation that drives our world into a future that’s only constant, is change at light speed.

Understanding the Power of these New Technologies 

As these new tools have been born, marketers, marketing departments, and funders have adopted by hiring marketers with the skills to leverage them, and the results have been a more powerful marketing and funding outcomes than ever. Marketing and crowdfunding should be recognized as revenue drivers and totally integrated into the strategic business planning process now that the tools to finally prove, through measurement, that marketing spending leads to increased revenue and funding opportunities.

Innovation is Required 

These revolutionary changes are also battering the media marketers and crowdfunders use to reach their target audiences where and when they are online. Marketers and crowdfunders struggle to take full advantage of the myriad options available to reach consumers, who are engaging with mobile, social media, connected TV, and a host of other continuously evolving media.

Keeping Up With Technology

But consumers, empowered like never before, aren’t necessarily engaging with marketers. In fact, they’re able to actively avoid advertising messages with DVRs, internet ad blockers, and the email unsubscribe button In light of these changes, it’s no surprise that 67 percent of marketers said that technology was “evolving rapidly or at light speed,” according to a recent Signal survey. Additionally, a Forrester Research survey found that 34 percent of B2B marketers described themselves as “overwhelmed” by the pace of change.

Data Driven Marketing 

These changes to the marketing and funding worlds may be coming fast and furious, but they also provide opportunities. Many SMB marketers and funders believe that they are already benefiting from these opportunities. The Forrester survey referenced above found that 78 percent of B2B marketing executives said they had greater input on strategy. Today, technology and data have provided marketers with a 360-degree view of the customer that is unparalleled in the organization and puts the marketers in a formidable position. Marketing technology is so strong, an ever increasing amount of business decisions will be driven by data accumulated by this ever improving marketing technology.

Takeaway

With this rapidly changing mix of marketing technology and the ever increasing amounts of data that must be gathered, stored, interpreted to drive business strategy the marketing sector begs the question: Is your marketer or marketing team, as an SMB, evolving the necessary marketing skills sets at the same pace?

Influencer Marketing on Twitter

Introduction

Influencer/Blogging marketing involves a collaboration between crowdfunding campaigns and a select number of experts in a relevant field who have a large following on social media specifically Twitter for this post. Influencer marketing distinguishes individuals who have significant influence with a group potential customers. When the right influencers endorse your product or brand, it can create a huge impact!

The way audiences interact with content continues to shift, making influencer/blogger marketing an even more effective and efficient model to exciting and engaging your crowd. Millennial purchase based on endorsements, reviews and ultimately trust. They view authenticity as one of the most, if not the most, important elements of purchasing. For example, 33% of millennial read blogs and expert reviews before buying a product, so it makes sense for crowdfunding campaigns to showcase these expert opinions.

A quick review of your Twitter feed will show that people don’t always flock to companies for information about their products and services. Instead, they’re seeking influencers – popular, personable and independent content creators who aren’t afraid to share opinions on social media. More than 90% of consumers trust earned media – characterized as word-of-mouth and recommendations from trustworthy sources – more than all other types of advertising

As founders building crowdinvesting campaigns how do we harness the power of earned media through Twitter influencers/bloggers to build our engaged and excited crowd of investors. These are the steps we use to tap the influencer/blogger marketing on Twitter

Develop influencer marketing goals

  1. Expand brand awareness- Influencers have the power to rapidly increase your brand awareness, because they have an established and engaged audience.
  2. Generate leads – A simple way to implement influencers into your marketing plans is to partner with them to share your brand’s blogs, features, products.
  3. Check influencer contribution – It is important to quantify the overall reach and impression of your content. Use these numbers to calculate the ROI of your campaign on the basis of different parameters such as followers gained.

Identify influencers

Identify relevant influencers/bloggers who are associated with your industry. Find your target audience and the influencers’ followers should be mutually inclusive. You can use Twitter Advanced Search to search Twitter and keep an eye on certain hashtags, mentions and conversations pertaining to your brand.

Build Relationships with Influencers

After identifying a number of leading influencers/bloggers, reach out! Rather than sending a cold email with your interest, go the extra mile by engaging and showcasing the fact that you have mutual interests.

 

  • Start following them on Twitter and start a casual conversation
  • Retweet their content to introduce them to your audience
  • Discuss something they have tweeted recently
  • Share their blog posts on Twitter
  • Connect on other social media platforms
  • Offer to write a guest post for their blog
  • Send products to them as free samples to review

 

Take time to source valuable influencers/bloggers and cultivate a professional relationship. When trust has been established and you’re confident that there is a mutual fit, you’re in a great position to launch an influencer/blogger marketing campaign.

Devise a marketing strategy

From creating brand awareness to boosting sales, influencer/blogger marketing on Twitter has the potential to drive amazing results to your crowdfunding campaign.

Keep these things in mind before creating an influencer marketing campaign:

  • Prepare a list of leading influencers/bloggers you are in touch with
  • Define your target audience and goals for the campaign
  • Create a call-to-action and several achievable deliverable
  • Come up with a hashtag for the campaign and keywords
  • Research what your competitors are doing and what they have done previously

Going through this process will help clearly define what you want to get out of an upcoming campaign and ensure that you are able to meet those goals.

Start running your influencer/blogger campaigns on Twitter

After developing a clear strategy in relation to the influencers you are going to work with, start implementing your campaign. Have the content for your campaign ready and prepare the tools your influencer/bloggers needs to succeed prior to the campaign launch.

Takeaway

Measuring the outcome of the Twitter Influencer/blogger marketing campaign using keywords and anchor hashtag from the campaign to track its overall reach and performance. Use a Twitter monitoring/social listening tool to do individual analysis:

  • check the retweet count
  • calculate impressions/reach
  • gauge other relevant data-oriented results.

Not only will it help you judge the overall efficiency of your present campaign, but it will also let you identify leading influencers for your next campaign. This will be vital to maintaining an effective and efficient process for developing and implementing a Twitter Influencer/Blogger marketing campaign.

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv

Crowdfunding Is Business

Introduction

Crowdfunding has far surpassed its former reputation as the virtual hat passed round by hard-up inventors. Since 2008, the online collection of funds from multiple backers (“the crowd”) has become a $90 billion global industry. And it doesn’t stop there. Crowdfunding has evolved into a key marketing and branding strategy for entrepreneurs, organizations, and corporations.

Crowdfunding is a great way to road test a brand, product or service among potential consumers. Soliciting valuable feedback from the crowd at the beta stage can help brands fine-tune, iron out glitches, or head back to the drawing board.

Behind every great brand is a great story. Crowdfunding is fertile ground for delivering and developing a winning narrative. It invites consumers to be part of the plot, rather than passive bystanders as part of a marketing strategy, crowdfunding engages consumers by showing them a brand’s more human, vulnerable side, and by letting the crowd “experience” the journey.

Crowdfunding offers brands prime opportunities for testing, marketing and gaining positive exposure. It encourages and rewards creativity, innovation, and risk-taking.We will explore some innovative ways to use crowdfunding as a business strategy.

  • Focus efforts on building total support. Reward supporters with exclusive benefits and incentives to help the process and increase your reach, but make sure your incentives are realistic and affordable.
  • Establish an engaging social media presence. Make people want to learn more by showing uniqueness and creativity to differentiate your brand. Use facts, questions, and quotes to entice people to check out your campaign rather than shamefully solicit support.
  • Involve supporters throughout the project. An involved contributor is more likely to donate and share because she feels like part of the team. Make sure you keep your supporters in the loop on your company’s progress.
  • Use your campaign to learn about how clear your offer is. what message of value is effective, which channels work and to get a better understanding of your audiences. These lessons will build a foundation for your brand and marketing long term.
  • Engage backers to become ambassadors if you engage them regularly beyond the campaign and treat their money, time and efforts with care and respect your crowd will pay long term benefits
  • Build a research and development culture acquired during the campaign into an organizational tool by involving your crowd your crowd with challenges, questions or even hick-up, this will allow the crowd to help build powerful relationships between people inside and outside your organization.

Takeaway

Crowdfunding is an investment model that combines the best aspects of entrepreneurship and social awareness. If your startup is ready to move toward procuring financial backing, a well-designed crowdfunding effort will draw a wide range of people who could expose your company to like-minded new audiences. Make sure that you treat your campaign as a business with a clear strategy and crowdfunding can be a major branding and marketing experience.

A Twitter Strategy For You Campaign

Introduction

Twitter is an extremely powerful tool for promoting your crowdfunding campaign. Twitter allows you to implement a #Hashtag strategy that provides your crowdfunding campaign with the ability to create an identification on the platform. This Hashtag identification enhances your campaigns ability to engage with the hundreds of millions of Twitter users on the platform who can become part of your audience. Using tweets, and retweets, as the sparks that ignite the interest of others, you’ll be able personalize your crowdfunding campaign, tell your story, and enlist the interest of others who share your goals.

Using Twitter To Tell Your Story

Twitter is a great place to engage with your audience and keep them up to date on all of your latest adventures, and it provides a fun, laid-back atmosphere–the perfect venue for building an interesting and dynamic brand. Storytelling is an essential aspect of any crowdfunding campaign. The goal is to create a campaign brand that resonates with your audience–and to do that, it is important that your brand tells a story. A flat, one-dimensional brand doesn’t give an audience any reason to pay attention. Telling your story and letting your brand evolve will naturally generate interest in your campaign brand.

Use Twitter to Engage

Twitter is a great place to engage with your audience and keep them up to date on all of your latest adventures. Twitter provides a fun, laid-back atmosphere, so it’s the perfect venue for building an interesting and dynamic brand.  Always allow your followers to be a part of your campaigns ongoing experience by letting your followers know what you are up to many times a day if it drives the campaign narrative.

Use Twitter to Build Relationships

Your Twitter profile should not be all business, and in fact, it is much easier for your audience to truly connect with you when they perceive you as a “real” person. Tweet about your family, your hobbies, your opinions…don’t be afraid to open up a bit. The more you share your life on Twitter, the better your audience will feel that they know you. And the more they know you, the more likely they are to support your campaign with dollars.

Engage Followers

The most overlooked concept when it comes to branding on Twitter is that interaction is critical. Too many business owners treat Twitter like a bulletin board–they log on a couple of times each week, post something, and then leave. But as you know from real-life experience, it is hard to connect with someone who won’t interact with you. Take the time to respond to your followers; your profile will become a much livelier and inviting place. And when your audience is paying attention, you can tell your story much more effectively.

Using Hashtags on Twitter

When developing the all-important Hashtag on Twitter make sure that you do some research on hashtags that will be relevant to yours and your campaign that will enhance your campaign’s visibility  which will foster a larger community and more re-tweets. When you send out tweets, don’t forget to “#” the words and phrases that are connected to your crowdfunding campaign so that people can find you. Make sure you are judicious in your use of the #tags to ensure that your messages don’t come across as spam.

Twitter Research Using Hashtags

Check out the rest of Twitter using hashtags to ensure a relevant search to find out if someone is involved in a similar project to yours. Then determine your role in that conversation. Should you join in or should you be the one to get the conversational? Their audience might be your audience. Make use of the connective tissue of Twitter hashtags to build a network of like-minded people, starting with the people you know. They may share some of your views; can you encourage them to share your vision?

Twitter and Transparency

Your followers need to understand why you’ve decided to launch this crowdfunding campaign. What do you intend to do with the money and the business you are launching. Let them know why you’re the one who can do it, and what happens when they help you achieve your goal. Let your voice be heard. Your Twitter followers need to feel that they know you, and they can best do that if you convey a personal sense of yourself. Don’t be afraid to stir things up in the Twitterverse through transparency and thought leadership make it personal and make it real for you and your followers. One way to excite and engage your followers is to ask questions. Questions are irresistible and people love to answer them.

The Power of the Retweet

Tweets with 100 characters or less are 17 percent more likely to get noticed than longer tweets. When tweeting be brief, succinct, and memorable. When using Twitter for crowdfunding remember your goal is to excite and engage your followers and to spread your campaign reach, so a couple of tips at the end of each tweet please ask your followers to “Please Retweet” spelling out “Please Retweet increases the retweet rate by a factor of 23 times. Always leave space for you @Username and the Please Retweet and leave 25 characters of free space at the end of each tweet.

Takeaway

Twitter is a dynamic and engaging mechanism for building your crowdfunding community that will support your campaign. Twitter provides a way to reach out, excite, engage and build a community with the ability to test and measure you success at the same time. Twitter also provides the ability to engage with influencers and bloggers. These people already have developed trust based transparent relationships with large numbers of people on Twitter and you can tap into that community through Influencer Marketing.  It is not easy to build the relationships once you do over time you will understand the power of influencers.

4 Steps to Building An Online Community Using Social Media for Crowdfunding

Introduction

Social media has become a ubiquitous mainstay in the lives of billions of global consumers and investors alike. Crowdfunding is driven by social media and this “revolution” has transformed the traditional funding and marketing monologue into a one-to-one and one-to-many dialogue that allows customers and investors to impact the business world like nothing in human history. This is the process I use to organically transform a crowd into an engaged community of backers and brand advocates using social media.

Targeted Outreach

The first step in the process of creating a community funders and brand advocates is to target the people that have a genuine interest in what your brand has to offer. Having a strategy where you are blasting out a general message to a general audience is not going to work as a community building strategy. The goal from the start has to be to create a targeted community organically and that will require sharing high-quality content that is useful and relevant specifically to the community you are targeting. People like to look at the number of likes and follows, but the most important button in social media is the share button. The more your content is shared, the more eyes see it.

Creating a Content Strategy

The true value in a content marketing strategy is to provide high-quality relevant and shareable content on a consistent basis. This is no easy task and will require the first organization of content production. This means using a content calendar to organize the workflow of research, writing, and commenting on other peoples blogs and social media sites. Social media can and will consume your time if you don’t have a plan and stick to it. I set aside time daily to engage my social media and comment as much as I can on the information that is of the highest value to me. This is done on a timed basis and when the time is up it is up. I set aside time for research and writing all of this is on the calendar and allows me to provide high-quality content on a consistent basis while building relationships.

Listening to Your Community

There are so many brands that implement 21st Century digital communication tools using 20th Century strategies and tactics. Social media is a dialogue one-to-one and one-to-many, so if I am always blasting out my message I am not listening to what is being said about the industry, my brand, and what problems need to be solved by the people that are willing to invest their precious time with me and my blog. If your blog solves the issues that the community is having people will invest in and share your content.

Engagement

Engagement is about gaining a level of emotional buy-in from the community that will create a willingness to invest time in your community. One of the best ways to get a person to truly invest in what you are offering is to provide them with something of value in exchange for their buy-in. Hubspot is a perfect example of providing a high-quality information in the form of e-books in exchange for information. Engagement is a two-way street as well. I remember when I began reading Crowd Clan’s blog I found the information to be high-quality and consistent, so not only would I comment on their post, but I would share this information with my network.

Content Curation for Crowdfunding

Introduction 

Creating compelling, engaging, and unique content on a daily basis is an extremely grueling and laborious task. This is where the imaginative and resourceful use of content curation is invaluable to a crowdfunding campaign.  What exactly is content curation and how does it relate to the content and inbound marketing strategy I am using to increase the reach and awareness of my crowdfunding campaign?

What is Content Curation

According to Wikipedia Content Curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. Services or people that implement content curation are called curators. Curation services can be used by businesses as well as end users. Using this definition we will explore ways crowdfunding campaigns can implement this strategy to drive traffic and build awareness.

Content Curation as a Tool

Content curation is a very powerful tool for crowdfunding campaigns that allows the campaign creator to create high-value content based on the ideas of influencers and thought leaders in your field, which adds tremendous value to your target audience while building relationships with key industry influencers that will more than likely notice that you have referenced them and their content.

Content Curation and Influencers

Content creation is a great tool for building trust with your target audience by allowing them to see that you are very aware of the industry and the influencers that are driving the thought leadership and that you are trying to be truly helpful in solving their pain points. Curating others content build trust by demonstrating that you are concerned with their issues and are not just self-promoting. So many crowdfunding campaigns use social media as a bullhorn and forget to be social.  Content curation provides an avenue to be social on social media which provides transparency in your campaign.

Building Trust with Content Curation

The goal of a crowdfunding campaign is to demonstrate that my product or service provides solutions for my target market and content creations provides an avenue for my campaign to show that I am addressing the needs of my target market and that I don’t know everything and I am willing to gather information from other credible sources. This helps to separate value from the noise and to become a trusted and authoritative voice in your industry.

Takeaway

Content curation is an extremely powerful tool for a crowdfunding campaign to build trust through transparency. It is a way to build brand awareness and reach while engaging industry influencers. It provides an avenue to produce compelling and engaging content that is relevant to the campaign without having to build it from scratch. If you want to learn more about crowdfunding please read our latest e-book Crowdfunding Essentials and sign up for our newsletter.

Marketing A Crowd Investing Campaign

Introduction

I remember my first introduction to crowdfunding when someone told me that if you shot a really cool video on this platform called Kickstarter that people would send money to fund your business. This statement has some level of truth, but not nearly enough to raise any funds. Crowd investing seems to follow the one simple rule of crowdfunding that I learned many years ago. “If you don’t build and excited and engaged crowd of investors, you won’t get the funding.”

Building an excited and engaged crowd will require unique messaging that will engage investors at the emotional level and then resonate with them enough to elicit an emotional response. Remember in today’s online world that moves at the speed of internet grabbing information is like taking a drink out of a fire hydrant, your campaign must quickly establish a unique brand voice that can cut through all of the fast paced noise and connect at an emotional level. Once this unique messaging voice is found your campaign will achieve its two major objectives increasing brand awareness and raising the capital for the campaign. If the emotional connection is not made the campaign may be dead on arrival.

Understand Your Target Audience

Like any other marketing endeavor you must do your research to garner an in-depth understanding of these two vital questions: Who is your audience? What are their needs or reasons to support you? A deep researched back answer to these two questions are the initial steps to creating the emotional connection spoken of earlier. The in-depth understanding of your potential supporters and catering to their needs, both with a quality product and impact storytelling will begin the journey to a successful capital raise.

Building this mystic emotional connection happens when you understand your audience, many time entrepreneurs, are not skilled at this, but must get it done to move their audience. You must have messaging that will have weight and depth. The message must provide something your audience can believe in, and build the level of emotional connection that inspires them to action.  

It’s in the Message

Your branded message must be unique, it must stand out from every other piece of content that is streaming out of the fire hydrant of the internet spewing tons of noise that mostly means nothing and is going nowhere fast. So what does this messaging look like and how do we get to this unique messaging that will resonate at the emotional level of our target audience? I always ask the question when trying to generate a unique message the will resonate:

  • Why is my product different than the competition?
  • How does it answer a need or desire for their lifestyle?
  • Is it user friendly?
  • What value does it provide to the end user to improve their life?

Providing high-quality images and videos that allow your target audience to visualize themselves as a satisfied customer. Providing them as deep of an understanding the product brings customer of always of value and provides  a visual emotional connection. A picture paints a thousand words.

A Simple Concise Message

Keep your message simple. Never overwhelming audiences with too much information! Remember the goal is to create a unique and emotionally engaging message. The more concise that message the better. If that concise messaging is in the from a cool hook even better your audience will repeat a catchy hook until it become a part of them. Try to create a simple, distilled description of your product always remember there are lots of other competing products, so you need to keep it very, very simple.

Remember as your target audience move further down the investment funnel you will add more in-depth information. Next, you must align your unique brand messaging with where your target audience is located You want to be careful and deliberate about picking your alignment, from the platform you choose, to the way you approach it, to the methods you use always building your email list. The email address invites you into their life like nothing else.  

Build a Powerful Online Brand

When building your online brand remember to begin this process long before you get to your platform of choice or you have failed before you have started the process. You will need to build a clear brand and associated message for your campaign early. A strong brand clearly and succinctly expresses what your company is all about. Strong brands cut through the noise to grab the audience and immediately shed light on the character of the product. Once hooked, the audience will naturally gravitate toward learning more. It’s not enough to have an idea in a huge market. The key to what gets funded is how you connect this market to the idea that satisfies it.

Takeaway

The equity crowdfunding industry is changing fast, so being able to pivot and adapt as the marketplace shifts is imperative. Remember Equity crowdfunding was meant to spur innovation and growth, while providing Main Street investors with a means to access high growth companies. It is certainly not an untapped source where everyday web users are patiently waiting to visit an online investment opportunity. Be prepared, be proactive, and remain top of mind, and maybe the idea hatched in your own home will one day be listed on a major U.S. stock exchange.

Please visit the Buy The Block website to sign up for this historical opportunity to be become a BlockVestor or Block Developer and own your piece of your community @ http://bit.ly/2zbAmzv  

3 Ways Use Twitter Search for Crowdfunding

Introduction

Twitter is an incredible discovery tool that provides an array of industry information for companies that are in the pre-launch phase of their crowdfunding campaign, and Twitter Search is the best place to begin the process. Twitter Search provides a great starting point for competitor analysis, influencer search, and industry news.

Influencers/Bloggers

Find out who the influencers and experts are in your target area(s) and interact with them on a regular basis. Use Twitter search to find like-minded prospects, customers, and influencers/media by searching keywords that relate to your industry. Follow and interact with them on a daily basis. Here are some quick tips we use:

1) Make a list of the 100 most influential people in your space — journalists, thought leaders, potential clients/customers, big-name bloggers and writers, potential partners.

2) Add them to a private Twitter list and engage with them daily by being casual and helpful, not promotional.

3) The goal is to build a real relationship and then look for opportunities to collaborate.

Keywords

Here are some tips for beginning the process of analyzing what the competition is doing on Twitter without spending a lot of cash on expensive software.Your competitor analysis must start with a keyword analysis list. This list of keywords associated with your competitors will help you cut down on the noise on Twitter.

1) Develop a list of 10-20 keywords initially, and adding or subtracting as you go.

2) Include obvious ones, like your competitor’s name, products, and any major individuals/employees you want to keep tabs on.

3) Also include keywords more broadly associated with your industry, and any specialty words like hashtags that are related to your competition.

Takeaway

No matter what line of work you’re in, it’s important to always be looking for new opportunities to grow and make improvements. In this fast paced always connected world we live in having access to a fast moving news feed is vital and Twitter provides that service. Whatever topic is on the top of your to-do list, Twitter search can help you locate and then expose you to a vast array of news and informational resources. the steps in this process are going to be very similar to finding information on a competitor, but the search will be for industry news.

 

How To Create A Strong Brand Identity For Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Introduction

In today’s digital driven world before someone chooses to work with you, they spend time searching for you online, looking at your website and your social media, seeing what they can find out about you before they purchase. This is one of the reasons why creating a strong brand identity for your crowdfunding campaign is vital. If they’re looking, then you need to make sure that what they find is what you want them to see.

Of course, this isn’t all down to your brand identity – visuals are very important and tell a lot of the story, but you’ll need to think about how you come across in your messaging and also what people say about you. Before you can think about any of this it’s important to spend some time working out what it is that makes your crowdfunding campaign unique and what you want your brand identity to say about you.

Steps in the Process

Once you know what you do, you need to consider who you do it for. You might even have nailed that part when you were thinking about what you do! Now – how specific can you get? The idea here is to imagine your ideal client, give them a name and find out as much as you can about them. What do they read? What do they like to do during their spare time? Where do they shop? What do they watch? What car do they drive?

  • Ask them. If you already have questions then ask them in person, pick up the phone or send out a survey. See what you can pick up from conversations. If you make friends with them on Facebook check out their profiles and see who they are and what they like to do.
  • Check out your social media analytics. You can do this on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and it can be really eye opening to see who is following you – and then to see if it’s the result you’re after! Don’t forget to check out your Google Analytics too.

Think about your business and what you believe it should be. These are the beliefs of your brand. What is it that you want people to think of when they think of your business. So grab a pen and write whatever comes to mind. These are things like “professional, friendly, quality, experienced…” but do try and come up with something different, because they are the kind of values that EVERYONE has.

What makes YOU stand out? This might sound like a really easy exercise, but it’s not – it takes time to come up with the right words, and I believe that it’s time well spent because once you have your words you’ll be able to use them to influence everything that you do. These are really crucial.You need three to five values (which can be phrases as well as just words).

Once you have your values you can spend some time thinking about each way that you interact with your customers and work out how you can communicate at least one of your values at each touchpoint, so that your brand is permeating everything you do.  Now that you’ve considered these things – and hopefully a few more questions too – you can work on creating a strong brand identity online.

Your logo. You need to be happy with your logo – if it doesn’t fit with your values and won’t appeal to your audience then consider finding a designer to tweak it or create a new one. Then ensure that you use it in all the right places. I actually don’t think that you need to use your logo every single time you put some content out there – as long as you are using part of your brand identity the whole point of creating a strong brand identity is that your business should still be identifiable without your logo. BUT – it’s not a bad idea to include it if you can, and as we’re talking about online here that shouldn’t be hard and adding your website address wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Your brand colors. You’ll need to choose colors for your business which – you may have guessed this – communicate your values and appeal to your audience. Shocker. There are only 11 basic color terms although there are of course millions of colors, so honing down your color is the easy bit. Determining which shade is harder. Spend some time on this, it’ll be worth it. Then make sure you have a file with your color codes handy.

Typeface. Just as each color has a different meaning, each typeface will give out a different impression, so once again spend some time deciding which typeface you want to use for your crowdfunding campaign. I’d recommend going with something really clear for your main typeface.

You’ll need to think about the different uses you’ll have for text. You need text for the main text on my website, and text for my social media images, the images I use on my website in the sidebar and for my blog posts. I only use two typefaces, but you might think that you need more. Then you can set some rules about them – what colors you’ll use them in, what sizes, italic, bold – make some decisions and stick to them.

Your images. Now, it can be very hard to create images which look exactly the same style every time. But you can try. Even if you can’t quite manage to get the lighting the same or photograph everything with the horizon at the exact same angle, there are certain things you CAN do to help your imagery look consistent and on the brand.

  • You could include one of your brand colors in each image. You could have a mascot in each image.
  • You could always have a similar layout for a certain type of image.
  • You could use the same filter each time – Color Story is an app you can use where you can create your own filter and use it on all of your photos to help them have a similar feel.

Pattern. This is something else you could add to your images of course – and it’s a great way to have a background image for text with very little thought whilst ensuring you’re on the brand. The pattern can also be handy for use where there’s white space and you want to make it more interesting, for backgrounds, for headers on social media such as on your LinkedIn profile and anytime you need an image but just don’t have one.

Takeaway

Once you have all of this in place you’ll find being consistent with your brand identity will be fairly easy. Making decisions before you start and gathering a library of images to use means you don’t need to think too hard about how to create your social media images and blog posts – which you’ll be making regularly – and gives you a great place to start for anything you need to create for your website – or indeed anything that you need to design for offline use.

Making sure that you don’t deviate from the decisions you’ve made and keep to the guidelines you’ve set yourself will help your business to stand out online. You’ll have a brand identity which shows up over and over again with images that people know to be yours before they notice the URL or the logo you’ve added in the corner. Being consistent with all of this will help your brand be memorable – which is what we all want really isn’t it? So that when someone needs what you do, they remember you right away.

6 Benefits of Crowdfunding Besides the Funds

Introduction 

We are going to talk about the benefits of crowdfunding besides the funding, but the other 6 business benefits. Crowdfunding is an incredible business tool that provides many benefits to any business that puts them into action. It’s not all about the money. Yes, the money might be the driving factor behind your campaign, but you stand to gain a whole lot more from crowdfunding. Here’s our quick rundown of the 10 (yes, ten) BIG benefits of crowdfunding:

1) Market Research

Crowdfunding is the perfect tool for very low-cost market research. Social media is a one-to-many communication channel, but it also provides a many-to-one dialogue. This dialogue capability provides a platform to receive feedback that can provide answers to many questions that can save you both time and money. The crowd will provide an answer- yes, no, or not right now. They can provide many insights for product development. A successful campaign can help you gauge size of the potential market for the product.   

2) Focus Group Like Product Feedback

If you have taken the time to properly engage and excite your crowd then you have built a level of trust that will provide much-needed focus group like feedback. Your crowd will tell you what they like about your product and share their ideas for improvement. Your crowd will invest in your story (emotionally and financially). Your crowd will be so much more than just another customer; they will consider themselves a part of your project. Take pride in your success and are much more likely to get involved in helping spread the word than a traditional consumer. This is the unseen value of an excited and engaged crowd.  This is why it is vital to take the time to build a trust based relationship with your crowd.

3) Pre-orders

Your crowdfunding campaign should become a pre-selling machine for your product or concept that is driven by your engaged and excited crowd. The number of pre-orders will provide some insight into the size of the market. Your Crowdfunding campaign is a place to sell a product or concept before you’ve brought it to market and this process allows you to start production with little or no financial risk. For many people, this is the major benefit of crowdfunding.  

4) Crowdfunding Provides High-Energy Promotion

Crowdfunding requires a concentrated high-energy marketing, promotion, and public relations blitz. Full-out marketing and promotional blitz from the safety and corners to the linebackers. Once the pre-launch begins it is a nonstop march to the final day of the campaign. During this 3-6 month period, you become the number one cheerleader for you campaign beginning with your closest family and friends to your social media activities to build an email list to the media that has the ability to push your story out to millions.  

5) Loyal Brand Advocates

There’s no question about it; crowdfunding builds you a team of loyal customers, but these customers are so much more. They are brand advocates that will shout from the highest mountain about the good thing they have found. They are part of your success and as such the revel in the growth of your brand. They will buy your latest product, respond to your surveys, push out your latest social media or blog post and smile the entire time and this is a benefit of a well organized and implemented crowdfunding campaign.

6) New Partnerships and Relationships

You’re not just targeting backers and the media. Create a buzz around your crowdfunding campaign, and you could draw out potential partners and investors as well. Don’t underestimate the power of a professional network to bring benefits. One campaign did not reach its goal, but an investor found the product and made the engineer a deal that he could not refuse. Optimize your crowdfunding campaign to attract new partners by ensuring your campaign is literate and includes testimonials from people you’re already working.

Takeaway

There are far reaching benefits to a well organized and implemented crowdfunding campaign as illustrated above. On top of the benefits mentioned in the post, there is, of course, the rewards of the successfully funded campaign which will provide many backers that will result in a large database of highly targeted customers brand advocates.

 

5 Steps to a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

The Numbers Behind Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is democratizing the access to capital and with all the encouraging news stories, every inventor, creator, engineer, and startup would want to launch a crowdfunding campaign today to fund the next big thing since sliced bread. Kickstarter, the New York City-based crowdfunding platform saw 37 percent of its campaigns reach their fundraising goals in 2017, according to a report. That’s the highest success rate among the five crowdfunding platforms included in the study.  

The High Failure Rate of Crowdfunding Campaigns

Twenty-six percent of crowdfunding campaigns on Vancouver, Canada-based FundRazr met their goals in 2016, and a dismal  13 percent fully-funded success rate for San Francisco based Indiegogo. These numbers smack in the face of what the press is reporting about the crowdfunding industry as a place to make easy money for your startup.

Crowdfunding The Real Story

This is what the press is not reporting the amount of time, energy, marketing savvy, and work it takes to build an engaged and excited crowd of backers to complete a successful crowdfunding campaign. The pre-launch, a 3-6 month preparation stage before the launch of the campaign is crucial. After years of working on crowdfunding campaigns in many different facets, I have learned this one fundamental rule: Crowdfunding is a compound word and if you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd before the launch of your campaign you will not get the funding your desire.  

Implementing The Pre-Launch Strategy

There are many steps to creating a pre-launch strategy and the first step is to create a budget and a timeline. So many people head into crowdfunding campaigns with little knowledge of the cost of both time and capital that this 3-6 month process will entail. Always begin the with a timeline that realistically documents the task, the team member responsible for completing the task, and the time frame that task will be completed. This will be the driving force for staying on track while moving along this very labor and time intensive journey called a crowdfunding campaign.    

These are the steps that must be completed during the pre-launch phase of the campaign.

  1. Create consistent messaging and branding – Every company has a brand, whether they make it a priority or not. A brand is what people think about your product and the impressions they have when hearing or seeing your name. In most cases, your brand is reflected initially in your logo, and then supported by your messaging. These experiences influence attitudes and opinions about your company, product, or service. A good brand is built over time and requires thought, strategy, and consistent implementation.
  2. Leverage your social capital –  from the inside out to ensure 30% of the funding goal is guaranteed by friends, family and anyone else you can line up to make a financial contribution to your campaign on the day it launches. If you can raise 30% in the first couple of days of your campaign, you significantly increase your chances of reaching your goal.
  3. Build an email list –  Your email list is the lifeblood of your crowdfunding campaign. The more emails you have the better and using social media like Twitter and Facebook ads to drive traffic to a landing page to collect email address is vital. Services like MailChimp allow you to send out emails and drive traffic to your campaign page when it launches.
  4. Build your crowd using Social Media –  that is large enough so you can tap into not only for financial support but also to share your campaign with their followers. Twitter is the most active social network in the crowdfunding sphere. Depending on your funding goal and how many followers you currently have, this process can take several months. The goal is to identify and connect with relevant supporters and build a targeted audience.

Run a Press Release –  Create a press release through a service like Press Release distribution and high impact media lists. To make your campaign look attractive to journalists, do not send your press release or contact media before you have reached the 30% funding milestone. Journalists don’t just write about campaigns so they become successful, they write about successful campaigns in the making.

The Benefits of Blogging for Crowdfunding

Introduction

Using a modified inbound marketing strategy to drive traffic to your campaign website is the number one method of making your website a valuable marketing asset. The more pages your website has, the more chances you have to rank in search engines. Every time you post a new blog post on your website, you have a new web page on your website, and it’s all housed under your blog so your website doesn’t get cluttered with pages.

The New Marketing

Digital technology is driving a new wave of marketing that according to Hubspot by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their sales relationships without talking to a human.

More and more people are asking search engines to find them the services and products looking for. They’re looking up reviews, watching videos, and building discussions to find the answers they’re looking for before committing to a certain product or service.One of the easiest ways for potential new customers to learn about you is through your blog. Look to answer the questions they’re asking, address their concerns, and provide them with reliable information about your product/service/industry. The trust you build there will be indispensable in generating new customers.

Blogs add a Human Touch

Blogs, by nature, have a personal touch to them. For this reason, they’re a trusted source of information. Your blog serves as a great opportunity to extend your brand and showcase your personality. Usually, when typing in a question to a search engine, the first results to come up are blog posts. If you can consistently provide value and answers the questions your personas are asking, you’ll find it easier to rank on the first (or first few) pages of a search engine.

Blogs are the Marketing Workhorse

Your blog posts are working for you 24/7. Once they’re up on your site, they’ll work for you until you decide it’s time to take them down. By putting out valuable and targeted content, you can easily raise your exposure (organic traffic) and leads. Even your older blogs can get you noticed if they’re relevant and answering a question many visitors are searching for. Make sure you’re constantly updating older blogs so they continue to bring in the high-quality traffic.

Add Value to Readers

Producing reliable, insightful industry news to your visitors pays off. Not only will it increase your reputability, it will also increase your inbound links. Other websites want to seem helpful and credible as well and will share your content to do so. This will send their visitors to your site and gives you an opportunity to build your own relationship with them.

Takeaways

Business blogging is a low-cost way to create opportunities to get your website found by the people that you want to find it, so you can generate new leads and customers for your business. If you’re looking to start a business blog or get more investment for the one you’ve already started, the statistics above are a great place to start arguing your case.

 

Don’t Launch Your Crowdfunding Campaign Until You Build A Crowd!

Introduction

I usually don’t write from the personal perspective, but today, I am going to do something different. I was reading a blog post from CrowdfundBetter.com entitled The Real Reason Your Crowdfunding Campaign Is Failing and it jarred a memory in me that I normally bring a smile to my face as I tell the story of the events that led to my career in the crowdfunding industry. Today I laugh when reminded of the 2011 events that led me to crowdfunding.  My son and were venturing into the digital marketing and online video marketing space and we were working with a program operated by Louisville Metro called CAP.

The Importance of the Crowd

The director of CAP approached us with a novel concept called Kickstarter, and said, “ that if we shot some really cool videos people would send us money.” Well, I was game, so we reserved the basement conference room in the Downtown branch Louisville Free Library and we shot 8 “really cool videos” and no one sent any money to fund these businesses. I was perplexed because I trusted the judgment of the CAP director. I decided to research this new funding concept for myself. I became consumed with crowdfunding and its possibilities to transform economies by solving the age-old startup and business expansion question of access to capital. But as I continued to research and participate in this nascent industry one of the things I discovered early was the importance of the crowd.

The Power of the Crowd

I discovered that crowdfunding is a unique and innovative marketing tool that provides research, promotion, and engagement, which are essential for any business. Crowdfunding, through digital marketing platforms, provides access for creators to promote and engage with community members in an unreserved relationship. Crowdfunding, as a marketing tool, is invaluable to any brand as a way to create social media-driven communities that link their current customers, new customers, new product launches, product development, product testing, customer service, while increasing brand reach, and brand awareness. Crowdfunding has one fundamental rule and that is if you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd you will not receive the desired funding.

Building the Crowd is Vital

This newly found information sent me on a quest to educate the crowdfunding industry of this simple fact. The stated mission of my company is to build a crowd for the purpose of crowdfunding. 2017 finds crowdfunding to be a global industry that has raised billions of dollars and Kickstarter has produced multi-million dollar campaigns, Facebook and Twitter ads have changed the way creators are able to promote their campaigns, but there is still one fundamental in crowdfunding. Building the crowd before you launch is vital for a success. I had to be reminded of this by the blog post referenced earlier what my true mission is in the crowdfunding industry is.

I once consulted with a woman that paid me to provide my insights and information based on my experience in the crowdfunding industry. We spoke for hours over a few days and I insisted on her taking the time build an excited and engaged crowd. According to Kickstarter, 14% of projects finish not having received a single pledge. This figure always given me pause considering, Facebook has surpassed the 2 Billion daily user milestone.

Takeaway

As a crowdfunding consultant that has been around the industry for a while and has managed, consulted, and assisted on more than a few successful crowdfunding campaigns I feel that it is my mission to educate people on the importance of building a crowd and educating them on how I go about that process. As an industry, crowdfunding must expand the pool of backers and retail crowd investors to grow the industry into the marketing and funding juggernaut it should be.

Data Driven Crowdfunding Campaigns

Introduction

If you are a creator planning to use crowdfunding, it’s important to know what to expect.  A big part of setting expectations for yourself and your team is knowing and understanding crowdfunding metrics. I encounter many people daily that are searching for funding for their business, but they don’t understand the numbers behind what it takes to run a successful crowdfunding campaign and what the realities of crowdfunding outcomes are. My goal is to use data collected from many sources to put crowdfunding into better perspective and understand what it takes to launch and manage a campaign and the realities of crowdfunding campaign outcomes by the numbers.

I was introduced to a former fortune 500 company executive that want to start their own business. They had an in-depth understanding of business and the numbers from 20 years of corporate experience. Our first meeting the budget was laid out and ready to move forward. One of the best most thought out plans I had ever encountered from a creator. The ask was almost $200 thousand and there was practically no crowd built on social media or a large email list for the project. Managing expectations was the first step in this process. So many people come to the crowdfunding world with the unrealistic expectation of what crowdfunding is and what it can do for a startup. Kickstarter has a tap on their website where the constantly post and update the data of crowdfunding.

Analyzing the Data

We took a look at the real outcomes of crowdfunding on Kickstarter as a whole and then we drilled down on the specific industry and we decided on a realistic goal based on the data point of Kickstarter.  Of the 131,535 successful Kickstarter campaigns the 73,801 fell between $1,000 and $9,999, and if you combined all other funding categories the total was 5,7734 the total was 16,067 less successful campaigns. There is a sweet spot for Kickstarter campaigns based on the data.

Crowdfunding Math

A basic way to calculate a marketing budget. Say that a campaign has a fundraising goal of $300,000 and the average perk of $50. This means that 6000 perks need to be sold at $50 to hit the goal. An average marketing campaign, regardless of whether its social media, PR, email marketing, re-targeting, etc., has a typical click through rate to a campaign of 3%. Of the 3%, 1/2 to 1% actually convert and make a donation you need to reach 20,000,000 target customers in order to drive 3% (600,000 visitors) to a campaign URL with a conversion rate of 1% (6000 donors) to purchase a product $50 to hit a $300,000 goal.

Takeaway

Crowdfunding is a data analysis game that requires research into the numbers and understanding the process of successful campaigns and avoiding the mistakes of the failed campaigns. Make sure that your decisions are based on the best data available and do your research before you launch your campaign. 

Putting The Crowd in Crowdfunding

Introduction

Is Crowdfunding no more than persuading individuals to each give you a small donation $10, $50, $100, maybe more. Once you get thousands of donors, you have some serious cash on hand. Driven by the proliferation of social media platforms nonprofits, artists, musicians — and yes, businesses — are able to raise funds. Crowdfunding has been growing at an incredible clip since 2009 and there have been billions of dollars crowdfunded during this time period. I always tell people that crowdfunding has one fundamental rule: If you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd then you won’t get the funding that you desire. The next logical question would be how do you build an engaged and excited crowd to fund your project.

Building the Crowd

Crowdfunding can create a powerful marketing and funding chain that moves from reward to equity to an IPO on-ramp to take the company public. Crowdfunding is creating an entirely new path to funding that is completely customer focused. These are the 4 basic step that I begin the process of identifying and engaging people to build an excited and engaged crowd:

  1. Research Similar Crowdfunding Campaigns
  2. Define your target audience
  3. Develop a narrative and video
  4. Fund a project yourself to experience the process  

Understanding the Funding Cycle

List all the campaigns (both successful and not successful ones). Contact the manager and ask about activities that worked best/worst. Open Kicktraq.com, paste the URLs and review their funding curves. If most of the funding occurred in the beginning, it means most came most from their own network. More stable curve means there are interested backers from the platform.

Understanding Your Crowd

Conduct a survey on your Facebook Page and share it on social media. Ask about the problem you are trying to solve. You will gather invaluable info about your audience and most importantly their email addresses. Estimate what the key problems and pain points your audience is experiencing. Engage with them and provide as much value as you can. In a couple of months, you will have a strong community of targeted people who will help you get your early seeding as they fall into their role as brand advocates. Now you have defined your audience now segment them according to demographic data.

Who is the Creator

Be able, to sum up not just your campaign but yourself as well, using the ‘elevator pitch’ approach. Make it personal and authentic. Build both your campaign and personal story. It is just as much you as your product that they are investing their hard earned money.  Some things to include in your few-sentence bio:

  • your professional experience
  • where you’re from
  • why this is important to you
  • your passions and hobbies
  • how you got to where you are today
  • what you’re working on next.

Takeaway

The last but, maybe most important action is to participate in a campaign as a backer or funder. This experience is something that you can’t read about. Participating in a campaign is a unique experience that will help you craft your own campaign. Traditionally, you’d spend months sifting through your personal network, vetting potential investors, and spending your own time and money to get in front of them. Crowdfunding provides a much more linear path to get in front of the most interested parties and give them more ways to help grow your business, from investing thousands in exchange for equity to contributing $20 in exchange for a first-run product or reward. This is an experience I recommend to everyone that is thinking of creating a campaign.

Crowdfunding Acts as Fertilizer to the Economy

Introduction

Crowdfunding is a method of raising capital through the collective effort of friends, family, customers, and individual investors. This approach taps into the collective efforts of a large pool of individuals—primarily online via social media and crowdfunding platforms—and leverages their networks for greater reach and exposure.

Crowdfunding is a Change Agent

Crowdfunding has helped more than a million startups raise over $3.2 Billion, and is revolutionizing the way small businesses find the capital they need to grow. Crowdfunding provides a tool kit for fundraising success for entrepreneurs that has the ability to level the playing field in the world of capital formation.

Crowdfunding is Growing Rapidly

By 2016 the crowdfunding industry accounted for more funding than venture capital, according to a recent report by Massolution. Just five years ago there was a relatively small market of early adopters crowdfunding online to the tune of a reported $880 million in 2010. Fast forward to today and we saw $16 billion crowdfunded in 2014, with 2015 estimated to grow to over $34 billion. In comparison, the VC industry invests an average of $30 billion each year.

Crowdfunding Acts as Fertilizer to the Economy

Startups and small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and innovation across the globe. They create jobs, new products, dreams, and disruption. They are led by entrepreneurs who work hard to bring their ideas to life. Often overshadowed by failure, they persist and can change the world. We feel that entrepreneurs are heroes that need to be celebrated, and more importantly, supported by a community of fellow founders. It would be great if the process were easy, but it’s not. We’d like to help change that.

Takeaway

So whether you are crowdfunding for equity or rewards, there are a plethora of advantages in using the crowd. Even for campaigns that do not achieve their goals, you will still walk away with something of value, whether that is experience, market data, or a renewed ambition. The main point of this post is it’s important not to lose sight of what supporters have to offer and the power of the crowd. These are some of the marketing benefits of crowdfunding and if you work your campaign effectively, you will benefit in a number of other ways, all vital to help you grow your business in the future.

Alternative Finance for Underserved Communities of Color

Introduction

We are acutely aware that most small businesses and startups struggle to get access to capital and underserved communities of color receive extremely small amounts of funding from traditional funding sources. So, instead of protesting and complaining maybe small businesses and small real estate developer should begin to implement different methods of finding and deploying capital. We are going talk about 6 different types of investing alternatives that are on the cutting edge of new capital formation for underserved communities of color.

Local Investment Clubs

A traditional investment club is a small group of individual investors who come together to learn, share investing experiences and help each other become more successful investors. Clubs provide education, camaraderie and buying power, plus the confidence of knowing you don’t have to go it alone. Clubs can also choose not to pool investment dollars and instead simply come together to discuss stock ideas and analysis.

Local investment clubs will have a focus on investing in local businesses and real estate development in underserved communities using crowdinvesting to allow the club members the ultimate reward derived from  local crowdinvesting to be owner, customer and brand advocate all at the same time. Again this away to build wealth in underserved communities.

Impact Investing From Corporate and Philanthropic Foundations

“Philanthropy is commendable,” said Martin Luther King, “but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice, which make philanthropy necessary.” Philanthropists and philanthropic advisors who champion equality must work to shift from a framework that grounds giving in “charity” to one that grounds giving in “justice.”                  

Dr. Dorian Burton

As mentioned in the above section making local place based investments makes a lot of sense for investors because the benefits that locavesting bring to both the investor and the community where they live. So let’s take the next logical step and examine why more philanthropic and corporate foundations don’t look to the local market to make impact investments along with the tiny percentage of their endowment that they make grants.

So many of the problems and issues that plague inner-city communities are poverty based and many of them stem from government policies such as redlining. If foundations change their relationships in these communities from charity and began the process of providing location based impact investment into these communities to fund local businesses, real estate development, and wealth building initiatives based on market principles a lot of the poverty based issues would be eliminated.  

Rewards Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a new and evolving fundraising alternative that connects social media with an accounting and finance mechanism to aggregate capital on a single platform. Crowdfunding provides a platform for entrepreneurs reach out to the “crowd”—which could include their friends, customers, neighbors, supporters and social network—for funding. The idea is that lots of smaller sums of money can take the place of one or two large investors or patrons, and that technology can help streamline the process.

Crowdinvesting

Crowdinvesting is the truly revolutionary centerpiece of the JOBS Act. It became legal on May 16th 2016. Crowdinvesting provides a platform for   small real estate developers and small companies to raise money from the general public—wealthy, not wealthy, friend or stranger—as long as the investment takes place on a web site operated by a traditional broker-dealer or an S.E.C.-sanctioned crowdfunding portal, and certain other requirements are met.

Specifically, the law allows companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period from the public. Investors are capped at the greater of $2,000 or 5% of their income, if their annual income or net worth is less than $100,000. The final rules also impose a limit on how much those with an income or net worth greater than $100,000 can make: they are limited to $10,000 per year or 10% of their income or net worth.

Takeaway

There are many new and emerging forms of alternative finance that provides the democratization of capital in under capitalized communities of color. Many of the communities find themselves to be isolated in urban centers and are areas of concentrated poverty. These area of concentrated poverty tend to be places that lack hope and many residents become trapped in the despair and hopelessness of the environment. But just like policy created these communities policy and the commitment of investors that want to see their communities changed are able to use their dollars to vote!

Use Facebook to Create an Email List for your Crowdfunding Campaign

Introduction

Email marketing continues to be a strong method digital marketers use to inform, educate and push information to opt-in recipients. Email subscribers convert at almost 4 times the rate of Facebook followers for crowdfunding campaigns. It is a universally used tool that everyone sits down to check at work or home. Your email marketing will generate the highest return on investment (ROI) when you take the time to build and maintain an engaged subscriber list.  We use MailChimp lists they have built-in tools to enhance the process of list building, maintenance, and reporting as you build your crowdfunding campaign.

Email Marketing

Email serves as one leg of a three-legged marketing tool along with a blog and social media to drive our crowdfunding campaigns. Within this three-pronged strategy, email is the distribution mechanism, while a blog is the content center and social media is the conversation mechanism. When new content is posted on a blog, email can be a method of distributing notice of the new article, while social media offers a conversation mechanism for users to talk about the content. Our email list is the foundational marketing piece. It’s a jewel of great value containing the names and direct contact method of customers and would-be customers that enable us to “get in front of” these people regularly. They have invited us into their lives through their inbox.

The Facebook Advantage

Keep in mind that Facebook ads should not be the entirety of your strategy to grow your email list. Instead, it should be one aspect of a larger crowdfunding marketing and promotion strategy. So maybe you use Facebook ads to get in front of new fans, but you also have an email form on your Facebook page as well as your website where you offer things like free downloadables and early access in exchange for an email address.

The Facebook ads will be targeting people who may have never heard of you before, but are inclined to like your product based on their interests. Having forms on your website will target current fans who already know about you and want to go deeper. Both are necessary for an effective email strategy to enhance and support your crowdfunding campaign.

Facebook Targeting

When targeting Facebook users for an ad campaign, you should aim to reach people who are interested in products similar to yours. To do this, you need to find out what your current fans like about your product.   One easy way to figure this out is by looking at your similar campaign pages on crowdfunding platforms. These similar campaigns should already be in your crowdfunding marketing plan. You could also post a simple message on Facebook asking your fans to comment on your product or even run a poll to increase engagement.

The Value of A/B Testing

When targeting your ads on Facebook, it’s a good idea to have at least 2 ads running at a time, each with a different audience to provide A/B Testing to drill down on a message that will resonate best with the target market.  After each of these ads run for a few days, continue with the one that’s performing best, and replace the one that’s performing worse with a different targeting set. This process is known as A/B testing and can help you make the most of your online ad budget.

Formatting Your Ad

Another thing you want to test with your ad is the format.  With Facebook Lead Ads, you can use images or videos and have a number of choices for a call to action. As mentioned above with targeting, you also want to A/B test your format and call to action. Test multiple combinations of ad formats and value propositions to see what converts best. When using digital marketing always test, measure, tweak and retest.

Takeaway

Email provides 53 percent of backers for crowdfunding campaigns while Facebook fans only provide only 12 percent of backers, so building a segmented email list is of considerably more value to any crowdfunding campaign. Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to segment and reach the target market that you desire to reach. Working these strategies in tandem will produce the results that you are looking for from your crowdfunding campaign.  

Facebook Marketing For Crowdfunding

Introduction

Once you have set your goals, you should create a plan and then implement the plan and achieve the stated goals. A Key part of that plan is determining the correct mix of content. I recommend using the 80-20 rule. The 80-20 rule separates your content dissemination along these lines. 80 percent of your Facebook ads will use the post to inform, educate, and entertain and the remaining 20 percent will be used to directly promote your Crowdfunding campaign.

The Importance of Engagement

Remember using Facebook for crowdfunding is all about building transparent trust-based relationships, so don’t constantly pitch your campaign you will not be able to build trust successfully using this type of posting strategy. One thing that I always recommend. Write a post that will encourage engagement. Post your statement in the form of a question to elicit engagement and feedback. Remember, if you produce enough valuable and relevant content to keep your followers engaged, they will be open to learning about your crowdfunding campaign in the remaining 20 percent of post that provides more sales-focused messaging.

 

Don’t Try to Sell

The key takeaway from this message is to provide more engaging content than promotional material to keep your followers interested and engaged with your Facebook page and ultimately your crowdfunding campaign. The Facebook dreaded, and constantly changing algorithms will always penalize crowdfunding campaigns that post too many sales and campaign promotion materials. Even though this strategy seems counterintuitive it works!

Optimal Post Times

The final part of your plan is to determine when and how often to post. Even though the algorithm means posts don’t appear in chronological order, you will have the best chance of making it to the top of the heap if you post when your audience is most active on Facebook. According to Fast Company, the best time to post to Facebook are 1-4 p.m. and the peak time is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Overall, Fast Company says that the worst time to post is after 8 p.m. on weekends. Finding your optimal time will require trial and error to precisely determine the time that works specifically for your audience.  One of the best tools I find it to gather information from a careful study of your Page Insights.

The Value of Blogging for Your Crowdfunding Campaign

Introduction

Blogging is a great tool to connect and share information with your crowd on a regular basis. By a regular basis, I mean that they can expect to read a new blog post every Friday at 1:00 pm Eastern Time. Never has it been easier to share your experience and expertise in such a direct and concise manner. Writing a blog is a perfect platform to strengthen the connection between you as a professional and your audience, customers, and colleagues. Besides the obvious benefits for a business such as driving traffic to your website and SEO, there are many reasons why blogging is essential to every crowdfunding campaign during the prelaunch period.

Audience Connection

Blogging provides a great way to connect with your audience and help them to get to know you and what your campaign is about and how your product can impact their lives. This helps to build trust, as you become a source of expertise in your field. Consumers like to be informed, and appreciate any knowledge that can be shared with them in a quick and time effective manner. Blogging is also a great platform to receive feedback and engage in dialogue with your customers and audience, helping both you and your audience grow.

Demonstrating Thought Leadership

The best blogs share expertise that is concise and extremely informative. If you have an expert opinion and product for crowdfunding, a blog is a great way to expose your views to the world. When you consistently create content that’s helpful for your audience, it establishes you as an authority in your field. Once you are seen as an authority clients will come to you for all their needs related to your niche and learn more about your product in the case of a crowdfunding campaign. Your blog is a powerful tool to add value to their lives and build trust between you and your audience for your the future launch of your crowdfunding campaign.

Reaching New Customer for your Campaign

Writing blogs is a great way to reach new customers. Potential customers will stumble upon your blog and get an insight into what you and your crowdfunding campaign are all about, and the value you can provide. A blog can easily be shared through social media, quickly exposing your knowledge to the world. Linking back to your website is an obvious way to get new customers to link back to you potentially opening you up to a new relationship with them.

Takeaway

Blogging is a tool like many others that it is used for marketing, but it is more than that because people can look to you as being knowledgeable about the information that you blog about. The importance of blogging for a crowdfunding campaign cannot be stressed enough in today’s marketplace. Along with the other tools that are available such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, incorporating a blog site that gives your audience information that is useful will help you have your crowdfunding campaign growing in no time.

TOP 5 BLACK -OWNED HOME DECOR AND FURNITURE

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TOP 5 BLACK -OWNED HOME DECOR AND FURNITURE STORES 

Looking for  home decor and furniture near you, preferably from a Black-Owned business? There are plenty to choose from. If you are looking for custom furniture & help with room plans & design, come visit these companies first, who knows, you may find what you are looking for.  You’ll love the price and quality.

#1 Harmony Designs Furniture & Interior located 115 SOUTH 4TH AVE  MT. VERNON NY 10550; PH: 914-699-0809

#2 Home Beautiful Decor located Address: 502 W Kearney St #200, Mesquite, TX 75149; PH:(972) 288-0705

#3 Ali Sandifer Studio located in Detriot, MI. Design is our passion and craft is our medium. Ali Sandifer is a design studio and workshop with a particular fondness for furniture. Our work is born from a simple belief that design, material, and craft must work together to achieve intelligence, beauty, and longevity.

#4 Lakay Deisgns located in Miami, FL & OH. Home is home, and all areas of the home must be ‘home’ to the occupants.  Lakay Designs Home Decor, a first of its kind African Decor Business, which specializes in using African Prints and Designs for home and business.  Nothing however can make any home attractive except the unique decor of the home.

#5 Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles located 832 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130; PH:(215) 546-9616 Secondhand furniture & decor, with sales supporting the African People’s Education and Defense Fund.

So, next time you’re looking for home decor, accessories and furniture; look for the small business owner who happens to be black.

Let’s continue to make this movement for #2millionjobs on #eachandeveryfriday grow. Don’t you think our youth deserve us setting up a foundation for them to live comfortable lives? Ponder on that the next time you’re ready to make a purchase.

 TOP 5 BLACK -OWNED HOME DECOR AND FURNITURE STORES 

Posted on January 31, 2018 By Staff With 6 comments

BLACK FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR IS FIGHTING GENTRIFICATION USING CROWD INVESTING AND SHOWING BLACK PEOPLE HOW TO DO THE SAME-ONE BLOCK AT A TIME

Lynn P. President/Founder of Buy The Block

Introduction

When you walk into the stores at a strip mall or the local community commercial corridor to purchase your retail needs, have you ever wondered who owns the building that houses all of those retail establishments? The massive apartment complexes that adorned the inner-city skyline and house so many residents in very compact areas where the economic density is immense and truly illustrates the meaning of urban living. Who owns these massive structures that generate tremendous amounts of revenue by merely being present in the community? JOIN THE MOVEMENT! 

For more information or to pledge go to https://buybacktheblock.com/

Commercial Real Estate

The Commercial real estate industry consist of property that is used solely for business purposes and that are leased out to provide a workspace rather than a living space. Ranging from a single gas station to a huge shopping center, commercial real estate includes retailers of all kinds, office space, hotels, strip malls, restaurants and convenience stores, and the size of the United States commercial real estate market is in dollars is around $6.6 trillion according to worth of commercial real estate in the United States according to Statista.

Commercial Real Estate By The Numbers

  • Retail includes indoor shopping malls, outdoor strip malls, and big-box retailers. It also includes grocery stores and restaurants. Its value is around $2.1 trillion, or 36 percent of the total value of the commercial real estate. It consists of at least 9.5 billion square feet of shopping center space.
  • Hotels include motels, luxury resorts, and business hotels. There are roughly 4.4 million hotel rooms worth $1.92 trillion.
  • Office buildings include everything from Manhattan skyscrapers to your lawyer’s office. There are roughly 4 billion square feet of office space, worth around $1.7 trillion, or 29 percent of the total.
  • Apartment buildings are also part of the commercial real estate. That’s because companies own them only to turn a profit. There are around 33 million square feet of apartment rental space, worth about $1.44 trillion.
  • Industrial property is used to manufacture, distribute or warehouse a product. It’s not always considered commercial, especially in land use plans and in zoning. There are 13 billion square feet of industrial property worth around $240 billion.

Commercial Real Estate is White Males Dominate

According to a report from the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, a national organization founded almost 50 years ago, and that has more than 18,000 members, used Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data and found that more than three-quarters of senior commercial real estate executive positions nationwide were held by white men. Hispanic, Asian, black and other women — own less than 1 percent of the CRE senior executive jobs nationwide, according to the report. During more in-depth research I came across this 2014 article by Duke Long 10 Reasons You Will Never Become a Commercial Real Estate Broker, and two of his reasons that stood out to me was point number 4 You are not a (White) man.  This article stands in stark contrast to the reality of Buy The Block!

Who Is Lynn P

Lynn is a serial entrepreneur that founded my first company at 28, with the help of family and friends. In 2010, she established BBE to pay it forward by providing education and funding for businesses. With Buy the Block, she has created the first Black-owned real estate crowd investing platform enabling the Black community to pool immense $1.3 Trillion in purchasing power to come together to make real estate and business development investments.  

Buy The Block

Serial Entrepreneur Lynn P founded Buy the Block in a toolshed in Cincinnati in 2013. The company allowed her to couple her two passions, real estate investing and teaching others the art and science of real estate investment,  into a seamless online crowd investing experience for the Black community. Buy the Block has solved two of the major issues of the Black community.

The first is access to capital for businesses and real estate development and the second is an investment platform with a low barrier to entry to facilitate the building of community equity and Black wealth at the same time. Buy The Block now serves investors and developers all over the US and is thrilled to be a part of the global crowd investing and alternative finance industry.By bringing investors together with entrepreneurs, we are not just building stronger communities; we are building wealthier districts. In that wealth lies the only real independence.

Buy The Block’s First Commercial Development

Lynn P is spearheading her next foray into the commercial real estate with a MAJOR move with Buy Back The Block movement, which will consist of over 1000 individuals raising over $1 million to Buy The Block. As a result, the facility will become 100% owned by the community members who support it. Construction will begin in April 2018, with a $600 thousand renovation that includes 11 retail spaces, office space and apartments. The development plans to reopen in June 2019 as a retail building for the Dayton, Oh community. 

Commercial Real Estate Development Project

Buy Back The Block and Stop Gentrification

The vision we all share at Buy Back The Block is to change investing from confusing and frustrating, to an accessible and enjoyable social experience. This is not what is currently obtainable, and as such we want to create a new generation of connected investors who feel informed, empowered, and confident.

We believe the current options aren’t meeting the expectations of the next generation. We are developing an accessible, collaborative, friendly and fun investing environment for both new and experienced investors. Our efforts provide a seamless and secure solution that empowers people to spend together in a way that has never happened till now.

Conclusion

Before converting this next commercial building project into it to a retail building, the 87-year-old building is sitting empty. Once this door of opportunity opens up, it will allow those of us who are conscious about legacy and generational wealth to say, ‘What are we going to do differently?’ Buying Commercial Properties is next phase in the exciting journey.Your contribution will help us complete the purchase of this property, rehab and host the block party. Also, it will help you buy a piece of your first block! Incredible to hear, but true. Join the Movement to Buy Back the Block at BuyBackTheBlock.  JOIN THE MOVEMENT! 

For more information or to pledge go to https://buybacktheblock.com/.


Posted on December 18, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

Black Owned Crowdfunding Site Reaches $100k in Funding – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now

Black multi-generation family outside, the power of the crowd. Black Owned Crowdfunding Site Reaches 100k in Funding – Ain’t No Stopping Us Now

Nationwide, May 1, 2017 – To be successful, it is vital to have the courage to go for it. At a time where it was unpopular to birth and run a black owned crowdfunding site, Lynn Da, a young budding entrepreneur out of Cincinnati has taken the bull by the horn to make the impossible possible.

Founded in the year 2012, with the aim of helping members of the black community get funding for their businesses, Suffice it to say that in April, BBNomics has been able to raise over $100,000 in funding.

Speaking excitedly, Lynn, the organization’s founder said; “I am thrilled about this latest development. This particular feat will go a long way in strengthening our hearts and increase our faith for a better tomorrow for the black community, as we all work together to make it happen. Even though the journey is long and tough, this has made us believe that it is achievable.”

In recent times, BBNomics has funded some notable projects such as; Kimchi Socks (a young socks company), Bringing More Healing to the hood (a mental health clinic in Chicago) and much more. “My personal goal is for BBNomics to raise one million in funding to help entrepreneurs and organizations open their doors to the public, and I know we are almost there” Lynn added.

It is noteworthy to mention that ‘Basil Health Fund’ and ‘Buy The Block’ are some of the campaigns that BBNomics is currently spearheading. While the former focuses on raising funds for Basil Elby, the alleged mastermind of the I-85 Atlanta bridge collapse, the latter presents a platform that will allow groups and individuals to pool resources, share knowledge, vote on the property to invest and efficiently manage investments.

According to their website, anyone can start a campaign and get funding for businesses, organizations, social causes and more. For more details about BBNomics, visit – www.bbnomics.com or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bbeconomics/
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Posted on May 1, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

Why You Should Forget About Old School Real Estate Investing

If you want to be one step in front of your competition, you need to know what the next big thing will be or at least figure out how you can use it to turn the tides to your advantage. That’s where Real Estate Crowdinvesting comes into play.

Real estate professionals know that investing in an excellent property can give a resounding return on investment in time. The only problem comes when you don’t have enough money to make such investments. Unfortunately, if such a thing happens, you will have to wait until you accumulate the finances needed for such an acquisition.

So, you either have to wait for a long time, or you just need to go to the bank and deal with loans, something that’s not exactly a good idea. Beginning investors had to do this all the time and, as you can imagine, things like this don’t go well all the time. But it’s still clear that you can gain some amazing results with the right approach. That’s why the next big thing in the Real Estate world is Crowdinvesting! The reason is rather simple, with help from other people that also want to invest money in large properties, you get to make a name for yourself, and the value can be incredibly rewarding.

Not only will you get to make a name for yourself in the longer term, but the value on its own is second to none, and you never have to worry about any potential investment problems. While regulations are in place, Real Estate Crowdinvesting can step away from the infancy stage, but the reality is that the future is bright for this particular industry. Not only does it allow more and more people to invest in real estate, but it significantly lowers the entry point, and that’s critical, to say the least. It is clearly showing value for people that entered this area in its early stages.
And it will get even better in the longer term.

Buy The Block is leveling this playing field. It’s safe to say that this industry is here to stay. As long as more and more people enter the Real Estate Crowdinvesting world, we will be able to see more and more residential and commercial projects acquired this way. Buy The Block will put the power back into your hands and it will pay off in the end, it can bring plenty of success to the people that need it. You should totally consider joining right now, because this is the future of real estate investments, and you certainly want to be a part of it!

Join The Movement!

Posted on March 15, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

TYPES OF PROPERTIES YOU CAN FINANCE USING CROWD INVESTING

So, you finally decided you want to enter the property group investing world, but you aren’t sure what type of resources are worth your time? We created some critical things to focus on, a list with some of the best types of properties you should pursue when you engage in real estate crowd investing!

Commercial properties: 
Most of the time, real estate group funding will work very well for the commercial properties. The reason is simple; you can purchase them and then you can rent them to businesses, which in the end means you get a monthly revenue stream. The amount will vary, but getting passive income this way is an excellent idea. Plus, when you reach a certain number of properties, it will allow you to build finances needed for other investments slowly.

Residential properties:
Investing in real estate properties for residential use is another idea. The idea is that you can opt for single-family homes that are in excellent shape and rent them out for income. This way there will be fewer people involved in the purchase, and you will have a much better ROI when you just resell it. There won’t be any need for any repairs either, which is imperative!

Foreclosure properties:
Not a lot of people think that real estate crowd investing can be used for the foreclosure properties, but this can work extremely well. It can help you acquire and rehab with help from other group investors, and you can get an outstanding return on investment from it.

New homes:
Investing in the construction of new homes that will be resold for profit can also be a superb idea. It’s important to try out this option as well because it can bring in quite a lot of success and it will be relatively easy to sell a new home. You do have control over the construction process, and you can make sure that the construction is finished on time, which is imperative at all times.

Rental properties:
These are excellent sources of money for real estate crowd investing, mainly because you just purchase them for rental. Sure, the rental money will be split between every member of group investor, but you can invest in multiple properties like this, and the sums will add up. It can be a consistent income that arrives monthly, and it will also help you enter the real estate crowd investing world with ease!

In conclusion, there are many options you can focus on when you join real estate crowdfunding. You just have to pick the right one that suits your needs and follow it properly. The reality is that you can always experiment with all of them to find out which one is the best. Or you can opt for various real estate crowd investing combinations that may suit your requirements. Do that, and the experience will be an extraordinary one in the end!

Join the movement at ‘Buy The Block,’ today!

Posted on March 9, 2017 By Staff With 0 comments

The #1 Financial Principle YOU MUST KNOW

The #1 Financial Principle YOU MUST KNOW

 

Financial literacy is not just about knowing how to save your money.

Anybody can do that.

Financial literacy is about knowing how to — USE money.

Look, we know that the average White family in the U.S. has 13 times more wealth than the average Black family1 with Whites at $144,200 compared with Blacks at $11,200.

The income of the average educated Black income is $43,300. For Whites, its, $71,300.

Do not be confused by the difference in wealth and income.

Wealth is the total sum of your assets (things you own with value i.e. houses, businesses, stocks) MINUS your total debt.

Annual Income is merely the amount of money you make in a year.

Of course, most of that wealth gap can be attributed to historical racial oppression:

The long history of Black exclusion by Whites from homeownership2, education3, and jobs4 worked to keep Black folks from generating and maintaining wealth.

But you knew the wealth gap existed before you read this.

That’s not why I’m here.

I’m here to tell you that real financial literacy is about knowing how to — USE money & how to THINK with money. It’s using your money like little soldiers, sending your dollars out on a mission to recruit and capture more dollars.

Let me let you in on an often forgotten secret…

Black people save.

Black people are responsible.

Black people are tremendously intelligent.

The problem is not that we don’t know how to save money or that we only care about Jordans’.

The problem is that saving is not enough.

Saving is only one aspect of financial literacy.

It’s like you’re learning to read and write again- you finally learn where the Period goes in the sentence…Good. But there are key principles that you still need to know in order to actually become literate.

I want to share with you the # 1 key financial principle that you must know. It’s time to learn the rules of money. I’m so grateful someone shared the game with me back when I thought that if I just play by the rules, get my Master’s degree, then I’ll be alright.

SMH.

Back when I didn’t understand the Rules of Money, I found myself standing in the EBT line like so many of our people. I was demoralized… I mean, I never went to jail, I got an education, a Master’s, networked, treated people nicely….

 

I never knew The System was not built to reward Black people for being educated and hardworking. The system was built for people who know and play well by the Rules of Money.

 

Like it or not.

 

That’s why I’m sharing this with you.

Still though, I hear too many people talking about how Black folks will never be able to overcome the wealth gap, how Whites will destroy whatever Black people build, or how there is nothing Black people can do to live better if government does not intervene. It’s infuriating to me.

The problem: These naysayers are often right.

However, this Does Not Mean that Black people should be doing NOTHING but marching.

Why? Because there ARE ways to GENERATE WEALTH for the average Black family if we understand the Rules of Money.

White folks are not stopping you from reading this. They will not stop you from investing, either.

You have tremendous Power.

If you start with the #1 financial principle, you can enhance what you know and generate wealth for yourself and our community.

The #1 financial principle I want to share with you is: LEVERAGE.

Let me ask you a question:

I want you to really imagine that debt collectors are knocking down your door, you’ve been stressing for months, your debts fall into default mode. You can’t sleep.

Let’s say your total debt is $60,000 (student loans, credit cards) & your total annual expenses are $40,000. You’re having a hard time finding work.

If you had $60,000 dollars in debt and you were given $100,000 to use any way you want, how would you spend the money?

Would you pay the $60,000 debt, then invest the rest in a business?

Bad Idea.

This decision shows a lack of understanding of financial principle #1- LEVERAGE.

Here’s why:

If you completely pay off the debt right now, you just lost $60,000 and now only have $40,000 to work with.

$40,000 in free money sounds great don’t it? Especially to someone who couldn’t sleep only nights before because of crushing debt.

However, there is a bigger picture at work.

Financial Leverage= using a small amount of money to acquire assets that generate larger amounts of money.

You are going to purchase an ASSET. Assets are things that make you money. For example, when you purchase a stock, every year that stock will pay you just for owning it in the form of interest and dividends. This is what makes the stock valuable.

After you purchase the asset, you are going to make that asset pay off your debt for you.

Here’s What You Do With The $100K:

First, pay down your debt to the point where it falls out of default. THEN STOP. Let’s say this requires $10K.

You will keep up monthly payments so that you are slowly paying down your debt. Your monthly payments on this loan are $800.

Now you have $90K left. You are about to create a debt plan that applies LEVERAGE.

With the $90K, you go to a bank and finance a rental property. You will put 20% down on a property in a great, affordable location. The property cost $200K.

20% of 200K means that you will put down $40K to purchase the home. You’ve done your research and see that the mortgage payment plus all expenses is $950 (assuming a 3.5% interest on the mortgage).

You also know that you can rent out this property for $1950 a month.

This will create a profit of $1000 each month.

That means that you just used $40K to acquire a $200K asset. You generate $1000 each month off of the asset ($1950 rent-$950 you owe to the bank for the mortgage).

You use this $1000 a month to pay down your $800 monthly debt in credit cards/student loans. This is applying LEVERAGE.

Think about it- If it cost you $800 a month to pay down your $50K credit card and student loan debt, that means you will pay off the debt in 5.2 years.

Now how long will people be renting your house?

You will still be able to rent out your property even after your debt is paid off.

This means you have an asset consistently working for you even after it pays down your credit and student loans debts.

This is applying Leverage- you have purchased an asset that consistently generates money for you and you didn’t have to spend a lot to do it.

You spent $10K to get out of default, $40K to finance a property. You still have $50K left to invest in another property, stock, business, or seed through crowd-sourcing to your community.

If you would have paid off the $60K right away, you would only have $40K left, and no assets that are making you money. You would be in a financially worse position.

Much better than just paying down ALL your debt outright.

Right now, you’re thinking- “That’s smooth and all, but no one is about to give me $100K”.

Fair enough.

The point is for you to get busy thinking about how you can LEVERAGE the money you do have in order to improve your future financial position.

Here’s what you can do today:

Purchase some stock– From the privacy of your own home, you can put money in the S&P 500 ETF (purchase thru Vanguard or any online trading platform). Interest is around 7%. That means that every 10.2 years, your money will double. So if you only put $1K in today AND NEVER PUT ANY MORE MONEY IN, in 10 years (on average), that $1K will turn into $2K.

However, if you put $1K in EVERY Year for 10 years consecutively, you will have $14,783. At the end of another 10 years, $43,865.18, if you continue for another 10 years, $101,073.05. This keeps on going.

In a total of 30 years, you will have generated $100K.

Keep in mind that only $30K is money you put in directly- $70K is pure earned compounded interest.

Let me put it another way:

At the end of 30 years…

you would have generated more than $100,000…

for less than $2.80 a day…

That’s using rule #1- Financial LEVERAGE in order to create large sums of money with very few dollars. Your money is working like little soldiers for you now.

Now, maybe some of you are saying- “I ain’t got 30 years to wait.”

First, you don’t need 30 years. Imagine if you could put $10K into the market instead of just $1K.

Or…

Imagine if you began crowd-sourcing to raise money directly for your business today.

Or…

Imagine doing both. Having a long-term strategy of disciplined investment in the stock market and a short-term strategy of starting your own business to generate income.

For people who think that Time is STILL a problem…

I’m sorry, but it’s not really about you.

Never invest in the market just for yourself.

If you have children, in 30 years, they may be able to use $100K to fund real estate, businesses, and invest in stocks.

Invest NOW for THEM.

The wealth gap between Blacks and Whites is staggering. This will likely remain the case.

That does not mean that you are powerless to enhance your financial future. If you understand the #1 financial principle- you can take steps to build Generational Wealth today.

We Black folks are good at doing a lot with a little.

Luckily, the rules of money DEMAND that you learn to do a lot with a little…

Sounds like you already got a leg up. 

 

Continue Reading

7 Web Sites and Apps to Help You Find and Support Black-Owned Businesses

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There are so many reasons why it is important to support black-owned businesses. Black-owned businesses represent just 7 percent of all small businesses in the U.S., but they create jobs and contribute to the economic strength of urban communities.

Many more people would like to support black-owned businesses by buying their products and services, but they often lack information on where exactly they are located. So, here are 7 websites and apps that will help you find and support black-owned businesses across the globe:

#1 – iZania.com: a social networking site for Black entrepreneurs, professionals, and consumers. The site includes a business directory, networking forum, online marketplace, blogs and more.

#2 – WhereYouCameFrom.biz: a local business search app with up-to-date information on black-owned businesses in the Atlanta area. The businesses are listed across categories and even ranked according to the number of referral counts received by peers.

#3 – WeBuyBlack.comthe largest online marketplace for black businesses and sellers. Black-owned vendors include clothing and accessories, jewelry, toys and games for children, health and beauty products, products for the home, and more.

#4 – Afroworld.org: is a website of global black businesses and black professionals. Their slogan is “We Help Afroworld Professionals and Consumers Connect.” The site allows consumers to search for African-American professionals and businesses by specialty or place and compare quotes, reviews, and profiles on each Afroworld professional.

#5 – BlackBusinessNetwork.com: Produced by Tag Team Marketing, this site specializes in marketing the products and services of black-owned businesses to black consumers. Business owners from all over the world can sell their products and services through the online store, and consumers can shop for products they know are made from Black-owned companies.

#6 – PurchaseBlack.com: an online marketplace to find quality products from selected Black-owned businesses. They also have a mobile app that allows customers to search black-owned products and services.

#7 – 2MillionJobs.com: an online initiative that encourages people to spend $20 every week with local and/or online Black businesses. Their goal is to create two million jobs for black workers and cut unemployment for blacks by the year 2017.

Take a moment  to add your business to these sites. buyblackeconomics.com 

Source

Posted on July 19, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

Young Black Entrepreneur Farmers in Detroit Finding Success, But Still Struggling Because of This!

young_black_detroit_farmers

In 1910, African Americans owned nearly 20 million acres of land in the United States, most of it rural farmland. Today, they own less than 8 million acres. In Detroit, where the population is 83 percent black, black farmers want to own land and grow their own food but they have one big problem — it’s almost impossible for them to buy land!

The real problem

The problem is not that Detroit (and other cities in the state of Michigan) don’t have enough land to go around. Detroit has enough acreage to fit all of Manhattan, Boston, and San Francisco. The problem is that most of the land is controlled by speculators and investors, making it difficult for small, black farmers to purchase their own land. Detroit’s City Council is approving the purchase of prime land at below market prices, shutting out black farmers.

Malik Yakini, executive director of the Black Food Security Network, tried to purchase land to build a farm, and after two years, the most he got was a 10-year agreement to use the site. He was unsuccessful in purchasing the property.

Not enough help

The Detroit Land Bank initiative was designed to allow purchasers to buy empty plots of land next to their homes, which they could use to grow their own food. The program has sold 4,000 lots, which might seem like good progress. However, it is a drop in the bucket to the 97,000 lots that are still owned by the city. And it does not help farmers who want to purchase larger lots not next to their homes for growing larger quantities of food.

The whole deal smells like rotten tomatoes. “Food is essential to a quality life, and the fact that it is not available to black people is disheartening and crushing,” says Bianca Danzy, a student farmer at the urban farm Earthworks.

The black population wants to gain access to fresh, healthy food, but the location of many supermarkets are not providing access since one-third of Detroiters do not own a car. All they want is land so they can produce their own food and have a chance to increase their quality of life.

Local urban farming organizations to know about:

Detroit Black Community Food Security Network – www.detroitblackfoodsecurity.org

D-Town Farm – www.d-townfarm.com

Keep Growing Detroit – www.detroitagriculture.net

Detroit Food Justice Task Force – www.detroitfoodjustice.org

Southeast Michigan Producers Association (SEMPA) – www.sempafarmers.com

 

Source: http://blog.blackbusiness.org/2016/06/young-black-entrepreneur-farmers-detroit-no-land-ownership.html#more

Posted on June 14, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

100 BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT 365 DAYS A YEAR

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100 BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT 365 DAYS A YEAR

Jermaine Dupri and Killer Mike kicked off Black History Month by joining Usher and the Influencer Coalition family at Atlanta’s only Black-owned financial institution, Citizens Trust Bank. We decided to create a list of 100 businesses you too can support all year round.

A statement from Usher,  “Empowerment starts with ownership. We’re here supporting Citizens Trust Bank as a Black bank, but it also stands for the support of all the Black businesses that they support. It’s all about supporting our own,” Usher explained.

Let us take it a few steps further, by supporting as many black businesses we can find all year round. Also, remember to join our #2millionjobs campaign by supporting local or online black businesses #eachandeveryfriday. 

Visit or  2millionjobs.com for more details. 

Here is your list of 100 Black-Owned Businesses to support – LET GO! 

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BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES RUN BY CHILDREN 

#1 – Lemonade from Bee Sweet Lemonade – Today, the award-winning BeeSweet Lemonade is buzzing off the shelves of Whole Foods Market, the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, and available at a growing number of restaurants, food trailers and natural food delivery companies.

#2 – Bow ties at Mo’s Bows – Mo’s Bows is a company I started in Memphis, TN in 2011 when I was just 9 years old. I couldn’t find fun and cool bow ties, so one day I decided to use my Granny’s scrap fabric to make and sell my own. I like to wear bow ties because they make me look good and feel good. Designing a colorful bow tie is just part of my vision to make the world a fun and happier place. -Moziah

#3-  Clothing and accessories at Maya’s Ideas – I’m a 15 year old philanthropist, environmental activist, entrepreneur, eco-designer, inspirational speaker, artist, animator, coder, (I make animated short films), illustrator, and writer. I am the CEO of Maya’s Ideas, a company I started in 2008 when I was just 8 years old. I create eco-friendly clothing and accessories. My designs are sold all over the world and I have customers in Denmark, Italy, Australia and more. I love to use my creativity to give back. 10-20% of my profits go to causes local and global charities and environmental organizations.

#4 – Cookies from Mr. Cory’s Cookies – Cory has always had a dream of making the world better for everyone he knows.  That passion, combined with a love of treats and an entrepreneurial spirit, led Mr. Cory to be the owner of Mr. Cory’s Cookies at just 9 years old.  His delectable cookies are all-natural and made from high-quality ingredients – not wacky ingredients with names that you can’t pronounce. In 2009, Mr. Cory told his mother he was tired of taking the bus to school and he wanted to buy his mom a car. He crafted the idea to sell hot cocoa to raise the funds. Mr. Cory put all his spare time into selling hot cocoa at the Roman Inn in Englewood, NJ, and later in front of his home.

#5 – Gourmet popcorn from E & C Popcorn Shop – E & C Popcorn, aka Ethan and Collier Popcorn Company, is an Atlanta based online retailer of homemade “gluten-free”gourmet specialty Caramel popcorn. As a way to reward their two young sons for having a productive day at school and to teach them about business and entrepreneurship, Monique and Ben Evans along with their sons, Ethan and Collier started E & C Popcorn Company, and this families love of popcorn was born

BLACK OWNED RESTAURANTS IN MIAMI- DADE COUNTY

# 6 – Bahamian Connection Restaurant  – Bahamian Connection Restaurant was established in 1978 by Arlington Ingraham better known as Big Links from Tarpun Bay Eluthera and Bain Town, and West Street Nassau Bahamas. Bahamian Connection Restaurant is a family owned business operated by Andy, Philip, Richard and “Mike” Ingraham of Fort Lauderdale Florida
4400 NW 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33127
Contact: 305-576-6999

#7 – Jamrock Cuisine – Bridging Jamaican eats with Chinese delicacies, this former Jamaican grocery store dishes out the best of both Caribbean and Asian worlds. The bright and casual dining room with homey furnishings and framed island prints is as cozy as the menu is exotic. Jamaican patties with coco bread, curried goat and brown stew fish please islander palates, while Chinese Jamaican dishes include pork with ham choy and chicken dun goo with mushrooms. Patrons who want to treat Chinese Jamaican cuisine as more than just a spectator sport can purchase some of the imported staples and seasonings from the family-owned marketplace.
12618 SW 88th St., Miami, FL 33186
Contact: 305-598-7625

#8- Aunt I’s Jamaican Restaurant – Aunt I’s is not only the name of the restaurant but the nick name of a real person, Inez Grant. The vision was born out of a mother’s exceptional Jamaican country-style cooking ability, a love for people and a heart for service. Inez had a yearning to open a restaurant ever since she moved to Florida from Kingston, Jamaica.
19934 NW 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33169
Contact: 305-654-9638

#9 – Sheri Restaurant – Sheri African Restaurant is a concept that transports Nigerian home cooking to America. Southern Nigerian cuisine is a combination of traditional foods (gluten, lactose and dessert free diet) and colonial foods (sweet and savory pastries) influences. At Sheri Restaurant they specialize in authentic traditional cuisine. Their food is handcrafted from scratch with fresh and natural ingredients; they do not use artificial ingredients, butter and sugar.

16595 NW 27th Ave., Opa Locka, FL 33054
Contact: 305-622-310

#10 – Chef Creole Seafood & Catering – At Chef Creole, their menu contains an enticing array of seafood, inspired by a mixture of Bahamian/Haitian flavors and has become the standard for fresh seafood the owner “Ken Sejour” has grabbed his native Haitian cuisine by the fishtail and created Haitian seafood for the masses

Caribbean
13105 W Dixie Hwy, North Miami, FL 33161
(305) 893-4246
 
NW 54th St., Miami, FL 33127
Contact: 305-754-2223
 
1392 NW 119th St, Miami, FL 33167
(305) 769-9440200

7957 N.E. 2nd Ave.
Phone: 305.754.2298

20356 NW 2nd Ave (441)
Phone: 305.651.4761

NAIL POLISH

#11 – Adore Her Nails – Former model turned nail lacquer enthusiast, Devorne Love, created this eye-catching and affordable line that also has a fun and flirty appeal.

#12 – Polish and Company – From cosmologist and nail expert, Theresa Williamson, this brand was created for the beauty bombshell with the aesthetics of a Southern belle.

#13 – Underground Nail Queenz (UGNQ) – Created by former army brat, Jacklyn Berry, this new, chic & revolutionary nail polish brand promises to add a shimmering iridescent shade with a special touch.

#14 – Ginger + Liz – Created by Ginger Johnson and Liz Pickett, this line is heavily influenced by arts, travel, entertainment and especially the Classic Chic, Modern Luxe, Bohemian Hipster, and Rock Glam fashion driven lifestyles.

#15 – Bernadette Thompson Nail Care and Color – Created by Bernadette Thompson, a trend-setting nail artist, this line give a seasonal presentation of slick, sophisticated, fun colors that literally put the latest fashion trends on women’s finger tips.

#16 – Lisi Cosmetics – Lisa Hill, a make-up, and nail artist, created this brand that boasts a nail lacquer line with a vast selection of glitter-crazy, and delectable glimmering colors.

BLACK OWNED NAIL SALONS & SPA’S 

#17 – Symmetry MedSpa – D’Livro L. Beauchamp, MD is a Board-Certified Physician of Urgent Care Medicine. Dr. Beauchamp earned a Doctor of Medicine from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, DC. He performed General Surgery Residency Training at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC. Dr. Beauchamp has a special interest in aesthetic medicine and anti-aging medicine

#18 – Gigi’s Mind Body & Soul – Gigi’s was founded by Germaine Abraham-Leveen in 2009. Gigi’s strive to bring you the best current treatment methods customized to your specific skin type For the past 4 years, Gigi’s personal mission has been to provide clients with the most professional and relaxing experience. The Day Spa services all your skin care needs from head-to-toe. Gigi’s believe in providing a “personal touch” to each client that give a sense of individuality in resolving their skin care concerns.

#19 – Delord Clinical Skincare – Since the start of her esthetician career, Traci Williams, Ph.D., Integrative Esthetician, Beverly Hills Facialist, has been on the cutting edge of esthetics, as she developed the Alternative Acne Therapy and Medical Esthetician training protocols in 1990. After studying Health Science at a local university she also received her holistic nutrition degree’s through Clayton College of Natural Health.

#20 – Lady Dee’s Day Spa  – We have a unique approach to skincare which delivers the best results in a very short period of time. During your initial visit to our studio, you will be seen by a para-medical esthetician who will provide an in-depth analysis of your skin, addressing your specific concerns. Your skincare program will have two distinct stages. The first is to achieve the desired results, and the second is to maintain those results. 

#21 – AM Salon & Spa – AM Salon and Spa is owned by Toney Canty and Ana Marquez, offering you a diverse group of experienced hair stylists and the ultimate in pampering and renewal. 

#22 – Le Skintique Day Spa and Beauty Salon – Full service salon and day spa for women and men.  Skin care,  body rituals, make-overs, waxing, complete ethnic natural and synthetic hair care, men’s grooming.  Call for an appointment now and receive a free skin analysis and complimentary samples of products. 

#23 – Sanctuary MedSpa – Sanctuary MedSpa services include SmartLipo, Botox and Fillers, Laser Hair Removal, Bio-Identical Hormones, Laser Skin Treatments, Microderm and Peels, Facials, and more. 

# 24 – JoJuDa’s Salon and Day Spa – We offer a wide selection of professional services including styling, cutting, color, weaves / extensions, braids, makeup application, brow shaping, nail care, facials, massage therapy and more. 

#25 – Nailphoria Day Spa – Manicures, Pedicures, Skin Care for Men and Women, Waxing, Eyelash Enhancements, Brow and Lash Tinting, Massage, Herbal Foot Soaks with Massage, Spa Parties, Mobile Services Available for your Special Events. 

# 26 – Violet J Spa & Wellness – Violet Johnson, PhD developed a spa menu to reflect her background as a nurse midwife and psychologist and her skill as an acclaimed esthetics professional. Violet is also a leading expert in the unique issues of multi-ethnic skins, including pigmentation problems, sensitivity and acne. 

#27 – Essenza Medi Spa – Dr. Edythe Woodruff Stewart is the Medical Director for Essenza Medi Spa.  Dr. Stewart attended medical school at the University Alabama-Birmingham.  Always one devoted to the health and well-being of all people, her most recent endeavor is to heal not just the body, but to raise the self-esteem of both men and women in the Central Valley.   She has a full staff of Registered Nurses, licensed Aestheticians, and certified Massage Therapists who are all qualified to help you look and feel your best. 

#28 – 2GORJIS Spa – Kim Evans is a licensed Aesthetician, Makeup Artist, Holistic Massage Therapist, Business Woman, Nutrition Educator, Consultant and owner of  2GORJIS Integrated Health & Wellness, a private facial practice for both women and men for a decade plus.

#29 – Francine’s Salon and Day Spa  – Francine Austin is the proud owner of Francine’s Salon and Day Spa, the first African American Salon & Day Spa in Hartford County, located in Bloomfield, Connecticut for over a decade. She is a 20 year plus veteran of the cosmetology industry were she utilizes her passion to inspire others to embrace their outward appearance, but more importantly their inner beauty.

# 30 – Beautiful Spirit Salon & Spa – Bernadette Johns is a licensed beautician and cosmetologist providing the best hair care using quality products.  Offering natural hair and weaves, braids, scalp treatments, manicures, pedicures, lash extensions and facials. 

#31- Edward’s Wellness & Skin Care  – Thelma Carole Edwards is a Licensed Aesthetician (Skin Care Therapist), Certified Massage Technician (CMT), Reflexologist, and a Nationally Certified Make-Up Artist. Come enjoy the art of wellness in Skin, Body, and Spirit.

#32 – Raquel’s Signature – Racquel has been in the Beauty Industry for more than 20 years. As Master Stylist and Image Consultant her expertise ranges from Cosmetic Hair Extensions, Precision Hair Cutting, Hair Care, Hair Coloring, Relaxers, Hair Texturizing, Alopecia Or Hair Loss reconstruction, Custom Wig Making, Lash Extensions, Makeup, Brow Shaping and more. 

#33 – Flawless Wax & Spa  – We provide the ultimate spa experience while being Downtown Orlando’s premier wax and skin spa. Specializing in waxing, eyelash extensions, semi permanent makeup, and skincare.

#34  – A Visible Difference Beauty Concepts – A Visible Difference is a source of refuge, a place where you can retreat then return to your normal routine anew. The menu of services is specially created with the wilted flower (a tired woman) in mind to help rejuvenate and restore you to a striking beautiful flower. Our technicians are highly trained individuals with over 30 years combined experience. The goal is to have you, the client, leave our establishment feeling refreshed, looking beautiful and anxiously waiting to return.

#35 – Iwi Fresh Garden Day Spa – iwi fresh Garden Day Spa is located in the Castleberry Hill art district in Downtown Atlanta, GA. We offer garden fresh skincare products, made by-hand, and provide one-of-a-kind spa and salon services Tuesday thru Sunday of every week.  

#36  – Too Groovy Salon & Spa – Founded in 2003 by healthy hair care innovator, Robin D. Groover, Too Groovy Salon has transformed the hair of thousands of women from coast to coast. Our Hair Care Specialists use award winning techniques in the arts, sciences and methodology of advanced hair care to achieve optimal results.  Too Groovy Salon has won numerous awards, to include the Bronner Brothers Icon Award and the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Award for best Hair Salon.  Come and experience for yourself why so many women travel for miles to indulge themselves in the most sought after chemical-free system for silky-smooth-straight styles, and textured styling for those seeking definition, elongation and curl manageability. 

#37 –  Nubiance Spa & Salon – Indeed, Master Hairstylist and Color Specialist Vicki Pouncie proudly possess a very creative, eclectic, and classy sense of style that emanates from her heart, mind and soul, which she takes great pride in displaying to her clients via her innovative hairstyling techniques and exceptional hair color application services. 

#38 SoKai Salon & Spa – Sokai Spa Salon is an upscale salon located in the heart of the East Atlanta Village. Forever finding new ways to pamper clients, Sokai Spa Salon offers a fun, relaxing atmosphere in which clients can feel comfortable and at ease.  

#39 – Suite 20 Salon & Day Spa – We have more than 20 years of industry experience, and our licensed dieticians and stylists take pride in providing personalized services to help you look and feel your best. Kristy Gaiters, our owner, strives to provide the community with affordable and healthy services. 

Con’t 175 + more nail salon & spas, click here100 BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT 365 DAYS A YEAR

BLACK -OWNED HOME DECOR AND FURNITURE

#40 – Harmony Designs Furniture & Interior – located 115 SOUTH 4TH AVE  MT. VERNON NY 10550; PH: 914-699-0809

#41 – Home Beautiful Decor – located Address: 502 W Kearney St #200, Mesquite, TX 75149; PH:(972) 288-0705

#42-  Ali Sandifer Studio – located in Detriot, MI. Design is our passion and craft is our medium. Ali Sandifer is a design studio and workshop with a particular fondness for furniture. Our work is born from a simple belief that design, material, and craft must work together to achieve intelligence, beauty, and longevity.

#43 – Lakay Designs –  located in Ohio. THE  PLACE FOR ALL YOUR AFRICAN INSPIRED HOME AND BUSINESS DECOR. Home is home, and all areas of the home must be ‘home’ to the occupants. But this can only be achieved when the ambiance of the home is fascinating. Nothing however can make any home attractive except the unique decor of the home.

#44- Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles – located 832 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19130; PH:(215) 546-9616 Secondhand furniture & decor, with sales supporting the African People’s Education and Defense Fund.

BLACK OWNED BANKS

#45 – 65 – (21 Black-Owned Banks) – click here for an interactive map http://blackoutcoalition.org/black-u-s-banks/

RETAIL STORES OWNED BY BLACK MEN 

#66 – Kimchi Socks – Jason V. Holmes a native of New Orleans is stirring up competition in the very low-tech industry of socks. This brother is turning his passion into a great business model, as well as giving back to the community.

#67 – Talley & Twine -was founded on two principles: legacy and lifestyle. We want to set the standard for future generations, and we want to look good doing it. The number seven on the face of our watches represents completion while giving our timepieces a distinct look that sets us apart from other brands.

# 68 –  Mechael Grey  Footwear – Superior Design comes from a concept… A concept derived from experiences in the world around us, or the truly imaginative mind. Life, travels, studies, technique, and my passion for creation is the very DNA of MICHAEL GREY FOOTWEAR. A distinctive blend of Industrial design + architecture, combined with vintage looks of years before, form my unique line.

BLACK OWNED FOOD BRANDS IN YOUR LOCAL STORE 

#69 – Freedom Paper Company  – Freedom Paper Company LLC (FPC) is a privately owned distributor of bathroom tissue and other paper products headquartered in Baltimore Maryland. The company is unique from other corporations as it is born from the foundation of grassroots movement combined with the best of corporate culture and business acumen.

#70 –  Michele’s Food – Sunday mornings at the Hoskins home began with a gathering and a tradition of delicious homemade waffles, a variety of breakfast meats and a special concoction of honey, cream and butter that was made just for the occasion.  This secret syrup recipe was created by America Washington, a former slave, and the great, great, great grandmother of the only daughter in the household, Michele Hoskins.  America Washington created the recipe in the 1800s as an alternative to molasses for her plantation owner’s family.In the early 1980’s, this family delicacy was passed down to Michele from her mother and she continued the tradition by making it for her three (3) daughters and friends. “My mother inherited that secret recipe and when I married, it was given to me.”  The pancake syrup soon became the talk of the neighborhood. Its delicate honey taste and its rich, creamy consistency brought compliments from all that tasted it and ultimately requests for more!

#71 – 2TWater –  2T Waters, LLC – is committed to introducing premium beverages that are made with the finest quality of water. We are a health conscious company that mainly focuses on health beverages. We believe our water source is one of the purest natural springs known with no artificial mineral additives or demineralization.We specialize in presenting different beverages using our water source to provide our consumers with the healthiest beverages possible.

#72 – TGIN (Thank God I’m Natural) –  When Harvard graduate, Chris-Tia Donaldson  started her first law firm job, she wore a wig to disguise the fact that her hair was naturally kinky.

BLACK-OWNED HEALTH CONSCIOUS FOODS 

FOOD/DRINKS

#73 – Khepra’s Raw Food Juice Bar – Located at 402 H Street NE in Washington DC, this award-winning juice bar/ restaurant was founded by Khepra Anu, a raw foodist who has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge of systematic fasting and detoxification.

#74 – Karyn’s – Located at 1901 N. Halsted in Chicago, IL, this Black-owned restaurant serves cooked, conscious vegan comfort foods such as pizza, burgers, fries, meatloaf, taco salad, eggplant, and more. They also have a well-complimented vegan brunch and serve raw dishes for lunch and dinner.

#75 – The Grain Cafe – Located at 4222 W Pico Blvd in Los Angeles, CA, this restaurant appeals to vegans and vegetarians as well as meat-eaters. They serve veggie wraps as well as deluxe burgers with red berry ice tea or mint lemonade. Even their coffee is natural and organic.

 #76 –  Tassili’s Raw Reality  –  Located at 1059 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd Atlanta, Georgia is a fast casual restaurant located in Atlanta, Georgia.  They specialize in raw vegan cuisines and provide a unique variety of raw vegan entrees like spicy kale salad, kale wraps, and more.

#78 –  Land of Kush – Located at 840 N. Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD Voted 2015 Best Vegan Crab Cake by Baltimore’s City Paper!  They are the Ultimate Vegetarian Experience!  THE LAND of KUSH inspires you to feed your spirit.  They are Vegan Soul!  Celebrate a new way of life with healthier food.

HAIRCARE

#79 – CURLS: This Black-owned company is a nationally recognized leader in the natural hair care industry for their unique formulations of certified organic ingredients. Supported by Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Nia Long, Tia Mowry, and more.

#80 – Curl Kitchen: This Chicago-based company sells natural/ organic-based hair care products tailored to those who wish to embrace their tresses in its naturally ethnic state. Their products are for women and men with waves, curls, kinks, coils, and/or locs.

#81 – Indigofera Beauty: This Black-owned Etsy store produces a variety of all-natural, chemical-free hair care supplies that are made from plant-based ingredients and infused with essential oils. They are known locally and nationally for selling the best products for natural hair, coils, kinks and locs.

SKINCARE

#82 – Beija-Flor Naturals: This Black-owned Etsy store produces organic skin care and natural hair products. The brand is inspired by the owner’s Brazilian background and uses the best ingredients from the Amazon rain forest to the Savannahs of East Africa.

#83 – Blac Minerals: This Black-owned company sells 100% non-toxic, high quality, high performance, hand-crafted mineral makeup formulated for women of all colors. Their natural makeup products are lightweight, and blendable, helping your skin to breathe.

BLACK-OWNED HANDBAGS 

#84 – Minku – Minku is considered the Hermes of Africa when it comes to handbags. They are all handmade and can take up to 50 hours to complete and are lined with repurposed items of Yoruba ceremonial dress. The Nigerian company was started by founder Kunmi in 2011 and is a family-run business.

#85 – ZAAF – ZAAF offers handcrafted luxury leather handbags made in Ethiopia. They are crafted with the finest materials and produced in a remote Ethiopian village. The company was founded by Abai Schulze, a remarkable CEO who is under the age of 30.

#86 – Gregory Sylvia  – This handbag designer was co-founded by Gregory and Terri “Sylvia” Pope. The husband-wife team started their company in Charlotte, North Carolina and are known for their luxury, elegant handbags crafted from fine leather.

#87 – Adela Dejack – These African-inspired designer handbags are made in Kenya. Their collection of handbags, jewelry, and other accessories are inspired by African shapes, textures, and techniques. Designer Adèle Dejak had plenty of design experience in England and Italy before moving her company to Nairobi, Kenya in 2005.

#88 – Christopher Augmon – Christopher Augmon high-end luxury designer handbags are made in New York and reflect the richness of various cultures. His distinctive handbags can be found in boutiques around the United States and online at augmon.com.These designer handbags are made by many of the designers for both women and men.

BLACK- OWNED SHOE DESIGNERS 

 #89 – Artyce Design –  The vision of Artyce Footwear (named after the designer’s mom) officially came to light in 2004. Candra Palmer (Designer, Owner) brought her dream to life by creating a comfortable and stunning custom footwear collection catering to brides and those attending special events.

#90 – Samantha Shoes – Every woman needs at least one great pair of shoes. Women that wear larger shoe sizes, desire current fashion trends and are frustrated by the lack of availability. Samanta Shoes is dedicated to solving this global problem.

#91 – Amina Abdul Jillil – Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska Aminah began as a professional dancer in Los Angeles, performing with some of the biggest names in music including Britney Spears and Janet Jackson. She’s appeared in commercials for Pepsi, Mazda and New Balance and recently performed as lead character “Crimson” in Cirque du Soleil’s BELIEVE.

#92 – Jhung Yuro  – Launched in 2005 Jhung Yuro recognized a void in the men’s luxury lifestyle footwear market and filled it with a brand that offers detail, hand craftsmanship and limited availability for its products.

#93 – Fever Shoes and Swimwear – Natischa Harvey’s first foray into the shoe business came via Bakers.  While studying political science at Clark Atlanta University she moonlighted at the store, earning $6 an hour.  She treated it as a “paid internship” and by 2004 knew enough about the industry to open her own boutique

BLACK-OWNED FIRMS THAT HELP OTHER BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES

#94 – The Front Page Firm  – This firm, launched by PR executive Tosha Whitten Griggs (best known for her work with BET), is a full-service publicity boutique specializing in executive and talent visibility; television and film campaigns; red carpet premieres; and special events. They are known for being the go-to publicists for mainstream/urban media cross-over campaigns. Their clients include Bounce TV, the Queen Latifah Show, the Oprah Winfrey Network, and Spelman College.

#95 – Foote Communications – This firm, launched by marketing and PR veteran Neil Foote (best known for his work with the Tom Joyner Morning Show), combines traditional public relations and content management and social media for entertainers, entrepreneurs, corporations and educational institutions. His services include public relations, graphics & design, social media strategies, web site management, and more. Their clients include the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the African American Museum of Dallas, Rickey Smiley, and J. Anthony Brown.

#96 – BlackPR.com – This company, launched by marketing guru Dante Lee, offers an extensive press release distribution service to all the African American newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations. For just $150, they can help you get your story in some of the country’s top Black publications, and they can even help you get radio and TV interviews. Their clients include the NAACP, the Tom Joyner Foundation, Tavis Smiley, Iyanla Vanzant, TV One, and BET.

#97 – HBCU Connect – Looking to hire African American college students and graduate? This company, launched by social media pioneer Will Moss, can help you do that for as little as $249. Their online career center offers various options including posting simple job listings to options for banner ad packages and employer showcase listings. Their clients include Microsoft, FedEx, United Negro College Fund, Merck, and many Historically Black Universities and Colleges (HBCUs).

#98 – PR, Etcetera – This company, launched by African American PR veteran Toni Beckham, offers several professional marketing communication services including branding, crisis communications, public relations, media training, and even technical writing/proofing. Their clients include the Bay Area Black Expo, Rainbow/PUSH Silicon Valley Project, the City of Oakland, and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

#99 – TaylorMade Media – This company, launched by PR expert, media coach, and best-selling author Karen Taylor Bass, creates strategic public relations, branding, and marketing campaigns for corporations, luxury brands, celebrities, athletes, and entrepreneurs. Karen has been featured on Dr. Oz, CNN, BET, NBC Today, Fox-TV, and in Essence Magazine.

#100 – BBNomics Crowdfunding Site –  Building a Platform to aid Black people in pooling their resource and gain financial independence. BBNomics is all about group reliance, real money wisdom, for our people who want to beat the odds, prove everyone wrong and become a beacon of light in the world by living life with a purpose.

The aim is making an impact by providing a platform for everyone to actively engage in fundamental principles of group economics, group-love, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. It’s for our people who are serious about taking their lives — and their POWER — to the next level!

By Lynn (@lynnbbnomics) 

100 BLACK-OWNED BUSINESSES TO SUPPORT 365 DAYS A YEAR

To be added to this list and others,  click here [ ].

 

Posted on March 9, 2016 By Staff

BBNOMICS A CROWDFUNDING SITE

 SLIDE005

 

BBNOMICS A CROWDFUNDING SITE

We love the idea of crowd funding. So we decided to create one specifically for African/Black Owned business with BBNomics to create a self-help approach to the funding issues BOB’s face in this current market.  Crowd Funding is a perfect mixture of social media, wisdom of the crowds and good old-fashioned business. For those of you who don’t know what crowd funding is, it’s a way of collecting funds for a project, product or initiative. We are specifically targeted projects in predominantly black neighborhoods.

The concept is simple; people commit to funding your project but are only charged if you reach some pre-defined target. We specifically use PayPal’s for this idea and we used for a few reasons – mainly because it works internationally, unlike the alternatives which are USA only.

Through BBNomics you create an entire project; post it and we promote it for you our site and users can commit to funding your project directly from here. This has some massive benefits. All the time we spend marketing your project will benefit your own concept.

In order to qualify your concept must be 100% Black or African Owned, you have to do your homework; business plan, financial worksheet, research, a legit business model and much more. In addition, we will need 100% accountability once you meet your funding goals.

After you pay a few minimal processing fees, you keep 92% (partial proceeds to Paypal and the other portion to BBNomics) of your funders’ contributions. That’s more money for you to get your project started.

Another huge benefit is that you can create any type of project you want. As long as you aren’t breaking any of Crowdfunding or PayPal’s rules (which would only really prohibit illegal projects), you’re free to fund whatever you want.

What to do once you decide you want to crowdfund a business or project on BBNomics? 

  1. Tell your story. 

    As the old adage goes: facts tell, stories sell. When it comes to eliciting customer engagement, a campaign with a good story is an unparalleled strategy. Did you experience some kind of obstacle on your path to entrepreneurship? Did a major life event influence your career choice or business decisions? Tell your story in your crowdfunding pitch to make a connection with backers and encourage engagement.If you don’t have a personal story to share with your audience, share facts and highlights about your start-up, product or vision instead. Describe the problem (and severity of the problem) your product will solve, or discuss the vision for your start-up. Keep your tone and messaging personal to make backers feel closely connected to you and your project.

  2. Provide value for value. 

    Crowdfunding campaigns hinge on reciprocity. If your start-up offers fantastic products, rewards or opportunities, you’ve created a huge incentive for backers to pledge to your campaign. When choosing your reward tiers, reflect on whether the incentives would appeal to you if you were the consumer; ask friends, family members and business acquaintances for their honest opinions as well.

  3. Introduce scarcity. 

    A basic law of economics dictates that scarce supply inherently creates greater demand. Create greater demand for your start-up by limiting one or more of the higher level rewards to just a few — this will inflate demand for those rewards and result in higher pledge amounts for your crowdfunding campaign!

  4. Create a marketing event. 

    People love to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Try to build a feeling of excitement and rally others around your crowdfunding campaign by tying the launch to a large, well known event. You can connect your product to a holiday, sporting event, or season to increase the momentum surrounding your launch. You can leverage the emotional connection surrounding these events to get people excited about your product and engage them in discussions.This is especially useful for connecting with backers through social channels, capitalizing on trending topics and popular hash tags to get more eyes on your fundraise!

  5. Highlight examples of social proof. 

    Going back to the human desire to feel like a part of something bigger than themselves, most people don’t want to be the first or only supporter of a crowdfunding campaign — they want to see other influential advocates joining in. Do you have someone notable as an adviser, backer or endorser of your start-up? Share your list of partners and patrons to give confidence to new backers and let them know that they won’t be the only one at your party.

  6. Build credibility and legitimacy. 

    Many backers will believe it when they see it. In other words, they require some kind of evidence  that your start-up is legitimate and picking up steam before deciding to back your crowdfunding campaign. Show your backers what they’ll be supporting in detail — how it works, how you came up with the idea, and even pictures or videos if you have a prototype. Remember that you will likely never meet your backers, so the more proof you can provide that your start-up is legitimate the better.

  7. Interact with your supporters. 

    Don’t leave your backers in the dark for weeks after they’ve supported your project. Interact with your audience through frequent updates, thank-you emails or social media outreach, and responses to their questions and feedback.You can build anticipation and increase engagement in many ways. Post updates counting down to a big surprise regarding your project, conduct a product giveaway, or even host a contest involving your crowdfunding campaign. The opportunities here are endless and can be tailored for your specific start-up. When interacting with your backers, always encourage an open dialogue and engagement. In general, people would rather talk than listen. Treat your updates and outreach as a conversation rather than a one sided message.

 

 

Posted on January 14, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

BBNOMICS BLACK CROWDFUNDING SITE RAISED $40K SO FAR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

BBNOMICS
913-4BUYBLK
www.bbnomics.com

IMPRESSIVE: BBNOMICS BLACK CROWDFUNDING SITE RAISED $40K SO FAR

BBNOMICS: CROWDFUNDING SITE – THE POWER OF THE CROWD!

#1 BLACK CROWDFUNDING SITE IN THE NATION!

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) – BBNOMICS is proud to announce its Black Business generating crowd funding site, which serves as a means of creating the capital necessary to launch entrepreneurial endeavors. BBNOMICS has a built-in Marketing Program that will serve the business pursuits of black businesses entrepreneurs and organizations around the globe. Crowd funding is the perfect mixture of social media, business sense, and word of mouth crowd wisdom. Crowd funding is a way of collecting funds for a project, product, or business initiative in which both the investor and project recipient get rewarded for their submission to the project. It is also an engine of change for a new way of economics spurred by the power of cooperative investment. This crowd funding venture has at its core a goal of empowering predominantly black neighborhoods across the globe by circulating community dollars in a way that will foster the spirit and activity of business cooperation.

The concept is simple, people simply commit to funding your project and are rewarded once the project or organization reaches  the pre-defined goal. Through BBNOMICS you can create an entire project and promote it on the site for viewers to choose, at the minimum contribution of $5.00 anyone can enjoy investing. This has some massive benefits. For the duration of time your project is posted on BBNOMICS it will benefit tremendously from marketing and advertisement, giving your product or service a solid foundation to launch from. It is the purpose and desire of BBNOMICS along with its affiliates to the see the projects of its participants get funded and we are not afraid of the hard work and personal touch necessary to see your business dreams a success.

BBNOMICS in its concept and internal organization will have the awesome potential of creating a funding source for Africans globally. Cooperative Economics entails a group of people working together for the mutual benefit of their community and future. The goal is to create a minimum of 24 business owners per year; or in other words raising capital for 24 funded and fully functioning business entities, with a target funding goal of $1.8 million annually.

The plan is generate capital for small business by using unique and creative methods.  The way this organizations will do this is from good ole’ fashion investment backers contributing directly to the website and being rewarded for doing so. The other opportunity is created from BBE Investment Club.  BBNOMICS users will have the option of signing up for BBE INVESTMENT CLUB, which is a capital creating club that give individuals and our group access to thousands of dollars as an alternative to traditional funding.

Here’s the company’s message: “Get funded on BBNOMICS! We want to meet a 97% success rate; this we believe is possible through our $5.00 minimum contribution, as well as our commitment to have our backers rewarded for their contribution. Be there when our community is looking for meaningful projects to support. We now have a platform which assists the funding of Black/African Owned businesses worldwide. Connect with your backers by joining us and allow people to find you. Encourage your friends and family to visit the site and share, rate, recommend, and get rewarded for patronizing a business or organization of your choosing. BBNOMICS also provides an open forum for black business men and women to dialogue about economic topics relevant to collective success.”

BBNOMICS has a space where users can add photos, a company or personal bio, and a 180 second promotion “pitch” video. They allow users to make the most of their project by giving them an opportunity to showcase it to savvy backers who are searching for worthy projects to support. This continuous cycling of black-owned business activity will produce economic revitalization across the African Diaspora.

BBNOMICS RAISED $40K SO FAR BBNOMICS: CROWDFUNDING SITE – THE POWER OF THE CROWD! #1 BLACK CROWDFUNDING SITE IN THE NATION.

As part of the BBNOMICS program, users have access to the following benefits:

Traction.

When conducting a crowdfunding campaign, you may also generate traction for your start-up. This will be demonstrated through large amounts of backers, pre-orders of the product or service your start-up offers, or a significant amount of media interest. Generating traction is an important step to prove success and prepare for investor pitching.

Social proof.

When potential clients show interest in your start-up’s product or service, you’ve generated social proof. This is essentially showing that other people believe in what you’re doing. Another way to generate social proof is to take on advisers prominent in their respective (related) fields.

Press coverage.

Helpful media coverage could include a feature on your company in a popular news station, blog, or print publication. Press coverage will generate more eyes on your campaign and create brand awareness for your start-up. It’s also a great way to bring in backers outside of your personal network.

Marketing.

Throughout the course of your crowdfunding campaign, you’ll have the opportunity to engage supporters and grow your audience. The result? Your campaign doubled as marketing for your start-up!

Potential investor interest.

Investors are interested in ambitious entrepreneurs whose ideas have garnered traction and social proof. Whether they read about your new product on a popular blog, or hear about your innovative campaign from a friend, a successful crowdfund is a great way to capture investor interest.

The plan of BBNOMICS is to create the mindset and practice of cooperative economics. This method will encourage us to launch businesses, garner support from our community, all the while encouraging those same businesses to be responsible to the community.

For more details, visit the web site at www.bbnomics.com or contact inquiry@bbnomics.com or [913-4BUYBLK].

Twitterwww.twitter.com/buyblkeconomics
Facebookwww.facebook.com/bbnomics
-END-

 

BBNOMICS website translates into 60 different languages. Join today and give today.

 

Posted on January 13, 2016 By Staff With 0 comments

30 Ways You Can Practice Group Economics

 

African American family together inside their home

African American family together inside their home

  1. Produce a product
  2. Produce a service
  3. Outsource tasks to a member of the community
  4. Open an online store
  5. Open a physical store
  6. Host community events
  7. Use Black Business Directories
  8. Create community gardens
  9. Start making and selling your own clothes and accessories
  10. Source Black produced products
  11. Start or Join a Black Investment Group
  12. Find and join a Black Bank
  13. Crowdfund to raise capital
  14. Do A Weekly Sou-Sou
  15. If you don’t have money, barter
  16. Change your buying habits
  17. Vote with your dollars
  18. Create Trust Funds for your children OR an Endowment for an organization
  19. Fight for reparations
  20. Use “gentrification” to our benefit
  21. Build a co-op
  22. Hire Blacks
  23. Study Economics
  24. Join or Create a buying club
  25. Refer a Black business to someone else
  26. Share-A-Ride Ghetto taxi
  27. Buy Black but sell to anyone
  28. Improve your Financial IQ
  29. Hustle and Persistence
  30. Share this article Just one of these tips has the power to change lives and communities.

Produce a product

A product is any physical item that you create to sell. Look around you: everything you see is a product that someone else has created. You can do the same. The best products are those that solve a pressing need. Think toilet paper, books that teach readers to solve a problem or understand an important subject, or items that help customers express themselves.

You can also improve on an existing product. Create a better faucet. Create a better toilet. Create a better way to change your oil. Will it be hard? Sure. Will it be worth it? Hell yea.

Case study: I knew a Sistah that worked at a well-known coffee shop. She hated her job, but would make special custom drinks for customers that weren’t on the menu. When the job didn’t work out, she remembered her recipes, bottled them, and now sells them in the city she lives in to the same customers. Instead of the company getting the lions share of the product profit, it goes straight to her. That’s how you create a product.

Produce a Service

A service is any skill that you possess that the market needs and is willing to pay for. Plumbers, mechanics, HVAC, barbers, tattoo artists, computer programmers, and painters all have skills the market is willing to pay lots of money for.When considering a service that you may be able to provide, you will know if it is a good idea or not by answering the following question:

Is this something people could do by themselves?

If the answer is yes, come up with a better idea.

  • I can mow my own lawn
  • I can do my own grocery shopping*
  • I can wash my own car
  • I can clean up my own house

I am not paying you to do those things for me. But can I give myself a haircut? Can I fix my own car? Maybe you can, but I cannot. Can I program my computer (hell naw). These are services that people are willing to pay for. If you have skills that the average person doesn’t, there is your opportunity.

Think about all of the services you use on a weekly basis. Find a Black service provider to perform all of those same services for you.

* With so many Baby Boomers entering retirement, the need for personal services will skyrocket. Many elders can no longer do their own shopping, so there may be a market there.

Outsource tasks to a member of the community-Top

Buy Black

In business, outsourcing is the contracting out of a business process to another party. If you are in business, you cant do everything yourself. Outsourcing is like hiring a mercenary to take care of one-time tasks. Outsourcing is not as expensive as it may sound.  If you have $5, you can outsource web design, computer programming, accounting,

Want help with your natural hair? Try Marsha Willis. At only $5, she is cheaper than buying a book.

Need a Black male to do a voice over for your commercial? My man, cardi937  has done work for us (including our podcast) for $5.

Even if you cant find a Black service provider, use someone from outside of the community to get you into business. Here are a few:

Web and Graphic Design for $5

Business Planning for $5

Marketing and Branding Services for $5

Get your website on the front page of Google for $5

Facebook, Twitter, Other Social Page designs for $5

Open an online store –Top

Once you have created products to sell, or you have found someone who is willing to wholesale the product to you, open an online store. This Queen can help you do it for $5…yes….$5!

By opening an online store, you will have access to the entire world of customers. You will need to package and ship the products in a timely manner when orders roll in, but if other people have done it and make a living at it, you can too!

In order to open an online store, you will need to buy a domain name (for example, www.yournamehere.com) and hosting (the place where all of your words, pictures, and videos are stored online). We are one of the very few Black Web Hostingcompanies in the world. You can buy very cheap and reliable web hosting from us by clicking here.

You may also want to purchase a domain name from Godaddy. Domain names can cost anywhere from $1 to $13 per year. Buying your domain name ensures no one steals your idea, and is an important first step in getting started. Click here to register your Godaddy domain name.

30 Ways You Can Practice Group Economics

Open a physical store

While it may be more expensive to open a physical store versus an online store, there are many benefits. First, when discussing group economics, physical stores provide “anchors” in the community. Many people consider the businesses around them as a benefit of living in a particular area.Think popular barber shops or convenience stores.

If the businesses are Black owned and providing quality goods or services, that can have a positive impact on the entire community. There is also less competition, since anyone can open an online business, but everyone is not willing to physically open doors!

Host community events

Host community pot lucks, local group economic seminars, community yard sales, and other events that teach the rest of the community to put these tips into practice. Find a community center, boys and girls club, or a school with an auditorium or gym and get to work. The more people see their community coming together, the more they will be willing to participate.

Schools are particularly receptive to farmers markets setting up on school grounds on the weekend, so turn it into an event and an opportunity to make things happen.

Use Black Business Directories

There are seriously thousands of Black Business directories in existence. These directories range from the local to the global, and feature literally hundreds of thousands of businesses. Why aren’t you using them? Many of these directories have mobile device apps, or are mobile friendly, and let you search using your zip code to find the closest Black business to you.

If you are a business owner, add your listing to ALL OF THESE directories. If you are a consumer, use these directories to keep Black dollars in Black hands.

  1. Black Owned Biz – featured on BET, the directory has a growing list of 10,000 Black Businesses from all over the United States
  2. Black Trade lines – A convenient, easy to use Android and Apple app that lets you find nearby businesses using your cell
  3. Buy Black Economics – Cooperative Directory with reward incentives.

 

Create community gardens

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Start planning and gathering everything you will need for planting in the springtime during the fall and winter months. If you are getting started in the spring, there are fall and winter crops that you can grow and either eat, sell, or turn into a product to other members of the community.

My grandmother had a fig tree, a pecan tree, and a small garden in her back yard. She could make dozens of products from these few resources, including fig preserves and jams, deserts, pecans for sale by the pound (and pecan trees produce a shit ton of nuts), pies, etc. What we couldn’t eat, she would sell. What she couldn’t sell, she would give to the church or the homeless.

Community gardens also create opportunities to get the kids and the elderly in your community engaged. The mothers in nursing homes would appreciate being able to get back outside, or the opportunity to create products with fresh ingredients. Cleveland is an example of for-profit community gardens that we should be following. Check out what they are doing.

Start making and selling your own clothes and accessories-Top

Start by selling T-Shirts and hoodies online using a site called Teespring. Get a graphic designer create our T-Shirt designs on a site called Fiverr. For $5, you’re able to produce more than 12 profitable T-Shirt campaigns, earning us about $9,000 in profit. You have no excuse. Again, here are the resources: Fiverr – Use a graphic designer to create your T-Shirt designs. Most use Photoshop, and will have your order ready in 24 hours. Just be specific about what you want.

Teespring – Launch a campaign here. Start out with a low number as your goal until you get a feel for it

Repeat step 1 and 2.

Need proof we actually did this?

Source Black produced products-Top

Find low priced products from Black vendors and sell them for market value. If you can find a vendor in Liberia selling wood carvings for $10 and the store around the corner is selling them for $50, you have found an opportunity. Buy low and sell high. Use sites like Alibaba.com, Aliexpress and use Google searches to find suppliers.

Start or Join a Black Investment Group

An investment group or investment club is a group of family members, friends, co-workers, or like-minded individuals who pool a regularly invested dollar amount into a common banking account for the purpose of purchasing stocks, bonds, mutual funds, businesses, property, or other assets. There is no limit to the number of members your group can have, but as the African saying goes; “many hands make light work”. The more capital that is pooled, the bigger the ventures that your group is able to involve itself in.

Find and join a Black Bank

We have created a list of 21 Black banks still in business. These Black banks control a combined 4.7 Billion in assets. Banking with Black businesses is the very foundation of group economics! Check out the list here.

Crowdfund to raise capital

Many of us have mistaken soliciting online donations for crowd-funding. Crowd-funding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people. In exchange for contributing to a cause, you must be willing to give the donors something. Again, you don’t get away with just collecting up donations.

Case in point: When Tariq Nasheed wanted to fund his documentary, Hidden Colors, he offered donors anything from a complete DVD to your name listed as an Associate Producer on the film credits. The result? He raised more than $25,000 and is now on his third installment of the nationwide theater release.

Do A Weekly Sou-Sou

The concept of Sou-Sou is new to Black Americans, but sou-sou have served as a community savings plan for Blacks in the diaspora for generations. Read up on Sou-Sou in the article we published on the subject: Sou-Sou and the Path to Economic Empowerment

If you don’t have money, barter

Money isn’t always necessary to make an economy work. In fact, the definition of an economy is the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services. If you have a product or a service to trade for other things you need, don’t be afraid to negotiate.

Trade hair-styling for babysitting. Trade web programming for car repair. Trade a free apartment in your building for 24 hour maintenance.

Change your buying habits

It can be inconvenient to track down Black businesses that provide the goods and services that you are looking for. Practicing group economics means changing some of your buying habits to benefit your community. For instance, rather than using Google to find a business that has what you want nearby, use a Black business directory. Rather than shopping in physical stores, use the internet to find Black producers and shop for items before you need them.This reduces the need to run out and buy toilet paper at the last minute. You may have to drive a little further, or spend a little more, but the return on our community investment can outweigh the inconvenience.

Vote with your dollars

In his book, Powernomics, Dr. Claude Anderson discusses the link between group economics and politics. Politicians have the power to write economic zones into policy, giving the protection of law to Black operations and economic zones.

Put politicians and councilmen on notice: either take care of Black dollars, or we will take away your dollars. It worked in Ferguson, it can work anywhere.

Create Trust Funds for your children OR an Endowment for an organization

A trust fund is assets belonging to a trust (an arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries) held in a Black Bank (!) that can be distributed to your children. If you don’t have any children, or you wish to give your wealth to an organization after you ascend, use an endowment.

Endowments represent money or other financial assets that are donated to universities or colleges. The sole intention of the endowment is to invest it, so that the total asset value will yield an inflation-adjusted principal amount, along with additional income for further investments and supplementary expenditures. Typically, endowment funds follow a fairly strict policy allocation, which is a set of long-term guidelines that dictates the asset allocation that will yield the targeted return requirement without taking on too much risk. – Source

This is how we perpetuate group economics beyond our lifespans.

Fight for reparations

Some may not see reparations as practicing group economics, but if the TRILLIONS of dollars that have been given to other races, or that remains locked in the bank accounts of white nations (Belgium is still earning interest on the money made in the Congo under King Leopold III), were released back into our possession, that money could be used to regain control over the sources of production, land, and manufacturing. That alone could change our economic position for decades.

This article, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the best written cases for reparations. You owe it to him and to yourself to read it. His article will clarify your perspective on reparations once and for all. Click here to read the article.

Use “Gentrification” to our benefit-Top

One of my close associates was featured in this documentary that specifically addresses how we can use “gentrification” to our benefit. Watch and learn:

30 Ways You Can Practice Group Economics

Build a Cooperative –Top

A Cooperative is the professional title for a group of people working together for mutual benefit.  A cooperative business belongs to the people who use it – people who have organized to provide themselves with the goods and services they need, while making money at the same time. Member-owners meet regularly, present and hear reports on their business and investment activities, and hire General Managers to handle day-to-day affairs in their companies. Members invest in the businesses to provide capital for a strong and efficient operation,  and once the businesses start making money, the profits are returned to co-op members.

There are over 100 million people involved in 47,000 U.S. cooperatives that are in every sector of our economy. If they can do it, we can as well.  Read our article on the subject: Building a Black Cooperative Empire and then watch this video that breaks down how Cooperatives work:

Join @ www.buyblackeconomics.com 

30 Ways You Can Practice Group Economics

Hire Blacks

In her book, The New Jim Crow (If you haven’t read it yet, leave this post and go buy it.) Michelle Alexander teaches us that one of the aims of this new era of mass incarceration is to prevent Blacks from entering the job market. By hiring your own people, you can give an opportunity to a member of the community that may not have had the chance to prove their talents in the job market.

While its not easy to train and retain employees, if you are willing to put forth the effort it will pay off in an expanding business and an overall improvement in the conditions of our people.

Study Economics-Top

This should go without saying, but if you don’t understand economics, you are less able to “come up” and make economics work for you. The fastest way to get up to speed is by reading the following two books. If you haven’t read these, now is the time to pick them up:

  • Powernomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America
  • Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice

Join or Create a Buying club

We have talked a lot about building a Black Consumer Cooperative, aka a buying club, The following FAQ was taken from How To Start A Buying Club.

Why should I start a buying club?

There are many different reasons why one would decide to start a buying club. The motives range from controlling food sources to saving money by buying in bulk. Others include wanting to help local farmers, minimizing a product’s carbon foot print or simply yearning to get closer to the food system. This is just a small list, and the reasons vary for each buying club. We’ll see how the answer to this question impacts decisions below.

What are the different models of organization?

While the concepts behind most buying clubs are similar, their structure can vary greatly. Some models include:

  • Owner Run – In this instance, a single owner would operate the buying club as a business. Any price markup or member fees would be profit for the owner. While there could be a few part time employees, more often than not this model is a one person show.
  • Member Only Club – This type of club is generally more exclusive, sometimes even imposing a member limit. The members would be the owner, and may choose to hire employees to run the group. Member fees and markup help cover the business overhead, but the goal is maximize savings for the members.
  • Worker Co-op – Like most worker co-ops, this buying club would be comprised of a group of members, each required to volunteer a set number of hours per month. Since no one is paid, the price markups and membership fees can be kept very low and while the group enjoys bulk discounts.
  • Farm Owned – Occasionally a farm will decide to sponsor a buying club. Some sell only their products while others will also place orders with other distributors. This type of club is great if you’re looking to establish a relationship with your local producers.

There are infinite variations on the above models, but these are the basic type of buying clubs currently operating. That is one of the best things about starting your own buying club, you can feel free to pick and choose elements from each model and create something that works best for your group.

Who else, besides me, wants to be in the buying club?

Depending on where you live, this could either be an easy or difficult task. In some communities, uttering the words ‘raw milk’ could set off a three hour discussion about micro-flora and the FDA. Conversely, some towns might require an equally long discussion to explain why we would want to buy directly from farmers versus supermarkets.

Either way, below are a few ways to gauge interest in your local area:

  • Farmer’s Market – At a local farmer’s market you’re bound to be surrounded by people who take food pretty seriously. From the farmers to the patrons, strike up a conversation with a few people and see how they react. Also, depending on the rules at your local market, you might even be able to set up a stand. Bring a sign, some quarter-sheet handouts and a have a notebook ready to collect e-mail addresses.
  • Local Produce Markets – People who frequent or work at a smaller produce market might have some interesting insight into the local food scene. At the very least, you might be able to get some information on potential distributors.
  • Internet – The ‘Community’ section of Craigslist.com could prove to be useful. Publish a post explaining your plans and ask people to send along emails if they’re interested. Another site that could be useful is Meetup.com. Start a meetup group surrounding food and see if anyone’s interesting. Even if you don’t have an actual meetup, the site’s discussion tools are pretty useful.
  • Cooperative Extension – No matter how successful the prior avenues are, a phone call or meeting with your local cooperative extension would most likely prove fruitful. These people deal in the agriculture and community on a daily basis, and are always a wealth of knowledge.

What type of product (food, seeds, vitamins) do we want to buy?

Most people assume a buying club would be associated with products normally found at a supermarket, but that’s not always the case. At the very least, it can be just the beginning of a buying club’s scope. For instance, in one buying club members got together and ordered a palate of glass gallon jars. These jars were great for storing the bulk items ordered through the club. In another instance, the same group bought several dozen fermentation crocks at wholesale price. Nothing prompts the purchase of ten pounds of cabbage like a three gallon crock.

The point being, you can start with local produce from a farmer in your area. You can buy seeds in bulk for your respective gardens in the winter. Or, you can even purchase an entire animal in the spring to be split among the club’s members. What ever product you decide to buy as a group, it will inform future choices, such as…

Who can we buy these types of products from?

There are several types of distribution to consider when forming a buying club. This decision will require the group to really focus on what it’s trying to accomplish. Cheaper food for members? Getting food closer to its source? Generating more profit for the producer? These points and many others all have pros and cons.

Once the goals of the group are determined, there are three tiers of producers:

  • National Distributor – There are several national distributors that work with buying clubs. The benefits include lower prices, greater range of products, order credit plans and organization. Some of the drawbacks are non-local product sources and greater transportation distances. Also, some companies require commercial loading zones for delivery, which is something we’ll talk about more later.
  • Local Distributor – The existence of a local distributor in your area isn’t guaranteed, but there is normally at least one handling fresh produce. The pros in this case are locally sourced product, generally smaller delivery vehicles and the possibility of forming a close relationship with the company. Downsides can include less formal delivery schedules, cash on delivery (COD) requirements and large inventory fluctuations.
  • Direct from Producer – Buying the product directly from the producer is an excellent choice if possible. Not every farmer/producer is willing to deal in small quantities typical for buying clubs, but if an agreement can be reached this can lead to excellent business relationships. The plus to this arrangement is freshness of product, intimate knowledge of its source and the potential to even have a say in the product types available. Potential pitfalls range from a lack of delivery options, payment prior to delivery and inventory instability.

How do we collect member orders?

There are many ways in which clubs gather and organize member orders and they vastly range in technical requirement. Some groups get together in one place and compile the order together. Others telephone and/or email orders to one point person who then creates the order.

In more recent years, clubs have began embracing the use of Internet for this job. There are several software based options for on-line ordering and some groups even use the collaborative power of shared Google Spreadsheets.

How often do we place an order?

This can depend on needs of the buying club and the inventory of distributors. Some clubs order as often as once a week, while others order monthly or even quarterly. One scheduling detail that can be very important is being consistent on what day the order is final. It could be every Wednesday, or the first Tuesday of every month. Whatever it may be, members often find it helpful if a system is established and followed.

Where do we receive deliveries and split bulk items?

This ultimately depends on several factors, including how many people there are in your buying club, how large your orders are and who you’re ordering from. If your club is small and the distributor can deliver it to a members house, a residential living room or garage can suffice. If the club is a bit larger and/or a national distributor required a commercial loading zone you may have to consider a larger venue. Such spaces include churches, grange halls, community centers and even unused commercial spaces for lease.

Collecting and Compiling Member Orders

Depending on the size of your club, this will vary. If you’re five to ten people, simply emailing or calling in orders to a single order compiler would suffice. However, if your group is larger, you might want to consider an Internet based tool. On the simpler side of things, you could use a Google Spreadsheet and share it with all of the members. It can be useful to have a dedicated member watching this spreadsheet, in case product names, prices or orders are entered incorrectly.

If your group continues to grow, and the spreadsheet begins to hit its limits, there are several on-line software options to help manage member ordering and order compilation. Click here to see these tools under our Tools & Resources page.

Submitting the Order

This task depends on which distributor(s) you’ve decided to deal with. In some instances, faxing or calling in your order is an option, mainly with small vendors. However, a bulk of distributors will either prefer or require the order to be submitted electronically. In this realm, it’s usually either via email or an on-line form.

For example, Frontier accepts orders through an on-line ordering tool. This tool is extremely handy in that as your enter products, it will indicate if said product is in stock, back-ordered, or sold out entirely.

If you’re submitting your order by email, vendors usually prefer a spreadsheet format of some sort. Some will provide the format, others are just happy to be getting it electronically. Both the aforementioned spreadsheets and software option help take a lot of the busywork out of preparing the order for submission.

Receiving the Goods

Again, this section is dependent on the distributor. That said, you’ll almost always have to have someone meet the delivery. Be it the vendors own truck or UPS, it’s helpful to have a member available during the drop-off time window. Beyond ensuring the safety of your club’s food, you might also need to pay the delivery driver.

If possible, having multiple members at drop-off will be best. These people can help cross check the delivered items with the invoice and quickly discover any damaged or sub par items. After the delivery is complete, this small team can help organize the order and move any perishables into refrigerators or freezers.

In some clubs, these members can also begin splitting or weighing some of the items. Over time, you’ll be able to determine which products are best to do right after delivery, such as meats and/or cheeses. This may drastically help the next step of the process.

Splitting the Goods

An important part of splitting the order is giving yourself the right amount of time. This will take a couple of tries to figure out the optimal time, and is also dependent on how large the order is. For the sake of this explanation, let’s say it will take two hours to split the order.

Before you do a split, its also important to have the proper tools for the job. If there are items like flour or vegetables, you’ll need glove, scoops, bags and scales. You’ll also need a good amount of pens and markers.

Beyond the tools, you’ll also have to prepare several copies of the ‘split sheets’. These sheets list out, by product, which members purchased said product and in what quantity. Again, the on-line software tools are extremely helpful in this task. Also, if you’re using a Google spreadsheet to order, there may be scripts available for you to create split sheets.

With tools and split sheets in hand, have your splitting team meet two hours and fifteen minutes before the club pickup time. Initially, set up one or two areas with scales for weighing items, if needed. Another task is to set up a box or bag for each member’s order. Often times these can be place on chairs to avoid constant bending over. Each of these boxes should also have either the member’s name on it or their receipt, or both. This will help avoid confusion once the distribution of items begins.

In most orders there are items that need to be weighed and bagged, while others can simply be placed in the member’s box (dry beans vs. dozen of eggs). Split the group into several teams, with some weighing and bagging and the others distributing the rest of the product. As the items are placed in their proper box, it can help to check that item off of the member’s receipt. Once all of the product has been split and distributed, it is a good idea to double check everyone’s box, making sure that all items on the receipt (that were delivered) are in the box. Now you’re ready for pickup.

Managing Pickup and Checkout

Member pickup can be an extremely social, fun time. That said, it’s also important that the process is organized as multiple business transactions will occur. The longevity of your buying club may depend on financial accuracy, especially in the beginning.

If you’ve opted to place each member’s order in a box, clearly marked with their name, the member shouldn’t have any issue finding their order. It can also help to put said boxes in alphabetical order. It is important to remind everyone that they should double check their order box with their receipt. This will help prevent any issue after they leave.

For checking out, you can have one or many people taking money. Sometimes it can help to have someone walking the line, reminding people the payment options, who to make checks out to and fielding questions. This way, once a member reaches a checkout station, they are as prepared as possible.

As mentioned before, it depends on the size of your club and your preference, but generally its a good idea to have an organized means of tracking who’s paid what? This will be invaluable in the reconciliation step, instead of trying to remember who paid with cash or a check hours or days after the fact.

Some things to keep track of are member name, amount paid, if that amount is paying for other items such as past orders or another members order. Keeping track of cash, check or credit is also helpful. If you are collecting checks, be sure to note the check number.

Once all orders have been picked up and each member checked out one final and important part is left, cleanup. Regardless of if you’re renting, borrowing or own your space, its imperative that there be people tasked with cleaning the space after pickup and checkout. If possible, its good to have these cleaners be someone other than splitters or checkout people, as those people are normally fairly tired by this point.

From there, the money must get to the person who will deposit it into the bank, and the final numbers must be shared with people in the club who’ll need them.

Reconciling the Order

This less communal step is very important to the fiscal health of your buying club. Here, you want to make sure that the amount of money that came in from your members roughly equals the amount you have paid, or will be paying the distributor. Some things to consider are products that weren’t delivered, broken or spoiled products and any price changes in products after the order was placed. There are a whole slew of other possible hang ups in the reconciliation process, but if the checkout process was organized and well recorded, it shouldn’t be anything insurmountable.

If there are any discrepancies, you’ll possibly have to contact the distributor and determine a solution and/or alter credits or debits on a member’s account. Like any business, you’ll have to determine your own threshold when dealing with losses.

Case study: The Ujamaa Food Coop Food Buying Club is a program of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. Through this program, members of the club are able to purchase a wide variety of healthy foods, supplements, and household items at very discounted prices.

Every four weeks, members submit orders through our vendor, United Natural Foods (UNFI), which is the largest natural foods distributor in the United States. Each member receives a user name and password, with which they can log into the UNFI web site, browse products and choose items to order. Their orders are submitted electronically, and are delivered to the Detroit address of the food buying club.
UNFI has an extensive selection of items to choose from, including bulk beans, nuts, and grains, frozen and refrigerated items, cereals, vitamins and supplements, soaps and detergents, etc; anything available through popular local health food stores is available through UNFI, except for fresh produce which is supplied to the group by a farm.

 

Refer a Black business to someone else

Marketing a business is expensive and time consuming. Word of mouth has proven to be the most effective way of giving some shine to a Black business,  so actively and consciously make an effort to recommend and exceptional barber shop, restaurant, retailer, or service provider!

Use social media to re-share their content, and engage with others who use the products and services of a company that you like. If you own a business, let us know and we will give you some shine.

Share-A-Ride Ghetto taxi

Unless you live in a city like New York (with excellent public transit infrastructure), if you don’t have a car it can be hell getting around. Public transportation is filthy, crowded, and unreliable. Why not team up with someone in the community who may be unemployed but has a car?

If you are the driver, determine how much the trip would cost in gas using this site, and use that as a basis for charging your customer. Of course, you could do Uber or Lyft, but we are trying to practice group economics by providing a service to the community, earning, and spending our money among ourselves!

This is not a hard idea to put into practice, and judging from the success of both Uber (which made $213 Million in 2014) and Lyft (which made around the same) we could use a service like this. Use our Black Business Directory, or any other for that matter, to advertise your service!

Buy Black but sell to anyone

A self-explanatory statement, but create businesses that cater to everyone. Everyone eats Chinese food. You can find a German BMW in every inhabited country on Earth. Tommy Hilfiger hates Blacks, but will happily sell his clothing to them.

Improve your Financial IQ-Top

Financial IQ

Once you have started making money, the next step is to learn to properly manage it and use it to make more of it. This is not step one, nor should learning about money take the place of action. There are 5 key areas that you should become familiar with:

  • Real Estate
  • Securities
  • Personal Finance
  • Business Systems
  • and Banking

Understanding these areas will help you maximize the money that you are able to make and keep. Subscribe to this site for articles and resources on these subjects written by members of the community that work in these sectors.

Hustle and Persistence

Being Black and “in business” doesn’t mean you will succeed. Nobody owes you anything. Money is hard to come by, particularly in the Black community. To get customers to part with their hard earned dollars, you will need a heavy dose of hustle, business savvy, and a willingness to over-deliver.

Entrepreneurship is hard work. If you’re not struggling then you’re not operating at a high enough level.  From the moment you get up to the moment you go to bed, you want to be over-scheduled and HUSTLING.

There will be setbacks. Blood will be drawn. Friends and family will set you up for failure. Maybe even steal or destroy your ideas. Things will break down. That’s the fog of war. If you cant persist through challenges (and there WILL be challenges) you don’t deserve survival. In this world, only the strong survive. This is a harsh truth, but truth nonetheless.

Source 

Posted on November 9, 2015 By Staff With 2 comments

10 steps to Crowdfunding Success

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There Is More to Crowdfunding Than People Realize

Many people who are new to the concept of crowdfunding are unaware of all the preparation that goes into a successful crowdfunding campaign and usually make the same mistakes that fall under one or more of the steps explained below. They also tend to rush their idea onto a popular site without having a proper understanding of how it works and what motivates people to contribute to a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign. The goal of this article is to present a realistic view of rewards-based crowdfunding and the steps that need to be addressed in order to achieve success.

The Needle In The Haystack Syndrome

The first thing to understand is that the popular crowdfunding sites have hundreds of pages and host thousands of campaigns on any given day. It’s very easy to get lost on those sites and become a needle in a haystack, resulting in little visibility and support for your idea. Preparing a crowdfunding campaign takes time, effort and strategy, and it should not be done with limited knowledge or in haste.

The Numbers Are Not In Your Favor

The combined success rate of the two largest crowdfunding sites is slightly over 30%. This means that around 70% of the projects they host fail to fund. This is why you need to have every advantage on your side if you’re serious about using crowdfunding to launch your vision.

There are many more nuances involved in rewards-based crowdfunding but for the sake of brevity, I will not attempt to address them all right here. Also, all campaigns are unique and come with their own set of circumstances, so it’s not always one size fits all. Here are ten steps that just about all campaigns can benefit from.


1) Learn About Crowdfunding & Choose the Right Platform

There is voluminous amounts information on the web that can educate you on the subject of crowdfunding. Take some time to learn about it and all that’s involved in running a campaign to see if crowdfunding is right for you.

There’s really no way to write about crowdfunding platforms without mentioning Kickstarter and Indiegogo. They are by far the giants of the industry, but there are pros and cons to using those sites. There many other effective platforms to choose from that may be a better fit for you. Do your research and compare the different models, then you can make an informed decision when committing to the platform that will best suit your needs.

2) Define Your Idea & Goals

Define your idea and goal in clear, concise terms. Create a business plan or a well-thought-out strategy to penetrate the market you intend to enter. Having a good idea is one thing but it’s another proposition to implement a plan of action and see it through to its ultimate realization.  A thorough business plan can be the best way to achieve a clear vision with an actionable strategy that will allow you move forward with unshakable confidence. You can use portions of your business plan in your presentation too, so it serves several purposes.

3) Scrutinize Your Idea

Start to expose your idea to people you know, which can be done in many ways. Social media is an easy way to reach a lot of people but you should also present your plan in person, to trusted acquaintances and start to gauge interest for your idea. Ask them to be brutally honest with you and try to find inconsistencies with your plan. During this step you can receive valuable feedback that can help you refine your concept and address any miscalculations made, before you go live. Your business plan can be updated as you go, so stay nimble in your thinking.

You should carefully consider feedback, but be sure to stay true to your vision. Don’t let negative feedback discourage you from following your dream if you truly believe in it. It should be noted that many crowdfunding campaigns (and business ideas for that matter) that seemed unconventional and deemed not viable in their early stages, went on to overfund by large multiples, so no-one ever knows how a campaign will do until it goes live.

4) Create Pre-Campaign Awareness and Support

Often overlooked, and one of the most important steps required to be put in motion before you start your campaign is to raise awareness and gather support for your idea. This can take anywhere from 1- 6 months, depending on the size and scope of your project, your networking skills and marketing abilities. If this step is missed or taken lightly, your campaign will have a far lower chance for success.

Studies have shown that almost all successful crowdfunding campaigns were initially funded between 20-35% through the project creators pre-campaign awareness efforts within the first two weeks of launch. Again, without this early support, your chance of success can drop drastically. Keep in mind, you will need this early support no-matter how popular the crowdfunding platform you choose. The first two weeks can make or break a campaign and usually sets the tone for the remainder. That’s why this step is so important.

An effective way to gain momentum is to find groups that may have a common interest in your projects completion and try to leverage their support. It’s important to promote your campaign outside of your network to organizations or bloggers and reach out to people who are also passionate about your project.

Rewards based crowdfunding, in most cases, is an exchange of goods and services; it’s not a charity, so don’t be shy, and be creative when seeking support. Get out of your comfort zone, be proud and loud and evangelize your message.

5) Use a Proven Strategy When Designing Your Campaign

During this step you should take some time to study other campaigns, successful and unsuccessful. Learn why some campaigns were successful and why some weren’t. What was it about these campaigns that made the crowd want to support them? There are thousands of campaigns at your fingertips and so much can be learned from this process alone.

Many campaigns touch the crowd at an emotional level, while others offer cool products and rewards, but the most successful ones do both. Another reason people contribute to campaigns is to be part of the creative experience, so include your supporters wherever you can. It’s important to determine what your project offers and then structure it accordingly.

Remember, don’t make your campaign about yourself. When telling your story, make sure you focus on what your project will do for others. Most people care more about their own needs or a cause rather than what your needs are, so don’t get hung up on you.

6) Make an Awesome Presentation

Your presentation to the crowd can make a huge difference in your results. Be sure to include as much visual imagery and information to illustrate what your project is about and how you will achieve your goal. By making the best presentation possible, you will demonstrate that you are professional and serious about your vision. If you have any manufacturing abilities to create your new product, show it, if you have prior projects or experience, show that too. People will need to trust and believe that you can do what you say you will. You will also want to get the crowd excited to be a part of your project and a strong presentation is a great way to do that.

7) Setting Your Funding Goal & Campaign Time-frame

It’s important to set a realistic funding goal that fits the size and scope of your project. When setting your goal, be sure to ask for only what you will need, but don’t shortchange your project either. Be sure to show your contributors what the money will be spent on in a budget overview. Transparency is an important element of crowdfunding.

Choosing a time-frame is a matter of preference, but most of the interest in successful campaigns happen within the first 30 days. Although it’s not always advertised, many crowdfunding platforms allow time extensions, especially if your campaign is popular, so depending on the site you choose, a minimum of 30 days and maximum of 60 days is a pretty safe range. After 60 days, interest is limited and 45 days is probably ideal for most campaigns.

8) Offer Desirable, Exciting Rewards and be Sure You Deliver

Rewards or perks are an essential part of rewards-based crowdfunding. You will be required to deliver these items to your contributors. The expenses for these items should be accounted for in your budget as well. This is how you thank your contributors for having faith in you and supporting your project. It’s important that you offer creative, exciting rewards in return for contributions. In many cases, involvement in your project in one form or another can be a very popular reward or perk. Remember, you will have to follow through on your commitments to your contributors, because if you don’t, it will hurt your reputation.

Many people confuse crowdfunding with charity, and while that may be true in some instances, it’s generally not the motivation by which people contribute to creative campaigns. In most cases, the success of your campaign will have a direct correlation with the rewards that are offered in exchange for contributions, so it’s very important to make them desirable with realistic price points.

9) Your Video

Make a short video that will best represent you, your team, and your idea. Your video allows the crowd to connect with you on a more personal level. Studies have shown that campaigns without videos have a lower chance of success. Your video does not have to be of the highest production value, it just has to effectively convey your idea to the crowd. With that being said, your video will be an important representation of your project, so it should be of decent quality. Be creative and have fun when making it, and be sure to keep it under five minutes (even less is better). Keep in mind, your video may be the only piece of your presentation that many people will take the time to engage in, so make it count.

10) Time to Launch

Prepare for launch: this is your chance to share your unique vision with the world! Once you launch you must dedicate time and energy every day your campaign is live. The crowd should be viewed as your partner in your new endeavor and be involved in every step of the process. Update them as often as you can, read their comments and interact with them during this phase.

Ultimately, the crowd will decide whether you are trustworthy and if your idea is one they wish to support. So put your best foot forward, be honest, transparent, and gain the crowds trust. Create a buzz and get the crowd excited to be involved in your campaign and support your vision.

Final Note
As in life, there is no guarantee of success in crowdfunding, and not every idea is going to resonate with the crowd, even if all the steps mentioned above are followed. However, by following these steps you will afford your idea the best opportunity for success. If these steps are ignored, or done half-heartedly, you will most likely fall into the 70% of campaigns that fail to get funded.

10 steps to Crowdfunding Success

Posted on October 23, 2015 By Staff

CROWDFUNDING STATISTICS

Crowd Funding campaign finances your project with investment from people on the internet who want to support your company or cause

Crowd Funding campaign finances your project with investment from people on the internet who want to support your company or cause.

Campaigns that can gain 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed.

Crowdfunding is a rapidly growing industry. Below, we explore key statistics including the average raise sizes, the impact marketing has on average raise, and the underlying demographics driving crowdfunding.

Key Crowdfunding Statistics

Smaller Goals are More Attainable

  • Average successful crowdfunding campaign is around $7,000
  • Average campaign lasts around 9 weeks
  • Campaigns that can gain 30% of their goal within the first week are more likely to succeed
  • Marketing Drives Raises

There is a direct correlation between the number of outside links to a crowdfund and the success of the fundraise.
Social Media is a critical factor in crowdfunding success: for every order of size increase in Facebook friends (10, 100, 1000), the probability of success increases drastically (from 9%-, 20%, to 40%).

Demographics of the Crowd

In mid-2012, the American Dream Composite Index surveyed a sample of the U.S. population to show demographics for general crowdfunding participants.

  • Age. Individuals ages 24-35 are much more likely to take part in crowdfunding campaigns; those over 45 are much less likely to back campaigns
  • Gender. Men are much more likely to take a risk on an unknown startup
    Income. Those earning over $100,000 per year are the most likely to invest in startups through crowdfunding

Source: Fundable 

Posted on September 26, 2015 By Staff

THE BASICS OF CROWDFUNDING

 

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What it is: Crowdfunding is about persuading individuals to each give you a small donation — $1, $10, $50, $100, maybe more. Once you get thousands of donors, you have some serious cash on hand.

This has all become possible in recent years thanks to a proliferation of websites that allow nonprofits, artists, musicians — and yes, businesses — to raise money. This is the social media version of fundraising.

There are more than 600 crowdfunding platforms around the world, with fundraising reaching billions of dollars annually, according to the research firm Massolution.

How it works: The most common type of crowdfunding fundraising is using sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo variety, where donations are sought in return for special rewards. That could mean free product or even a chance to be involved in designing the product or service.

It is also possible to use crowdfunding to assemble loans and royalty financing. The site LendingClub, for example, allows members to directly invest in and borrow from each other, with the claim that eliminating the banking middleman means “both sides can win” in the transactions. Royalty financing sites appear to be more rare, but the idea is to link business owners with investors who lend money for a guaranteed percentage of revenues for whatever the business is selling.

The holy grail is to sell company shares or ownership stakes in the company on crowdfunding sites, because it could be like a mini-IPO without the traditional hurdles. In the past, this has only been legal with accredited investors, people who each have more than $1 million in net worth or more than $200,000 in annual income.

The good news is that the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 allows stock to be sold to the general public over crowdfunding sites, but as of mid-2013, the SEC was still hammering out the rules.

Upside: Crowdfunding provides another strategy for startups or early stage companies ready to take it to the next level — such as rolling out a product or service. Before, a business owner was subject to the caprices of individual angel investors or bank loan officers. Now it is possible to pitch a business plan to the masses.

A successful crowdfunding round not only provides your business with needed cash, but creates a base of customers who feel as though they have a stake in the business’ success.

Downside: If you don’t have an engaging story to tell, then your crowdfunding bid could be a flop. Sites such as Kickstarter don’t collect money until a fundraising goal is reached, so that’s still a lot of wasted time that could have been spent doing other things to grow the business.

It could be even worse if you meet your goal but then realize you underestimated how much money you needed. A business risks getting sued if it promises customers products or perks in return for donations, and then fails to deliver.

There is also an argument to be made that angel investors and even bank officers provide more than just money. They provide entrepreneurs with needed advice. Business owners miss out on such mentorship when they ignore traditional investors and turn to the crowd.

Here are more factors that can better ensure a successful crowdfunding campaign:
● Have at least a small network of enthusiastic friends and family willing to help get the ball rolling by giving and urging others to give.
● If you’re giving out perks in return for money, make sure the perks are cool.
● Present a serious business plan and an explanation of why the money will take your enterprise to the next level.
● Demonstrate that you have your own skin in the game because of the personal funds you have already poured into the business.
● Include a video pitch and keep it short and concise, with a call to action.
● PBS includes different rewards for different levels of giving; so should you.
● Be prepared to essentially live online, staying active on social media sites, until the crowdfunding camp

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228125#ixzz2fMo6KUh7

Posted on September 10, 2015 By Staff