How To Spread Your Idea

We live in a world with information overload. There are too many choices and too much information coming at us faster than we can possibly process. In such a scenario how can you grab the attention of your target audience? Marketer Seth Godin makes some very important points in his 2007 TED talk which are still relevant today half a dozen years later. Godin says it’s important to stand out and be different and provide a product or service that is remarkable. Mass marketing is where you make average products for average people and advertise to the masses but then nobody remembers your message as it doesn’t stand out. Instead he says you must target early adopters, they are the ones that will likely to listen to what you have to say. If you sell to them, maybe they will spread the word to people they know and information about your product will spread one person at a time and soon will catch on.

And in order for the early adopter to notice – your product or idea needs to be remarkable; because early adopters are people that are passionate about the things they love, they will go that extra mile for the things they believe in and love. And once you they’re completely in on your idea, they will spread the word for you because they love your product so much, they want to share it with their friends.

Are you a budding entrepreneur with a good idea? Take it from good to exceptional or remarkable and target the section of your audience who are likely to be early adopters!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBIVlM435Zg

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Blood Moon – First of A Tetrad
Apr19

Blood Moon – First of A Tetrad

Those of you that missed the blood moon last Monday in all it’s spectacular celestial glory, worry not, for you will have a few more chances  as the moon dresses up in an orangey-red, so save these dates for the moon – Oct 8, 2014, April 4, 2015 & September 28, 2015! According to Nasa, the blood moon or the red glow is created by the Earth as it blocks the light from the Sun, when the red glow that envelops the earth is cast on the moon. (USA Today).

These photos were taken with my phone camera, I’m hoping to have an actual and more powerful camera by the time the moon decides to hide behind the earth again so my pictures don’t look so pathetic:).

Blood Moon:

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Regular Old Moon, Right After:

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Inspiration: Beautiful Package Design
Apr17

Inspiration: Beautiful Package Design

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Images Courtesy The Dieline

 

 

 

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Clean Water For All
Apr17

Clean Water For All

In the US clean safe water is taken for granted and the average person uses over 570 liters of water a day! Compare this to a world where 768 million people do not have access to clean safe water, which is one in ten people. People have to walk miles just to get water from a dirty pond, if not rely on expensive water vendors. Women in Africa and Asia often carry water on their heads weighing 20kg (44lbs) (UNDP: Human Development Report, 2006) and spend hours a week fetching this basic necessity for the household, oftentimes children are involved in this endeavor too. Time and energy spent on fetching water negatively impacts people’s life in other areas like earning potential and education in the  case of children. On top of everything else, unsafe drinking water results in water-borne disease killing 2000 children a day.

Photo Courtesy WaterAid

Photo Courtesy WaterAid

Thankfully, organizations like WaterAid are trying to tackle this problem and last year they were able to provide 1.7 million people with safe water, please help bring clean water to children around the world, help fundraiser for this cause and donate  at: http://www.wateraid.org  These guys are doing an incredible job!

Also, we in the need to make an effort to not waste water and help in water conservation, but that’s a topic for another blog.

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Crowdfunding
Apr17

Crowdfunding

Standard crowdfunding started out as donation-based fundraising for businesses or creative projects via an online funding platform. Project creators set a fundraising goal and deadline, donors donate and the crowd funding platform charges a small fee for their service. Some have an application process and others don’t. The type of funding offered are usually based on an:

  1. All or Nothing Model: When the fundraising period is over, the pledged money is only collected from the contributors if the fundraising goal is met. If the goal is not met, no money is collected, i.e you don’t get any money.
  2. Keep it All Model: Whether the goal is met or not, all the money is given to the entrepreneur minus the commission.

Some platforms offer a choice of either or.

They can also be classified a

  1. Donation based fundraising
  2. Debt based fundraising.
  3. Equity based fundraising.

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Here’s a very brief overview of some of the donation-based crowd funding platforms available to you

kickstarter.com is one of the most popular crowd funding sites, they focus on creative ideas in design, arts, gaming and technology. They have a rigorous selection process. The model they follow is the all or nothing model. Their website says that 44% of projects have reached their funding goals.  Creators have 100% ownership of their work, funders may get rewards from the creator (funded). If a project is successfully funded, kickstarter applies a 5% fee to the funds collected. According to the stats provided on their website, out of the most successfully funded projects, the top three categories were: Music, film and video and art.

indiegogo.com’s projects are in three broad categories: Creative and performing arts, causes and entrepreneurial ventures. You’ll have to choose between flexible and fixed funding. They take 4% fees if you reach your goal in either funding choices – flexible or fixed. If you don’t reach your goal, in a flexible funding you keep what you earned but you give up 9% in fees. For fixed funding, you get nothing and the collection is returned to the backers.

There’s no application process, so decide on the amount you want to raise and your deadline, create a pitch video and in it convince people why they should back you and create your campaign. Also, figure out what kind of rewards you want to offer your backers, it could be anything from a discount on your product to a thank-you party.

gofundme.com is a crowdfunding platform for personal projects like medical emergencies, natural disasters, community projects, etc. Create your page, share with friends and collect donations. They take 2.9% plus $.30 for every transaction.

kapipal.com is an international platform for personal crowd funding. No fees are charged, you just set up your Kapipal page and start collecting contributions, of course you’ve got to let people know about your cause, so send your page’s url to your network, announce it on your social networks and get the word out there. All money contributions are donations, perhaps you can set up some kind of reward for your donors, like a tee-shirt or goodie bag. All money transactions are done through paypal.

peerbackers.com offers an online “crowdfunding” platform to help raise money by attracting many small donations from a large group (friends, family, professional & social contacts) to meet a funding goal and donors receive rewards or perks for their contributions. Submissions are reviewed and once you’re approved to fundraise on their platform go ahead and let everyone in your network know. If your goal is reached you’re charged 5% fees and all the funds go the project creator, who is responsible for delivering the rewards to the backers. If the goal isn’t reached there are two things that can happen, one, if you’re able to still deliver the rewards to the backers all the funds raised will be handed to you but if you can’t fulfill the rewards without reaching the goals, then the money is returned to their backers.

somolend.com provides small business loans funded through social local lending. If you’re a small business looking for loans or an investor looking to invest in a small business, this is the platform for you.You communicate your needs and negotiate with them and if it works for both the lender and you, you get accepted. After the fundraising campaign ends, you transfer the monthly loan payments to SoMoLend  and they pay the lender every month for the life of the loan.

“SoMoLend provides a secure platform that automates the business loan campaign development process, interest rate negotiations, contracts, fundraising progress, and payments.” (somolend.com)

They’ve added a new branch to their lending where they enable you to borrow from friends and family or your immediate circle of contacts, they receive a return on their investment in the form of interest.

rockethub.com lets you keep your funds whether or not you reach your goal but if you reach your goal they take 4% commission, and if you don’t reach your goal, they take double that in fees. Rockethub has a partnership with A&E for Project Startup where they will support innovative entrepreneurs with seed money and possible national exposure.

artistshare.com is a website that connects creative artists with fans allowing them to share in the creative process and fund the creation of new artistic works.  ArtistShare created the Internet’s first fan funding platform for artists.

healthfndr.com focuses on innovative startups that are in the health care field. It is highly curated

app split.com is a crowdfunding website where you can raise funds for your apps and sell them (developer) and bid on app ideas as a backer.

appbackr.com is a donation based funding to get apps off the ground and running.

foodstart.com helps restaurants and food trucks raise capital online in small amounts. In exchange, backers receive great perks like food discounts, guaranteed tables, and behind-the-scenes tours all redeemable with a physical card they receive in the mail.

microryza.com is crowd funding for science and research projects.

petridish.org where you fund science and explore the world with renowned researchers.

youcaring.com is a simple, FREE online platform created for people who want to fundraise for causes they care about. From medical expenses, to memorials and mission trips or even pet care — if it’s important to you it qualifies you to set up a free online fundraiser. They provide you with customizable personal fundraising webpages to help you spread your cause and raise support. No fees or commission.

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 Create Your Own Crowfunding Platform.

ignitiondeck.com – your own custom crowdfunding platform. Do you want a crowdfunding platform on your own website with no middlemen? There’s IgnitionDeck – a wordpress crowdfunding plugin. There are three different pricing options, as of now starting at $79, which can be used for an unlimited number of campaigns. The IgnitionDesk Enterprise will let you build a crowd funding platform like kickstarter. They do not charge a fee so you get to keep all your donations. Works if you have a known market you can get to pledge and have resources and ways of getting the word out there.

www.selfstarter.us provides the source code to create your own crowdfuding website. So find a programmer or if you’re good at it, and have the time, this would be for you. It’s totally free.

crowdvalley.com is the site to go to if you need help with crowdfunding infrastructure, platforms and associated in the areas of energy, lending, real estate and securities. So you subscribe to a platform, set up your own online funding portal and run it with powerful management tools.

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Equity & Loan Based Crowdfunding

lendingclub.com – where you can get personal loans from investors at lower rates than banks, but yes of course it depends on your credit score and history. Borrowers apply for a loan, get funded and start making payments. Investors open an account, build a portfolio, earn and reinvest.

fundable.com allows you to create your company’s profile and choose a rewards or equity fundraiser, for rewards be prepared to provide your backers with some kind of reward, e.g. a copy of your product and for equity based fundraiser, which by the way is only for accredited investors, and you offer a stake in the company. The rewards based fundraiser typically collects less than $50,000. There’s a $99/month fee for their services.

fundingcircle.com funds business owners with money from accredited investors. If eligible, you complete an online application. Within 48 hours you’ll receive indication of your credit standing, submit materials for verification and receive final approval and funds within 5-14 days when all materials are provided. The money you receive is not crowd sourced, instead it is backed by accredited investors and these platforms do allow investments at lower levels such as $1000, $3000 per investor.

angel.co is a platform that brings together startups and investors. You set up your profile and they will review your profile and if approved, you’ll get featured to matching investors. You use the site like a social network.

microventures.com connects angel investors to startups. They look for startups and existing businesses with an unique idea or an innovative spin to old technology that need between $100,000 and $1,000,000 in capital. Their primary areas of interest are internet technology, media and entertainment, software, green technology, mobile, social and gaming. Some of the variables used to measure if your business would be a likely candidate include: evaluation of suitable risk, likelihood of profitability and willingness to give up equity.

Consumer Product Focused Crowdfunding

circleup.com is a crowd funding platform that connects investors and innovative consumer and retail companies. Only 2% of companies that apply are accepted. They look for consumer and retail companies that have substantial revenue and other indicators of potential success. Companies have to have more than 1 million in revenue and a tangible product you can touch, taste or visit. Their main focus is high-growth consumer products in food, beverage, personal care, pet products, sporting goods, apparel, household product, retail and restaurant industries.

They have a large team of investors that have hands on market experience. CircleUp’s average funding time is 2-3 months and they also have partnerships with strategic companies in the marketplace whose expertise can be utilized by growing business with a great product.

crowdsupply.com is unique in that they support you at different stages of your progression in getting your product out to consumers – from conception to delivery. On submitting a concept for approval, you get engineering, marketing and business guidance. They make introductions to potential manufacturers and suppliers. Collect email addresses on a coming soon page featuring the name and image of your product and work with you to prepare a list of media to notify them of your product as soon as it launches. What sets Crowd Supply apart is that once your fundraising goal is met, they offer creators pre-order management, warehousing and fulfillment to help make the transition to operating a business easy. Pre-orders run from end of campaign to the order fulfillment of orders taken during the campaign. They can also continue to help you in retail sales either by buying inventory from you or by taking orders for drop shipping. There is no set fee structure, they are to be negotiated. Also, they release funds to the entrepreneur as soon as minimum goals are reached so they can reach their delivery deadlines. Like Kickstarter, they take 5% of the funds raised in fees. Order fulfillment is separate from raising funds and has separate terms.

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