The In Crowd

 

Crowd funding literally is getting everyone you know and everyone that they know and on and on to get involved in what you are doing. This indirect way of fundraising via social media, directly affects your ability to raise a designated amount of money in a short period of time, usually 30 days. I have always said, anything can turn around in 30 days.

It is a relatively simple process; it is quick detailed and most definitely worth the time investment. Most people have heard of Gofundme, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but at the rate of Crowdfunding success, the sites are numerous.

So how can you pick the right one for your venture? Click on the link to see an extensive flow chart by Eric Markowitz, 22 Crowdfunding Sites (and How to Choose Yours!). This chart will help you drill down to the place where you can find a successful source of funding for your next great idea, project or passion.

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201306/eric-markowitz/how-to-choose-a-crowdfunder.html

 

EXIT STRATEGIES

 

You don’t immediately think, “I must plan for an out, when I have just jumped in.” But this rational is indeed so when it comes to entrepreneurial success. This is your baby- you have planted watered, tended, weathered and harvested only to see your field of dreams in the rear-view mirror instead of the windshield.

Exit Strategies allow you to plan your Out– You ultimately want to optimize the best situation rather than escape a bad one. Exit strategies are about succession planning and successful transitioning. I created a YouTube video that talks about various ways to escape.

THE WHOLE OF THE MATTER-Just as you plan to build the business to be profitable, plan to leave the business with a profit.

 

CONSIDER COMMUNITY

Even though the community bank presence in local communities have been declining since 1984 from 17,401 to 6,146 in 2013, their contribution to small business operations still makes and impact in the communities they serve. (The Statistical Protal, 2017.)

WHY THE DECLINE? Stricter regulations due to the housing crisis almost ten years ago, shift in demand and interest rates initiated the spiral. Many community banks have changed faces several times, “but the profitability of those remaining has recovered closer to pre-crisis levels than it has for larger banks. And, perhaps most important, community banks’ share of the market for small business loans—the lifeblood of community banking—remains robust and vastly disproportionate to their size.” (Community Banking, 2016)

WHAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE? People! People bank with people and not buildings. Most banks have similar products and rates, but it is the teller, customer service representative and bankers who are constant fixtures even when the name changes that make the difference. Community Banking in the 21st Century 2016 National Survey “…offers insight into the close relationships that community bankers cultivate with these borrowers, to whom they lent $340 billion last year, an amount that, while slightly lower than in previous years, was nevertheless higher than the amount extended by their larger counterparts.” (Community Banking, 2016)

WHY COMMUNITY? Community Bankers are our friends and neighbors. The personal attention with face-to-face interactions allow for long-term relationships to be maintained while consistently not wavering with a .25 discount on a loan. “Unlike the large banks, community banks have usually been seen as a friend to the entrepreneur.” (Rogers, 2014, pg.180) Many of the larger banks offer an order taking style of service. Even though you can sit down with a person, lending decisions are made from a centralized loan office at head quarters which is hundreds of miles from small town USA. Depending on loan size, community lenders can decision loans at the branch and have answers within 24-48 hours. The community banker knows their customers and the customer capacity outsideof the ratios.

They work with you where you are not from an electronic application. “Close relationships between businesses and banks also are suggested by the frequency with which community bankers meet with, provide advice to or otherwise monitor small business borrowers.” (Community Banking, 2016) The frequency of the meeting may vary from quarterly to annually, but the premise is based on the needs of the customer.

I support community banks because I used to be a part of this financial sector. It brought me joy to accommodate a customer’s needs or offer an alternative solution. Community banks are a trusted friend for entrepreneurs. Start building your relationship today.

References

Community Banking in the 21st Century 2016 National Survey. (2016, September 28). Retrieved from Community Banking: https://www.communitybanking.org/~/media/files/communitybanking/2016/cb21cpublication_2016.pdf?la=en

Rogers, S. (2014). Entrepreneurial Finance Finance and Business Strategies for the Serious Entrepreneur. New York: McGraw Hill.

The Statistical Protal. (n.d.). Retrieved from Statistica: https://www.statista.com/statistics/318034/community-banks-number-usa/

 

One Eyelet at a Time

 Bootstrapping ENT 650

In 1997, little did I know I would begin a venture as an entrepreneur. I just thought a group of friends that sang together in church were going to make something special and offer music outside the four walls of the sanctuary. It sounded simple enough because we had singers and musicians. My partner who was the visionary behind this plan, had been in the music industry before and he was a musician and producer. I was a banker by day and a songwriter by night. We had a place to practice, voices and full instrumentation, but where was the money coming from to start lacing the shoe? It came from our own boot.

I did not know it then, but our financial source came from bootstrapping. Investopedia describes bootstrapping as building a company without external investments. The startup company uses personal finances and the operating revenue generated by the company for capital. We held true the characteristics of a bootstrapping. There was little money as discretionary income and assets were definitely invisible to the naked eye. We didn’t have savings, but we were wealthy in sweat equity. We knew if we could complete a recording, we could sell the product at concerts. I had two vehicles at the time and I sold my work car to purchase the first round of product. That $1500, though little, gave our recording company straps.

The recording company branched off into another line of the business allowing us to form a lighting and sound company. The extra income from providing this service at other venues gave an additional infusion of capital for the recordings. We had basically all equipment needed for these other shows and if it was something that we didn’t have, we rented it and increased our base cost of service.

These two ventures were maintained for nine years by owner financing and operating revenues without other investors. We did not ask the members of the group to make any investment, allowing us to maintain control over the direction of the companies. Also we did not want them to take a personal loss on our dreams. Though it was beneficial for us to have decision-making power, we only achieved regional success. Our finances limited our ability to expand, but we were able to tie the laces into a bow by establishing ourselves as music artist one eyelet at a time.

RESOURCE

Bootstrapping. (2003, November 25). Retrieved September 30, 2017, from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bootstrapping.asp