If you’re looking to start a business but don’t have the capital, there are more creative ways to get the money you need other than getting a loan or finding a big time investor. One of the best things you can do to get the money you need is to launch a fundraiser. There are numerous ideas to attract people with capital who share your interests and enthusiasm. The best part is that they cost little to no money when done correctly. To help you get started, here are some solid small business fundraising ideas that you should consider.
Idea #1: Use Crowdsourcing Sites
Websites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo are perfect for getting the money you need to start your business. However, unlike other small business fundraising ideas, you’ll need to have a product or service ready to launch or in the process of development.
The users that fund your idea on these fundraising sites do so expecting something in return for their money. As a result, make sure you provide value and a clear description of what they’ll get when they make a pledge to your fundraiser.
Idea #2: Launch a Contest
Launching a contest can be one of the easier small business fundraising ideas to pull off. You just have to make sure that you create a strong prize pool and target an audience that’s actually interested in the prizes.
For example, you can create a prize pool based on baby products if your business is targeting parents as the primary audience. Getting people to buy into a raffle based contest will help you raise a lot of money with good targeting. You just have to make sure that you have a strong marketing strategy for the contest. A contest like this also has the double benefit of helping you generate leads you can follow up on when you launch your business.
Idea #3: Look for Small Business Grants
Did you know that the government actually gives money away to help individuals that are looking to start a business? You can visit websites like grants.gov, SBA or women’s and business centers to start your search. You should also look for education institution grants, private grants, and startup contests.
To qualify for these grants, you need to do your research and provide a strong business plan. Unlike the other small business fundraising ideas, writing grants requires you to build a strong case for why you should be chosen for the grant over other applicants.
Idea #4: Host a Speaking Event or Class
Another one of the most proven small business fundraising ideas is hosting events. Hosting your own event or class is great because you can leverage other people’s expertise.
For example, if you want to launch a dog grooming shop, why not teaming up with the local vet? You can get the vet to teach a paid class on proper dog or cat health. This is a win-win for the vet as the professional can promote his or her practice as well. You can even give the vet a cut of the fees.
Idea #5: Peer to Peer Lending
Not everyone qualifies for a small business loan. Nonetheless, there are alternatives such as peer to peer lending and online lending services. You can actually tap into these networks where individuals will lend you money through a broker.
While this isn’t the most conventional route, it’s a great alternative to small business loans. Peer to peer lending is known for lower interest rates. Through this practice, borrowers with lower credit scores stand better chances, and they enjoy more flexible payment options.
Idea #6: Barter
If you have a valuable service to offer, you can simply barter instead of paying cash for your business needs. For example, let’s say you know how to design websites. You can offer your web design services in exchange for legal services, computer hardware, office furniture, etc.
Going through the bartering route will significantly reduce the amount of capital you need to start your business. There are many paid and free bartering networks that can be accessed online. If you can’t find any partners, simply reach out to business owners whose services/products you need and start negotiating.
Idea #7: Angel Investor
For most people, the probability of landing a deal with a big time investor or investment firm is slim. However, there are still independent angel investors that are interested in working with small businesses.
However, you should be careful about how much of your business you are willing to give away and what amount is fair. You want to think everything through before you actually start looking for angel investors. You also need to have a strong business plan for investors want to see that they can get a good return.
Idea #8: Mobile Sales Events
Just because you don’t have a storefront doesn’t mean that you can’t start generating sales for your business. For example, if you want to launch a dog grooming service and don’t have the funds to open up a store, why not rent a van and offer mobile services?
How about reaching out to pet owners and asking them if they’d be interested in at-home grooming services? Think about all the things you can leverage to generate sales for your products or services. If you’re selling jewelry, host an in-home fashion party by reaching out to your network. It’s all about being creative.
Those are 8 solid small business fundraising ideas that you can implement today. Don’t limit yourself to just these ideas. There are many more ways to start raising the money you need to launch your small business. Since you don’t have the capital to use as your leverage, you need to hustle even more to get to where you want to be with your business. And sometimes, that’s all you need.