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Beyond the balance sheet

Why your crowdfunding campaign needs the help of an advisor

Ross Andrews 08/10/2020 17 minute read

Ross Andrews ACA on why it's a good idea to bring your business advisor on board to help implement your crowdfunding campaign.

Crowdfunding has become a major player in the world of business funding!

To date providers have seen huge success through their online funding support platforms. For an example of crowdfunding popularity, just look at Kickstarter. The website has seen 187,657 projects successfully funded since 2009 (as at September 2020), and that number continues to grow!

Blog Image Why you need an advisor to help with your crowdfunding campaign 01

Many of the various platforms boast easy to use systems with an emphasis on DIY features. They make it quite simple for entrepreneurs and start-ups to connect with individual investors in order to get started in the market, or even grow their existing business.

But does this mean you should only rely on your abilities and knowledge when it comes to raising funds? Sure, putting together a crowdfunding page may seem easy, but there’s a load of “behind-the-scenes” work that needs to go into a crowdfunding campaign.

FREE guide on how to prepare for your crowdfunding campaign

We have assisted many clients in this process and they found working with a business advisor really helped boost their campaigns in ways they didn't originally envisage. In this post we provide you some useful examples.

1. Behind the scenes campaign support

For many small businesses, particularly start-ups, running a crowdfunding campaign may not be as cut and dry as you think. Working with an experienced business advisor will provide you with the support needed to navigate through the complexities that come with raising finance.

In fact, it's most beneficial to work with an advisor before you start your campaign journey because (and don't be shocked!) crowdfunding may not actually be your best option for obtaining finance.

If you've calculated that this route to funding is the best fit for your business then an advisor will be there to guide you through the process of deciding how much you need to raise, what's likely to be realistic, and how to make it happen within the timeframe required.

However, it's not just as simple as sitting down in a quick meeting to go over the bare essentials needed to get your crowdfunding campaign started.

Here are 4 questions you and your advisor can use to help determine which funding option would be the best fit:

  • How much funding do you require?
  • How quickly do you need access to finance?
  • What is the funding for?
  • How will you use the funding to generate growth and subsequently returns for investors?
  • How much is your business worth?

2. Planning and forecasting like a pro

The key to a successful equity crowdfunding campaign is investors, and what do investors want? They want the details! Before individuals go ahead and put money into a start-up they generally want to know who and what they are investing in and also very importantly, why.

 

Providing this information is crucial when it comes to crowdfunding because at the end of the day investors on these platforms are taking a leap of faith in you and your product/service without even shaking hands. Designing a campaign with the proper pitch and importantly, financials, will increase your chances of attracting investors.

The most successful crowdfunding campaigns will present a compelling pitch, a detailed business plan and some visual aspect; this can be a product image, mock-up, or a video.

Professional, financial forecasting is an element that can take your campaign from mediocre to exceptional by providing investors with a look at realistic, achievable figures.

3. A sounding board for questions

Equity crowdfunding involves a certain level of knowledge to answer questions, not all owner managers may have that financial aptitude. There's a lot to know even when you're using a platform that's been simplified.

Working with the right team in place means you'll have a sounding board, someone to ask questions to, seek advice from, and even challenge you on things you might not have considered. This doesn't just have to be about your campaign (although it's a good place to start), you have to think long term and make decisions on what your steps will be after your crowdfunding campaign is completed.

4. Growing together after the campaign

Once you've achieved the funding required, this doesn't mean that the relationship with your business advisor ends. Far from it. Instead, it means that you'll work together in different ways as your start-up (hopefully) scales. You'll need systems and processes that can track your investment and performance whilst also expanding as your business grows.

Think also about how you want to proceed with the business in the future; it's never too early to consider the strategic direction in which you'd like to take the business. Use your advisor to discuss plans for growth such as:

  • The immediate projects you'll progress after you've crowdfunded
  • Opportunities to scale and grow your products or services
  • Where you'd like to take your business in the future
  • Resource requirements and when you might next need to raise more money

If the ultimate plan for your business is to sell, you will want to consider how crowdfunding might impact the valuation and your ability to sell in the future. Again, be sure to discuss this with your advisor well in advance of fund raising.

Crowdfunding questions to ask your advisor:

  • Is equity crowdfunding right for your business?
  • How do you separate business and personal finances?
  • How do you manage the expenses that come along with running a crowdfunding campaign?
  • Are crowdfunding donations taxable?
  • How will you make money once you've raised the funds?
  • Will funding through crowdfunding initiatives affect the valuation of your business?

5. A case study - MarketOrders

Sukhi Jutla, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at MarketOrders, explains her crowdfunding experience and how working with Wellers helped raise much needed funding.

"You probably would be surprised to hear that 80% of the work is usually done before you go live on your crowdfunding campaign and a huge part of that work actually comes from having clear, accurate and concise financial forecasts.

"It is this financial data that will help to drive and create the narrative to your investors. Working with Wellers, our Business Advisor, Ross, not only was able to help us walk us through our financial projections but he questioned our assumptions and stress-tested them. This was to ensure we had fully thought through every outcome and possibility and also helped us, as founders, to question the validity of our business model and demonstrate how much funds we really needed.

"But numbers on their own only tell half the story. Investors are, after all, human beings, and humans connect best with story and emotions and this is what differentiates Wellers from other advisors.

"They were able to bring the numbers alive by helping us to create a powerful narrative and story about our business, which was backed up by the numbers. This provided people with the confidence to invest in our business. In fact, some of our investors actually messaged us during the campaign to say that they had never seen such detailed yet easy to understand financial statements.

"Working with a business advisor also helped us to better understand our business model and to be better equipped with questions during the campaign so that we could execute it with confidence."

As you can see, taking on the challenge of starting a crowdfunding campaign can be intimidating. However, working with a professional partner can help make the process smooth and successful.

You can also find out more on the 5 Equity crowdfunding campaign tips to start your business.

Thinking about starting equity crowdfunding campaign? Find out how Wellers can  help!

The content of this post is up to date and relevant as at 08/10/2020.

Please be aware that information provided by this blog is subject to regular legal and regulatory change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within our website or guides (eBooks) as a definitive guide to the law on the relevant matter being discussed. We suggest your course of action should be to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author(s) of this blog.

 

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