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Front Page PR Offers Free Crowdfunding Training Program for SCORE Chapters Nationwide

7 Feb

Recommended SCORE
Crowdfunding Training Program

By Robert HoskinsFront Page PR

Front Page PR Crowdfunding experts offer free consulting services to help SCORE mentors develop low-cost Crowdfunding training programs that will teach entrepreneurs, startups and expanding businesses how to build a Crowdfunding campaign to raise enough money to get their company off the ground.

The good news is that there is zero risk, other than a little time and effort to build a profile. Unlike a real business launch where a business owner invests everything they have into a business and hope that it works, it is free to build a Crowdfunding profile on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and give it a whirl.

Crowdfunding allows small businesses to test the waters first, kind of like a free online focus group to see what customers think. It is very cost-effective to spend a little money on producing a video, shooting pictures of some prototypes, writing and issuing a couple of press releases and then marketing the Crowdfunding profile to their crowd of social media network contacts to see if fans will support the product via donations.  Compared to signing a three-year lease for retail space, buying equipment, hiring staff, and spending a lot of money on marketing only see a business fails in less than two-years time, Crowdfunding makes very good common sense.

If a Crowdfunding campaign fails, Crowdfunders can step back and analyze what went wrong and keep trying until they get it right and lose nothing in the process.

If the Crowdfunding campaign is successful, it allows them to establish a customer base from the very beginning.  Not only do they receive the investment capital they need to get their business started, but they have pre-sold hundreds to thousands of products to customers who actually want the product. A side benefit is that early Crowdfunding customers become brand champions during the campaign and actually help the Crowdfunder promote the product/service to additional circles of social media contacts because they like it and want to share it with their like-minded friends.

Once Equity Crowdfunding becomes legal, Crowdfunding donors can become investors that receive an equity stake in the company, not just a free product or perk.  After an equity Crowdfunding campaign is complete, a local retail store, restaurant or some other type of business opens up, its brand champions will not only continue to encourage their  friends to support the business, but they will receive a portion of the future dividends, revenue sharing, or some type of return-on-investment as the business grows.  For the first time in American history, 98%  more Americans will have the ability to steer the economy by investing in the products and services they really want to buy.  It is a win-win situation for everyone.

For SCORE mentors that have an interest in teaching their clients how to get involved in the growing Crowdfunding industry, we recommend setting up a conference call to discuss the following Crowdfunding topics.  In addition, we will share several different text books, guides and forms that will be very useful in walking business owners through the Crowdfunding process.  Please contact Robert Hoskins to setup a conference call to learn more.


SCORE Crowdfunding Training Outline

I. Introduction to Crowdfunding

  • Rewards – Usually first shipment of the product
  • Perks – VIP treatment, photos, meetings, visits
  • Donations – Giving money to needy people or community outreach programs that help others
  • Equity – Investing money to obtain an equity stake in a company: equity, revenue share, debt, etc.
  • Title II vs. Title III – Accredited investors Q1; Unaccredited Q4 2013
  • Crowdfunding Service Provider – Selecting the right platform based on target audience composition

II.  Building a Crowdfunding Campaign Statement

  • Mission – what is the primary business directive?
  • Management Team – who will be running the business?
  • Bios – what experience qualifies Crowdfunders for this management role?
  • Goals & Objectives – overarching goals and objectives needed for success?
  • Strategies – what strategies will be used to achieve goals?
  • Universe – how large is the market opportunity?

III. Crowdfunding Campaign Elements

  • Company/Product Names – Making the A-list without an explanation
  • Videos – passionate testimonial(s) from the campaign managers
  • Photos – photos or preliminary designs of products
  • 3D Prototypes – early versions of what finished product will look like
  • Patents – file a patent to protect your intellectual property
  • FAQ Sheets – know your industry well to get the facts straight
  • Marketing Campaigns – determining the right mix of adv, PR and social media
  • Manufacturing – don’t wait until the last minute to line things up, plan for success from the beginning

IV.  Crowdfunding Budget Needed

  • How much do you want? – Ask for a realistic amount that is fair and achievable
  • What to do plan to do with it? – Provide a simple budget to show how the money will be spent
  • Step-by-Step – Raising money in steps builds credibility
  • Crowdfunding Timeline – details a timeline from money allocation to final delivery
  • Crowdfunding realty check – it requires work to become successful

V. Building and Leveraging Donor Databases

  • Inside Circle – Friends, Family, and Business Colleagues
  • Social media – Extended circles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Meetup, Twitter, Youtube, etc.

VI. Pledges and Rewards

  • Reward Levels – small, medium and large
  • Pre-selling products – to establish market demand

VII. Building Crowdfunding Campaign Buzz

  • Publicity – using press releases to generate positive publicity
  • Social Media – leveraging the power of large crowds
  • Event Marketing – what to do during the bottom of the U

VIII. Approaching the Finish Line

  • Thank You Notes – Thank donors for their money
  • Quick Replies – Answer Crowdfund campaign comments quickly
  • Ask for Referrals – Don’t be afraid to ask the crowd for help

IX. Mission Complete

  • Success – Satisfaction of achieving your goal
  • Business – Next comes the hard part, building a functional business
  • Fulfillment – Managing time, effort, budget and scalability
  • International – Requires additional shipping time and costs

X. Failure 

  • The Upside of Failure – Unlike most many startups that lose everything when their business is not successful,  Crowdfunders can use a Crowdfunding campaign as a very cost-effective focus group prior to a hard launch

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Please click here to help us Crowdfund this website continued editorial development.

Please click here to help us Crowdfund this website’s editorial development

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FunderHut Opens New Community Outreach Crowdfunding Platform to Help those in Need

7 Feb

By Robert HoskinsCrowdfunding Press Center

FunderHut.com launches new Crowdfunding website that combines the collaborative thinking of group funding for projects in sixteen themed categories. The explosive growth of the crowdfunding brings unprecedented opportunity to those once unable to receive funding for various projects via traditional means.

FunderHut Community Support Crowdfunding Platform

FunderHut Community Support Crowdfunding Platform

FunderHut was developed for that purpose. Someone with a goal that needs funding, whether it’s to start a community garden, fund a small business, publish a book, or help a loved one pay for medical bills, can create a pitch on FunderHut and ask for contributions.

FunderHut has opened the door to funding in many categories that we not previously offered by “crowdfunding” Websites. One of FunderHut creators, Eugene Salganik, developed this concept after past experience as one of the founders of a local civic organization, where he chaired an Economic Development Committee.

This position showed him just how difficult it was to fund community based projects. Excited by the concept, sons Alan and Dan were responsible for the site’s design, details, and social networking elements. The team boasts the fact that with the development of FunderHut, the public now has the ability to fund projects to make communities stronger.

The process to get started on FunderHut is an easy one. A project creator begins by creating a fundraising campaign and explaining why he or she needs the funds and how they will be used. Every project has built-in social media sharing tools, but project creators are free to use any medium that will help them get the word out. Creativity is key.

With a good project and the right pitch, the project creator can raise the funds necessary from generous contributors to accomplish their goal. In addition to helping someone achieve his or her goal, contributors can, in return, receive Kudos: pre-defined tokens of appreciation given by project creators to project funders. Think of them as a way to thank people for their contributions. The more dollars pledged, the more special and unique the Kudos a contributor can receive.

Another unique element is an enhanced social side of FunderHut called the Community Wishlist, an element of the Website that encourages anyone to share his or her ideas for community improvement. If a wish is popular amongst users, with the click of a button, that wish can become an actual, fundable project.

“It’s great that someone can contribute to a project and see the direct effect their contribution made,” commented Dr. Marina Vitkin, a small business owner and a contributor to one of the first projects in Chicago, IL. FunderHut offers helpful tools for seamless project creation, project funding, social-sharing, and a timeline for tracking an entire campaign from start to finish. Every project offers an open discussion forum among creators, users, and anyone else who wants to contribute.

Celebrity Face Recognition iPhone App Now Available for TV Viewers via IndieGoGo Crowdfunding Campaign

7 Feb

By Robert HoskinsCrowdfunding Press Center

Technology startup Skakash LLC announced today the launch of its face recognition iPhone app that allows users to recognize actors and celebrities while watching TV, simply by pointing the iPhone’s camera at the screen. Skakash, the “Shazam for celebrities” app, debuts in a crowdfunding campaign on the leading Indiegogo.com platform.

Bring face recognition technology from the security arena to the entertainment playground

Bring face recognition technology from the security arena to the entertainment playground

“We brought face recognition technology from the security arena to the entertainment playground,” said Skakash’s founder and CEO Moshe Greenshpan. “We’ve identified a great need among American TV viewers to get an instant answer to the most common question – what’s this actor’s name?” Greenshpan added.

Skakash’s matching process quickly displays the celebrity’s name and biography, allowing the user to focus on the show rather than being distracted while searching for more info on Google or IMDB.

Saving the user the trouble of manually chasing the right frame, the face recognition app automatically captures the celebrity’s face from the screen.

The Skakash app is offered as a part of the company’s crowdfunding campaign. “In addition to the obvious reason of raising R&D funds, Indiegogo is a great starting point to build a community of fans and users from scratch,” explained the founder of the self financed company.

With second screen technology on the rise, Skakash has the potential to become a widely used second screen app that interacts with its users, adds value and enhances the TV viewing experience overall. A recent Nielson survey showed that 41% of smartphone and tablet owners using their devices while watching TV every day.

Cooking up a Good Crowdfunding Deal on Indiegogo for Superfood Sauce Line

7 Feb

Skinny Chef Seeks Crowdfunding Support To Begin Production, Making Healthy Cooking at Home Easier and More Delicious

By Robert HoskinsCrowdfunding Press Center

Jennifer Iserloh, the Skinny Chef, is readying a new line of delicious superfood sauces designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and support her commitment to natural weight loss.

Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh Cooks Up Healthy Food with SuperFood Sauces

Skinny Chef Jennifer Iserloh Cooks Up Healthy Food with SuperFood Sauces

Each of the four sauces – Goji Espresso, Cherry Chipotle, Pomegranate Cayenne and Blazin’ Blueberry – can be used with a variety of meats and vegetables for grilling, broiling, baking, marinating and finishing. At approximately 35 calories per serving and with only 40 mg sodium per 2 tablespoons, they are ideal for anyone who is pre-diabetic, needs to control their sodium intake or is on a low-carb diet. The sauces are also packed with a nutritional boost thanks to their superfood ingredients.

A certified health coach, renowned healthy cooking expert and best selling author, Iserloh is working to finance the initial production of her superfood sauce line by raising a minimum of $25,000 through the her Skinny Chef indiegogo.com crowdfunding campaign.

“We need to raise $25,000 to cover the cost of our first production run or these amazing flavors may never see the light of day. So we’re turning to our strongest supporters to ask for contributions. In exchange, we’re offering our sauces, t-shirts, healthy cooking classes and my Amazon-bestselling cookbooks, along with many other amazing VIP perks,” Iserloh explained.

All necessary licenses and permits are in place, bottling labels and designs have been established and a manufacturing facility has been selected. “All we need now are the contributions to ignite our first production run and in a few weeks we will be able to present a delicious new option to spice up kitchens and help reduce obesity in America,” she added.

Iserloh is a well-regarded expert on nutrition and natural weight loss. Her nutritional philosophy offers a gateway to a healthier lifestyle that results in permanent weight loss without painful dieting and a tedious menu of tasteless foods. She is also the author of several books including the recent Amazon bestsellers: “Healthy Cheats” and “50 Shades of Kale”.

Injecting Credibility and Accountability into the Equity Crowdfunding Industry

7 Feb

How a Crowdfunding Audit Bureau Could Give the Crowdfunding Industry Instant Transparency

By Robert HoskinsCrowdfunding Press Center

While most of the Crowdfunding industry is waiting to see what type of guidelines the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) will issue for Title II, Reg. D accredited investors, it would be a good time for the Crowdfunding industry to start discussing a list of recommended solutions that would make it easier for the SEC to roll out some proposed rules for Title III unaccredited investors.

The Crowdfunding industry needs to start sharing their thoughts on exactly what hurdles are preventing the SEC from issuing the Crowdfunding guidelines in the news media so that everyone in the industry can put their heads together and come up with a creative solution that will make everyone happy.

The average American has no idea how to look up items placed on a Government docket, much less get involved in filing public comments with the SEC to help steer the public policy decisions that will be made soon for the Crowdfunding industry. One thing that would be helpful in bringing the general public up to speed on Crowdfunding is to begin holding open meetings that include journalists, industry analysts and industry experts from other industries that have well established sales, distribution and venture capital investment channels.

There are many venture capitalists and angel investors that have been working in the high-technology industries such as security, application development, data mining, data warehousing, wireless mobility and social networking channels that would make great speakers for these events and could provide a wealth of information that would benefit up and coming Crowdfunding Service Providers (CSPs).  Not only would these types of events be good for networking, but they would generate lots of positive news coverage.

The more informative new articles that are shared via mass media outlets, the quicker the momentum will begin to  pick up for the Crowdfunding industry.  The Crowdfunding industry really needs to work closer with experts in the information technology and computer networking hardware industries to start publicizing how various flavors of technology can be harnessed to resolve many of the industry’s concerns.

For example, most people, including the media, seem to think that the SEC is extremely worried about the opportunity for fraudsters, but in reality, they are probably a lot more worried about how much money and how many employees they will need to police 10,000 Crowdfunding portals.  Or how will they regulate the 226 million potential investors that are 18 years or older in the United States that are only allowed to donate a maximum of $2,000 per year to Equity Crowdfunding platforms?

Some great ideas that have already popped up on the radar screen for consideration include crowdfunding credit checks, credit bureaus and accreditation credentials.  The problem is that most of the technical details for how these ancillary businesses will conduct their operations has not been made public or talked about in the industry trade press. Portals and eCommerce centers have been around for a long time and the technology to automate and ensure security is very mature.

Another tool  that has not been talked about yet, but has served as a very useful role in the advertising industry might include establishing a Crowdfunding Audit Bureau that audits a Crowdfunding Intermediary’s subscribers.  Audit statements have been used by print media buyers for decades to determine whether or not a publication was worth investing $25,000 to buy an advertisement to reach a specified target audience of potential buyers. Why not audit a Crowdfunding intermediary’s investors?

Audit statements served as a very useful tool because they broke down the publication’s subscriber’s demographics and presented the information in a standardized format that made it very easy to compare one publication’s subscribers versus all of their competitors on an apples to apples comparison. Crowdfunding Audit Statements would hold Crowdfunding sites and their investors accountable for the integrity of their data and put the burden of monitoring 10,000 Crowdfunding industry portals on a non-profit organization, not the SEC.

Using Crowdfunding Audit Rules each intermediary would publish a Crowdfunding Audit Statement, which is then audited by a non-profit, third-party vendor.  This process would make it fairly easy to keep track of the industry and its players. Audit statements would allow new intermediaries and the SEC to analyze in great detail what type of investors and investments each portal was generating by looking at the demographic, psychographic and financial characteristics reported for its subscriber base via the audits.

There are several auditing organizations that have been around for many years such as the Alliance for Audited Media or Business Publications Audits (BPA) Worldwide that were originally setup to audit statements from newspapers and magazines so that advertising agencies could analyze that value of a publication’s target audience before investing millions of dollars to advertise to reach their respective readers.

Audit statements were not required by the government, but they served a very useful purpose. Without an audit statement a media buyer always knew immediately that buying advertising in that publication would not be worth the risk. So why not implement a Crowdfunding audit system what that would allow investors and Crowdfunding campaign managers to select Crowdfunding intermediaries based on their audit statements?

Using qualification forms similar to old-school business reply cards, all Crowdfunding intermediary members should be required to fill out in-depth qualification forms that ask many questions related to what type of investor they are, what types of investments they are seeking and how much investment capital they are authorized to make during a given calendar year.  Other questions could probe into what type of company they work for, what vertical business segments they have experience with,  their job function and title,  yearly salaries, etc.  Call centers using data warehouses and financial data mining techniques could then verify the validity of this information.

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are already doing a good job at reporting what industry segments are using their sites, what industries are receiving the largest Crowdfunding donations, as well as what industries have the highest success rates, but they really don’t provide much information on the pool of Crowdfunding donors/investors their site retains. With Kickstarter this is not really an issue, but for the hundreds of smaller Crowdfunding sites knowing for sure what pool of donors/investors they have in their subscriber databases would be great information to have in order to make a wise Crowdfunding campaign decision.

In addition, audit statements should go into great detail about how a Crowdfunding site generates their investor base.  Did investors sign up because the site is a leading Crowdfunding platform, or did the site offer them a free tablet to join their ranks?  A site with 20,000 serious investors that are there to invest will provide a much better return-on-investment than a site with 1,000,000 amateur investors that only signed up to get a free prize.

Among other things this process would shine a light on the rise and fall of registered investors per site, the platform’s success rate for Crowdfunding campaigns as well the growth rate by industry, average investment size and percentage of accredited investors versus unaccredited investors.  Perhaps Crowdfunding intermediaries should be required to exceed a 50-percent or better success rate for their campaigns by providing Business Partner Programs to provide professional assistance and improve investment performance ratios.

Using an audit statement process also would make it easy to educate investors and Crowdfunders to always ask Crowdfunding intermediaries for their Crowdfunding Audit Statement in a similar manner to how car buyers have been trained by the media to request a CarFax before buying a used car. Not having a CrowdFax Audit Statement would be a very easy way for inexperienced investors and Crowdfunding campaign managers to recognize sub-standard Crowdfunding platforms.

Everyone seems to have a general consensus that Crowdfunding will be extremely beneficial for the America economy because it will provide startup capital to millions of new and existing businesses where none has been available for the last five years. So it would be in the Crowdfunding industry’s best interest to do a better job at publishing whitepapers and industry research reports that detail how leading technology and standard operating procedures can be used effectively to protect all entities from fraud.  Instead of blaming the SEC for moving slowly, we should make their job easier by recommending relaxed, but fair rules that facilitate the ability for 98% more Americans to start investing in our future by placing well-thought-out Crowdfunding investments and receiving a good return-on-investment.

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