Technology has transformed everything. If you’re a part of the old guard of businesspersons, then perhaps you’ve never heard of crowdfunding and might believe that it’s some newfangled fad. To a certain extent, you may be right, but don’t be such a Luddite!

The truth of the matter is this: crowdfunding might be an excellent way for you to pursue your next business opportunity, and to do so in a way that breaks free of the constraints that typical funding avenues impose upon startups and small businesses. With crowdfunding, you can circumvent the banks when it comes to raising the necessary amount of capital required to get your business idea off of the ground. This is, rather obviously, a good thing, which is why you should take the time to read up on crowdfunding and get a sense of what it’s all about.

Major Players in the Crowdfunding Game

So, you’re looking to generate capital to get that business of yours going, but you’re having trouble with the bank, or you simply want to do something other than take out a loan. Crowdfunding might be just the very thing that you’ve been looking for. With a crowdfunding program, you’ll be able to appeal directly to consumers in order to generate the capital you need to pursue your latest business opportunity.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the major players in the crowdfunding business:

  • Kickstarter: Of all of the crowdfunding platforms, this is perhaps the most well known. You’ll find everything here, from people looking to get the funding necessary to pursue a mobile application business opportunity, to bands attempting to raise the money they need to record their latest album.
  • Indiegogo: This is perhaps Kickstarter’s biggest competitor for the title of most popular crowdfunding platform. It has an international presence, and, unlike Kickstarter, you will be allowed to keep the money that you’ve raised even if you don’t hit your fundraising goal. Of course, that advantage comes at a premium – something you’ll want to consider.
  • Smallknot: If you’re going to be working on a local level with your, then this might be the crowdfunding platform that you’re looking for. This platform attempts to foster a relationship between the members of a particular community and the small businesses (like yours) that surround them.

One thing you should know about these crowdfunding platforms is that they will be taking a certain percentage of the money that you raise. So, depending on your specific needs with respect to the business opportunity that you’re pursuing, you’ll want to factor this in to your cost/benefit analysis.

Crowdfunding Can Generate Buzz

Because crowdfunding is no small part a social media enterprise, it can be a very useful tool for generating buzz around the product or service that you’re going to be bringing to market. Aside from the way that crowdfunding can help you generate startup funds, this is one of the primary benefits. With crowdfunding you’ll be able to capture a loyal customer base that’s already excited about the product or service that you’re offering. They’ve already invested in it, after all.

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In a certain sense, you can look at this effect as almost like being paid to market your business. Often, well-envisioned ventures that are funded through crowdfunding platforms, like the ones above, receive media attention based solely upon their existence and people’s interest in them. That kind of advertising can be invaluable, as you well know.

What Do I Need For A Crowdfunding Project?

Obviously, before you get involved with a crowdfunding project, you’re going to need a business opportunity. Just as you would when seeking investment from a bank or other entrepreneurs, make sure that you have the business model hammered down and that you’re able to pitch it effectively. There’s a good reason for this.

You’re going to have to shoot a video! It’s virtually a requirement of every crowdfunding project that you have a fun and informative video that explains the venture and what you intend to do with the money that people give you. Because this will be the primary way in which you appeal to prospective customers and investors, it’s essential that you don’t cut corners here. Make sure that your video is well paced and mapped out, and don’t skimp on the production values. People will be making snap decisions based on what they see, and you want those decisions to be ones that are positively inclined toward the idea you’re pitching.

Don’t forget the rewards that you’ll be offering investors for different sized donations, either. Make sure that they’re compelling, and that they offer an incentive for people to give slightly more than they might otherwise have been intending. There are other do’s and don’ts, but if you follow these general guidelines, you should be well on your way to funding your next business through crowdfunding.