As a startup founder, your financial situation and getting your ideas funded are likely at the forefront of your mind much of the time. In fact, raising capital can be one of the most difficult tasks that any entrepreneur has to accomplish—it takes time, intelligence, creativity, and yes, a little bit of luck.
However, there are plenty of new technologies, apps, and websites that aim to help business owners build connections, find investors, and grow their brands—and it just takes perseverance and the ability to tell a story and choose the right platform for your product or service.
Technology is intertwined with eCommerce funding
Today, eCommerce startups are perhaps the hottest companies in the entrepreneurial sphere and for good reason. Consumers expect to be able to buy virtually everything online, which isn’t something that’s going to change anytime soon. Moreover, eCommerce businesses that aim to use technology to make their customers’ lives easier, are the ones most likely to catch an investor’s eye. First however, they need to make themselves known.
Using technology to promote your eCommerce startup
There are many reasons why entrepreneurs should embrace new technologies and digital platforms, including easy access to online marketing channels which is perhaps the most compelling reason of all.
The web is the most important source of connections that we all have immediate access to—and that’s why it is the first step in getting word out about your company and what you have to offer that’s unique, exceptional, or even disruptive.
But, you can take it further than that? By becoming an active participant on startup blogs and in forums; joining various networks meant to help connect founders with funders (try Angel.co or Gust); and many other social media activities, you can connect with people you’d be unlikely to meet in real life. And these people could end up being investors, mentors, or partners, or even some combination thereof.
Digital platforms and useful sites for the busy entrepreneur
In this day and age, there are many more options for entrepreneurs to organize their expenses and develop sound financial plans than there ever before—there’s everything from overarching solutions like Mint.com, iBank, MoneyDance, to online loan calculators and apps designed to help you determine your possible funds and resources as well as the associated risks and potential value.
In addition, you can find low cost or even free solutions for marketing and advertising. These range from project management software to services like Fiverr to oDesk where it is easy to find low cost but talented freelance help for any aspect of the startup that a business either doesn’t have the knowledge base to handle or the resources.
Entrepreneurial social networking
Using social media is one of the most basic marketing tactics across verticals – but it is also something that is typically overlooked by entrepreneurs and startup founders. But that’s a mistake—social media platforms can be a fantastic way to raise funds and connect with potential investors.
There are a variety of web applications and social networking tools that help connect business owners and entrepreneurs with potential sources of funds—but of course, you have to know where to look, which networks best suit your niche, and how to set up profiles that attract potential investors.
The power of the internet crowd: Strength in numbers
Investments don’t always have to come from major venture capitalists. For instance, there are crowdfunding apps and platforms such as KickStarter, Lending Club, and Indiegogo that allow for people with great ideas to share them with the masses, who can then essentially vote with their dollars.
In fact, there are more than six hundred crowd sourced platforms around the world, and they collectively raise billions of dollars every year. Furthermore, crowdfunding offers other potential benefits besides more cash in your pocket.
The social media reach and potential publicity that could result from a well-crafted profile and pitch on various sites might end being worth more than any funding in the long run—there’s nothing like some high qualified positive publicity. That said, being successful on these sites requires an engaging story and an initial group of supporters to get the word out—so it may be valuable to spend time interacting on social media, developing a compelling blog, or otherwise gathering support before you launch a serious campaign.
Bitcoin may be the game-changer for startups
While many people associate bitcoin with hackers and generally insecure types of ways to exchange money and goods via the web, the digital currency has become legitimate in recent years and now may be one of the most interesting and compelling game-changers in the eCommerce industry. After all, what was once the territory of tech geeks and their ilk is now a standard form of currency accepted by major websites and eCommerce merchants—so no smart businessperson would discount its impact and potential.
What’s more, investments in bitcoin related startups are growing rapidly, and show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Along those lines, many experts have pointed out how the disruptive power of bitcoin is reminiscent of many successful companies that have changed the way we do business today—so this form of digital currency is something that any entrepreneur should at least research and consider.
Moreover, bitcoin offers many different positive possibilities when it comes to building and funding a business. For one, the transaction fees are low, it allows for anonymous purchases, it is easily accessible via the web, and allows for quick transfers of funds—all of which are appealing to bootstrapped startups or small business owners and even customers alike. Accordingly, savvy entrepreneurs should definitely research and understand the many capabilities of bitcoin and how it could potentially help fund their business.
At the end of the day, starting a business is complicated and difficult enough on its own. So why not take advantage of everything that you can accomplish with various technologies in order to find funding as well as make your life easier? Investing your time and brainpower into discovering how technology can help you find funding as well as improve and grow your company might be the most valuable decision you’ll ever make.