Monthly Archives: March 2016

How to Create a Social Media Profile For Your Business

How to Create a Social Media Profile For Your Business

As a startup or small business owner, you have to be smart with the resources you have.

Oftentimes, traditional marketing doesn’t exactly fall within your budget. That’s why social media is a great alternative in generating the results you want to achieve.

It’s not only low-cost, but it also gives you direct exposure to current and prospective customers

So, you’ve formed your business and want to start marketing through social media. Now what?

Here are a couple tips to think about when creating your profile:

Start with a Social Media Strategy

Even before selecting which channels you’ll use, you need a detailed strategy that will keep your marketing efforts on track. The first step is to figure out how you want to portray your brand. For best results, align your social media approach with your company culture and make sure it addresses your business goals and audience needs. Always strive to establish your brand’s own identity on social media so that your company can stand out among its competitors.

Choose the Right Social Networks

There are many different social media platforms to choose from today – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram – and depending on your strategy, you should be able to determine which ones are right for your startup. Look specifically at the target age group of your audience, the location of your business and the nature of your services when making the decision. One last tip: keep social media profiles limited to a couple of networking platforms. This way, you can easily monitor them, keep them up-to-date and interact with your followers more closely.

Build a Community

For long-term growth and success, the best thing you can do is build an online community of supporters who give your startup additional exposure and promote brand awareness. You can do this simply through personal interaction, relationship development and customer satisfaction. In general, customers greatly appreciate companies that put in effort to engage with their followers and connect with their audience.

Listen Instead of Talking

The biggest mistake you can make on social media is not listening to your followers. When used correctly, social media platforms allow you to garner valuable feedback. Respond to comments, mentions and feedback even if they’re negative. Social listening is an excellent tactic to monitor what people are saying about your brand.

Experiment

Sure, going the traditional route in terms of strategy is great, but every now and then, it’s great to think outside the box – as long as what you’re doing doesn’t compromise your brand’s integrity. Being creative and innovative will generate new ideas and develop the mindset you’ll need to resolve any problems later on.

Evaluate your social media strategy regularly

Startup companies can get overwhelmed by the fast pace and growth, but it’s important to take a step back every now and then to measure and analyze your results. Tracking performance data, such as growth, engagement and sharing, is the best way to identify which tactics are working and which ones aren’t. Things change with time and social media is no different. Therefore, it’s important to assess your startup’s social media business plan regularly to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your profiles.

A Few Last Words

Social media takes time and energy, so don’t be disappointed if the results you want don’t automatically unfold. Be patient and devote the appropriate amount of work into each account. With time, your profile will reap the benefits of company visibility and audience engagement, which eventually leads to paying customers and investors.

If you have a question about social media for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Crowdfunding For Equity: Title III and Equity Crowd Funding 101

Business Plans and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding For Equity: Title III and Equity Crowd Funding 101

What is Equity Crowdfunding?

Equity crowdfunding is on the rise after the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed by President Obama in April 2012.

Simply put, it is a type of crowdfunding that enables broad groups of investors to fund startup companies and small businesses in return for equity.

Three years after the JOBS Act was initially passed, Title IV (Regulation A+) went into effect, allowing larger companies to accept capital from both accredited investors (the wealthiest 2% of Americans) and non-accredited investors (the other 98% of Americans). This expanded when Title III (Regulation CF) was enacted in October 2015, which also allowed early stage companies to accept capital from both accredited and non-accredited investors.

More About Title III (Reg CF)

Title III allows startups and small businesses to raise up to $1M from the general public – an unprecedented way to raise capital. More specifically, investors who have less than $100,000 in both income and net worth may invest at least $2,000 per year, and as much as 5 percent of their income or net worth (whichever is less) per year.

Investors whose income or net worth is greater than $100,000 may invest up to 10 percent of their income or net worth (whichever is less) per year.

Thus, Title III gives companies that are historically underserved by the current capital markets an equal opportunity to equity financing.

On May 16th, Title III will officially go into effect.

Process

Choosing a Funding Portal

Under Title III, companies must use an online intermediary (either a broker-
dealer or crowdfunding portal registered with the SEC and FINRA), to facilitate a
fundraise. Experienced portals with a deep understanding of the regulations
surrounding Reg CF can help ensure that their campaigns are compliant with SEC rules.

Filing a Form C

Companies raising under Title III do not need to get SEC approval to initiate their
raise. They must, however, prepare a Form C and file it with the SEC 21 days prior to launching an offering. This form includes basic information about the company, its employees and the terms of the raise.

Disclosure Requirements – Financial Information

In addition to Form C, necessary financial information will depend on the size of
the intended investment needs:

 Under $100k – Internal financial statement review

 $100k-500k – CPA reviewed financial statements

 500k-1M – 3rd Party audited financial statements

 1st time crowdfunding issuers offering more than $500,000 would be permitted to provide reviewed, rather than audited, financial statements.

 Disclosure Requirements – Ongoing Reporting

Providing progress reports not only build trust with investors and keep them informed, but they’re also a very much required part of the disclosure requirements. Upon the successful closure of your campaign, you will be required to provide ongoing updates to your investors in the form of an annual report, which will include similar information that was included on the Form C.

In summary, what are the benefits and pitfalls of Title III?

Benefits:

 Title III can be an efficient way to quickly startups raise capital from the crowd

 More investors equate to more supporters in your startup

 Reporting requirements give founders and investors an opportunity to

Pitfalls:

 Current statutory disclosure obligations and costs are overly burdensome

 Legal and accounting fees may be higher than traditional capital-raising

 Title III does not include a “testing the waters” provision (like Reg A+ maintain a more open and transparent dialogue methods does) so that issuers can gauge interest before incurring burdensome filing and preparation costs

Remember, Regulation CF will become effective 180 days after the final rules are published in
the Federal Register on May 16, 2016.

If you have a question about your equity crowdfunding for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!

Entrepreneur Mindset: Lottery Players and Startup Unicorns

Startup Unicorns From The Startup Garage

Entrepreneur Mindset: Lottery Players and Startup Unicorns

4 MindSet Similarities Between Startup Unicorns and Lottery Players

As of March 17, 2016 CB Insights’s real time unicorn tracker, lists that 155 Startup Companies are valued at $1 billion or more with a total cumulative valuation of $550billion. 
A steady increase of 111 new companies since February 2014.

Although, the exclusive startup unicorn club appears to be more obtainable than previous years, the chances of winning big, like the lottery are few and far between.

In fact, the number looks to be just above 1% of all Startup companies, will obtain a billion dollar valuation.

The questions then become, has the media surrounding $billion valuations and the public hype of startup founders personal wealth and company culture, created a false hope for entrepreneurs?

Perhaps over sensationalized stories serve the same purpose as the MegaMillions billboards displaying the jackpot size, driving more players to enter the game, and encouraging people to start companies for the lure of being Megarich?

In Jan of 2016 a record breaking $1.6B Powerball jackpot, brought the North American lottery to new heights, unleashing a new breed of fortune hunters. I witnessed successful startup founders scramble to buy in, who never before considered playing the lottery.

A million dollar winning is no longer is enough, however the lure of a billion dollars cash out is the new Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket for Startup founders and Lottery Players.

The Entrepreneur Mindset and Lottery Players Mindset

Risk-Takers

“Millennials don’t buy lottery tickets, they launch startups.”
A lotto player buys in for the mental reward of a chance of being rich.
A startup founder spends hundreds of dollars every week for the same reward: a very small chance of being rich, in order to be in charge of their own destiny.

Both Entrepreneurs and Lottery Players are natural risk-takers, 43% of entrepreneurs (compared to 34% of non-entrepreneurs) believe that risks must be taken in order to be successful. Risk-taking is almost synonymous with entrepreneurship, in order to start and support your own business, you’ll have to put your career, personal finances and even your mental health at stake.

However, with great risk comes great reward, even with the odds stacked against you.
Did you know, the odds of matching every lottery number are 1 in 175,223,510, according to Powerball.com. Are those good odds? A person has better odds of playing in the NBA (1 in 6,864,000), being a movie star (1 in 1,505,000) or becoming the president of the United States (1 in 10,000,000).

Persistent

By definition, persistence is the quality that allows someone to continue doing something or trying to do something even though it is difficult or opposed by other people.
True winners never gives up, “you gotta be in it to, win it,” strikes a cord for both entrepreneurs an lottery players.

Success takes thick skin, in order to crush the odds you can’t let anyone or anything stand in the way of reaching your goals.

Hopeful

Entrepreneurs and lottery winners, must fully committed to finding a way to beating the odds.
Both play the narrative of the “Hero’s Journey” with follows a basic pattern of stepping outside the ordinary world to embrace the call of adventure, while encountering a variety of tests, all for the big reward. Overall, an attitude of hope prevails even in the face of loosing lottery tickets, and unfunded startup businesses.

Big Dreamers

The good thing about startups and lotteries, are they give you back that ability to dream really big.
The lotto boasts:
Someone’s going to win why not you?

Dream Big. Win Big.
Your ticket to dream.
Dream Bigger.
Give your dreams a chance!
Dollar and a dream.
Give Your Dream a Chance

The Startup Garage team applauds the HopefulPersistent Risk-Takers in all of you who are willing to dream big!

If you have a question about your raising capital for your Startup or you’d like to discuss our business plan writing services, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!