Crowd funding Tools

Business tips and tools to improve your crowd funding campaign.

FundMeFundYou crowd funding tools and resources.   The collection of free and low-cost business resources on this page are tailored to crowd funding start-ups and small businesses, however, established businesses can benefit form the information presented as well.  There are links to articles that can help your crowd sourcing project, useful free business widgets, important industry associations, and an excellent free business plan template from the U.S. SBA (Small Business Association).  You’ll be competing for crowdfunding dollars in what is fast becoming a competitive space.  We will do our best to give you an edge up on the competition.

Crowd funding to start and grow a business can be as rewarding as it can be Stressful, and difficult. Typically, in the beginning you the entrepreneur is tasked with doing just about everything. Not only are you trying to raise capital, you are manufacturing, packaging, and shipping your product; you are also marketing and selling, doing accounting, and hiring staff.  Established businesses usually have a team of competent people they can rely on for answers the need, and to perform specific business functions.  Use the following information and links to help improve your business and crowdfunding efforts.   We are vested in making your goals a reality.  Please feel free to contact   us with your suggestions.


Welcome to Crowdfunding 101

Crowdfunding 101.  If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to review Crowdfunding 101.  This free crowd funding resource guide will help you through the whole process of setting up a crowdfunding campaign site.  It contains a treasure trove of valuable advise, which can help you create an effective fundraising campaign.

> Go to Crowdfunding 101

 

 

 Crowd funding Made Simple is a plan-as-you-go guide for anyone trying to raise money through a crowd funding. It includes current best practices for succeeding.

 

 

Crowdfunding for Filmmakers offers practical information, tips, and tactics for launching a successful film campaign by detailing traditional models of fundraising, utilizing today’s technological and social innovations, and augmenting each step with an added personal touch.

Hire a college intern...

Hire an inter to help with your crowd funding project.

Hire a college intern with the expertise your need.   Every successful organization, be it for profit or non-profit, hire experts to help them perform certain important business functions. Think of your crowdfunding campaign as a business, with different departments requiring specific talents. There’s marketing, fundraising, accounting, rewards fulfillment, and customer support. We’re not saying to hire a staff, no doubt you’re crowdfunding to raise money you don’t have.  But lets be open-minded.  If you have a crowdfunding campaign with great potential, that potential could be leveraged for different expertise. For example, public relations for gaining publicity; social media marketing to increase your fanbase, film making to help you produce that killer crowd funding video.  Hire a college intern with the background in the area that you most need help with.  Check out this informative article on how to hire a college intern.

> Go to hire an Intern

 

Publicize Your Campaign with PR, Press Releases, News Releases.

PR, publicity work shop for crowd funding.

Use a press release to announce your crowd funding campaign. A press release is a crucial publicity tool you can and SHOULD use to inform the media about your crowd funding event or new business venture.  You create a press release to get FREE publicity.  Free publicity from the media (newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, Internet, social media, blogs, etc.)  is  priceless exposure,  worth far more than paid for advertising. It carries more weight with consumers than paid advertising because your story is presented as credible ‘news’ in the voice of that particular journalist from that magazine, TV show, radio broadcast, etc.  Learn how to create a winning newsworthy press release.

> Go to Press release Article 

Promote your crowd funding event to the masses.  We have assembled a list of the top, best, places to promote your crowd funding site and business to the public for free.   The collection includes free Classified Ads,  Social Bookmarking Sites, Free PR Sites, Top Search Sites, and Article Marketing Sites.

> Go to Free Marketing Page

 

 

SEO Search Engine Optimization information & tools:

Optimize your crowd funding site for search engines

Free SEO search engine optimization tools

SEO—Search Engine Optimization basics. SEO techniques are used to help a web site achieve a higher rank in a search engine search result.  It is a form of ‘educated’ cheating.  This article covers the basic things  you can do right now to rank high in search engines. SEO techniques should be  used for your company’s web site as well as crowd funding site and other web site properties such as social media sites.  Millions of people search the Internet for products and services daily via search engines. There are hundreds of search engines online, however, 98% of internet traffic comes from the top five search engines. If a Web site doesn’t appear in the top 30 matches when someone queries a top 10 search engine using a keyword related to its products or services it doesn’t matter how many engines it’s listed with.  Find out how to better your odds by using these Search Engine Optimization tips.  When you finish reading the Intro To SEO article use the  SEO Tools link below to put into practice what you’ve discovered.

> Go to Intro to SEO Article  /  SEO Tools


 

Use our free SEO Tools for your crowd funding site

How optimized is your web site?

After you’ve reviewed our Intro To SEO article please try our SEO Tools to analysis your site’s SEO:

  • Online page rank checker tool See how you rank in a key word search. 
  • Check your link popularitySee who’s linking to you. Most major search engine rank site based on link popularity
  • How social is your web siteCheck your web site social media link popularity and run a check on the competition.     
  • Analyze your sites HTML and META tags site title,  meta descriptions,  and meta  key words.   If your tags are incorrect, search engines will penalize you for that.
  • Keep a close eye on the competition Compare your web site SEO analysis to the competition.

> Go to Intro to SEO Article  /  SEO Tools

 

 

Submit your crowd funding site to the top search engines.

Submit your web site to the top search site.   We have a list of links to take you directly to the correct section of the major search sites to add your URL.    Read and follow carefully the instructions for the individual search sites.  Each search site has their own way of indexing and ranking a web site for indexing.

> Submit your URL to top Search Sites   /   SEO Tools



99designs.com

Great professional custom art work for less.  Need a logo design, T-shirt design, Web site, web app, product packaging or label work; or brochures? 99designs is the #1 marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design.  They connect passionate designers from around the globe with customers seeking quality, affordable design services.  The also have inexpensive ready to uses logos.  Submit a brief explanation of what you would like to their large community or professional designers.  The designers will post design ideas based on your requirements.

> Go to 99 designs

 


PagePlus Essentials

Look like a pro for less.  Founded in 1987 with the aim to develop better value alternatives to high-end design and publishing packages, and way easier to use.  Serif has been repeatedly praised for its powerful yet easy to learn and  use desk top publishing software that enables businesses, educational establishments, and ordinary PC users to achieve professional-quality results – whatever their level of experience.  Create a print brochure, graphics, or web site with ease.  A high quality product at a very affordable price.   I  have been using this publishing program with great success since 1998.  It will make you look like a pro.

 > Go to Serif Plus

 

Migrate to Cloud computing.  This service not only offer a remote backup service,  it store all your files in the Cloud  where you can access your files from anywhere at anytime, and from any device. Professional Cloud storage from JustCloud is simple, fast and unlimited.  Just Cloud will automatically backup all your  important documents, photos, music, videos and more to the cloud so you are never without files again. JustCloud uses a small desktop application to backup all of your computers files to the cloud. Your files are constantly backed up and you can access them at anytime from any device in the world by logging in to the JustCloud online control panel.

 

 

Free business plan template form SBA.  Every business needs a road map, called the business plan. This online version is free.  Follow the simple instruction, type in answers to the questions, and you will have created your business plan. This online template will walk you thru all the question, elements, for executive summary, business description and vision, target market, defining your product / service, organization and management aspects, marketing and sales strategy, financial analysis, to give you a completely formatted, update-able business plan…. For free.

> Go to free business plan

 

Market data for crowd funding

General Business:

Are you struggling with your crowdfunding campaign?  This site is loaded with tips and great resources to help you get better results.   Many of the tips come from successful project owners.

>CrowdCrux

See how your business compares to the competition. The Small Business Administration new free Size program give small-business owners free access to data on some 14 million companies in just about every know industry broken down by geographic region in the United Stages.  You can perform Free important, vital market research that would have at one time cost you thousands of dollars.

> Go to SizeUp

 

 

Visa Small Business Spending Insights Report, 8/12.  Visa® Small Business Spend Insights monitors the economic confidence of U.S. small business owners by analyzing Visa Business card spend data and responses to a quarterly survey. Small businesses and those serving them can benefit from the trends and insights obtained from Visa’s proprietary research.

Things are trending up.  Here is an excerpt form their 8/12 report:

Small business owners’ economic outlook appears to be changing based on responses to the most recent survey. Confidence in greater profits is at its highest level since 2Q08 and the number of business owners reporting concern about attracting new customers is at its lowest level since 4Q07. Additionally, concerns over managing cash flow and staying in business are both at all-time lows. The overall outlook, however, remains guarded. Confidence in the strength of the economy dipped slightly and even some of the dramatic shifts in other categories included more neutral responses than positive.  Read the entire report at:

> Go to VISA Insights 8/12

 

US Census Bureau Logo

United States Census Bureau.  View the latest Census statistics for each State, local areas down to the block level.  Statistics include population counts, age, sex, race, ethnicity and household information, such as income, education and occupation.  Get an accurate population profile of your business site prior to opening.

> Go to US Census

 

 

 

US Labor Compliance Assistance

 

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is committed to providing America’s workers, employers, job seekers, and retirees — with clear and easy-to-access information on how to comply with federal employment laws. This information is often referred to as “compliance assistance,” which is an important part of the Department’s efforts to protect the wages, health benefits, retirement security, employment rights, safety, and health of America’s workforce.

> Go to US Dept of Labor

Free printable mandatory US Department of Labor business posters:

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Minimum Wage Poster.  Every employer of employees subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage provisions must post, and keep posted, a notice explaining the Act in a conspicuous place in all of their establishments so as to permit employees to readily read it. The content of the notice is prescribed by the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. An approved copy of the minimum wage poster is made available for informational purposes or for employers to use as posters.  Down load and print your Minimum Wage poster in English form the link below.  Links to additional languages  also below.

Minimum Wage Poster English (PDF):   Large Color  /   Small Color   /    Large B&W   /   Small B&W

To use this file as a poster for your place of employment, please follow these instructions:

  1. The file is only available in PDF format. In order to view and/or print PDF documents you must have a PDF viewer (e.g., Adobe Acrobat Reader v5 or later) available on your workstation.
  2. Click on the link for the minimum wage poster ( large color, small color, large black and white, or small black and white) and wait for it to load into the viewer.
  3. Please ensure that the Page Scaling box reads: Reduce to Printer Margins
  4. If you chose the large version, your printer must be capable of 11 x 17 prints or the two printed pages must be taped or pasted together to form an 11 x 17 inch poster. Otherwise the poster fits on a single 8 1/2 x 11 inch page.

Other Languages include.  Spanish Version   /   Chinese Version  / Russian Version   /  Thai Version  / Hmong Version   / Vietnamese Version  /   Korean Version  /  Polish Version   /

 

Equal Employment Opportunity Poster.  Employers with 15 or more employees must post one of two equal opportunity posters: either the EEOC poster, or the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s (OFCCP )“Employment Opportunity is the Law Poster”. Both posters are accepted as valid by OFCCP and the EEOC. The notice must be posted prominently, where it can be readily seen by employees and applicants for employment, e.g., personnel office, work-out facility, lunchroom, or company bulletin board. There is no particular size requirement.  Revised November 2009.  Down load and print your Equal Employment Opportunity Poster poster from these links:    English Version   /  Spanish Version  / Spanish Poster Supplement  /  Chinese Version   /  Chinese Poster Supplement 

 

Crowdfund Intermediary Regulatory Advocates, or CFIRA, was established following the signing of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act. CFIRA is an organization formed by the crowdfunding industry’s leading platforms and experts. The group will work with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other affected governmental and quasi-governmental entities to help establish industry standards and best practices.

> Go to CFIRA

 

 

Hospitality Info. for crowd funding

Food service, beverage & hospitality. 

Low commercial rents, great labor pool, (not to mention many people with culinary degrees and experience) combined with a positive out-look for our industry, translation—a great time to start your new venture.  According to many leading indicators, experts and just personal observation things are indeed picking up in for the food, beverage and hospitality industry.  This includes all types of commercial food related  businesses—food vehicles, fast food, catering, casual and formal eating establishment; lodging—boutique hotels and suites, bed and breakfasts businesses as well; and especially the market for food related web apps.  Our Hospitality page covers the following information:

  • Restaurant Growth Index, top places to open a restaurant. Find out the hots spots to launch a food service business for long term growth.
  • On fire! Gourmet food trucks are popular, affordable and profitable. A street food revolution is in full swing—ethnic, authentic, and affordable grub on wheels are all the rage.  Would be restaurateur turn mobile restaurant owner realize the practical sense of opening a food truck verse a real estate based restaurant.
  • Bring your food or beverage product to the market. If you plan on crowdfunding to raise money to manufacture a unique prepared food, e.g., hot sauce, condiment, dessert, snack, frozen food or beverage product, you are aspiring to launch a Specialty food Product. Great timing. According to the National Association of Specialty Food, the Specialty food industry continues to enjoy spectacular growth, outpacing most sectors within the U.S. economy. Turn your  secret recipe into a profitable product.

> Go to Food, Beverage & Hospitality Page

 

 

Free business startup calculator

Free Online Budgeting Workshop.  This self-guided workshop is a must for budgeting your crowdfunding event. It will help you budget smartly for the funds you will raise,  and funds you’ll be spending, such as the costs of giving gifts to your backer.  Do the workshop before your fund raising campaign, and afterwords. This free online business workshop offered by SCORE will help you gain insights on how to: budget your cash receipts and disbursements, determine your cash reserve requirements, and you will be able to put it all together with their online dynamic worksheets.

> Go to Site

 

Business Start Up Cost Calculator. Determining how much it would cost to start a business can be complex. Generally, it comes down to making estimates for these three items

  • One time start up costs.
  • Monthly costs during the start up phase.
  • The timing and profitability of revenues during the start up phase.

Once you make these estimates, you can calculate the funds you will need by month during the critical start up phase of a business.  FinancialWisdom.com features  a series of calculators that can help. This is a great resource for developing the financial section of your business plan.

> Go to Site

 

 

A must have financial management system.  Even if you are just getting started, you wont regret this investment… you will however, if you ignore bookkeeping and accounting all together, especially when it comes to paying taxes.  It is important to select the best business finance software for your business, one that will serves you for many years to come.  QuickBooks is the #1 best selling small business accounting program for good reasons.   It saves you time, keeps you organized, and provides you with accurate and up-to-date information anytime you need it.  It saves you time by automating your invoicing, billing, tracking and reporting.  In just a few clicks you can schedule QuickBooks to generate and email invoices to clients monthly, weekly, or daily. You can also automatically send account statements to clients with outstanding balances. Access reports, customer contact information, customer billing history, payments received and due, and more from your computer or mobile device 24 hours per day.

> Go to QuickBook


Communication tools for crowd funding

 


www.1and1.com

A complete online marketing solution.  1&1 MyWebsite package is better than ever thanks to Web Apps. You  can install Skype™ to live chat, Flickr® for a photo stream, Yelp® to post customer reviews, and so much more! Well, now 1&1 MyWebsite is not only better – it costs less too! Right now you  can purchase the best-selling 1&1 MyWebsite product and receive a free 30 day trial, followed by a savings of up to $90 in the first 6 months.* Packages start at just $4.99/month!  Check out the chart below for details.

> Go to 1 & 1

Free Unlimited Audio Conferencing. Yes, you heard correctly. Make free conference calls with out  reservations.  Making a free conference is simple and easy to use, requiring only a name and an e-mail address to sign up.  Once you enter your name and e-mail address, you will be instantaneously provided with a dial-in number and access code for immediate phone conferencing. Your teleconferencing line is available to you 24/7 and there is no need to schedule or make reservations. Each conference call account accommodates 96 callers on an unlimited number of 6 hour free conference calls.

> Go to Site

Get help writing professional letters. Click Here

Need a legal form or a well written business letter?  Pay up to 50% less for your legal forms and business letters.  Partnership forms, copyright, intellectual property, incorporation, non-disclosure, business plans, anything legal.  Take a look at Legal Forms site and you’ll find one of the best collection of legal forms and business letter on the web… and for half the cost.

> Go to Site


 


Print stamps, shipping labels without leaving your home office.   Stamps.com easily calculates and prints official, USPS postage for anything from postcards to packages – domestic or international.  You can even print postage right on envelopes – including the address – all in one step.  Use coupon code COUPON1  and get up to $45 worth of free postage.

> Go to Stamps.com


 


Send large files via the Internet Free.  YouSendIt, Inc. is the first Cloud collaboration service to offer an integrated approach for sending, sharing and signing documents online. With over 21 million registered users in 193 countries, YouSendIt helps streamline collaboration by enabling users to instantly sync and access content in the cloud and easily send files, share folders, and sign documents from anywhere—the desktop, Web or mobile devices.

> Go to Stamps.com


 

 

Rethink GoDaddy.com! Start with a $2.95 .com domain! - 125x125

It’s easy to be your own Web master with GoDaddy.com.  Seriously,  this company has taken the complicated technical, brain cramping work out of hosting and web site development.  They have the best WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)   domain management system around—and the best prices.

> Go to GoDaddy

 

Crowd funding approved marketing collateral, solid gift ideas for rewards, POP, and product packaging.

Memorable & unique Business Cards

Move over VistaPrint, if you are a creative, you will love MoMo’s services.   With  MoMo you can use several different design per print run! MiniCards are half the size of Business Cards but some say ‘twice as nice’! Upload your images to MoMo or personalize our designs. Use up to 100 different designs in each pack, and show off your portfolio, your products, your business or yourself.  Stickers and labels Choose from 3 different shapes and sizes to feature your logo, photography, design or illustration. Unique and affordable, our stickers and labels are great for branding packaging, promoting your work – or for having fun.

> Go to MOO 


 


Branded T-shirts are very popular crowd funding gifts.  Uberprints make it easy and very affordable to print custom T-shirts. They have hundreds of styles and colors for you to customize.  Fast turn around and free shipping. Consider them for your T-shirt gifts.

> Go to Uber Prints.com

 


Must read books:

 

Affiliate marketing is hot; here’s how to get your program going.  Nearly every retailer in the Internet Retailers’ Top 500 has an affiliate marketing program. Now free affiliate networks, automation software, and pay-for-performance compensation models are making it easy for small businesses to take advantage of this marketing tool. In the popular An Hour a Day format, this guide features a detailed, real-world, task-based approach to developing, launching, and managing a successful affiliate marketing program. It explores market research, determining payment models and reporting guidelines, recruiting affiliates, crafting appropriate communications, and much more.

  • Affiliate marketing programs help boost marketing efforts without incurring excessive costs; this Hour a Day guide provides everything merchants, business owners, and those charged with managing an affiliate program need to know
  • Offers a modern, real-world, step-by-step guide to researching, launching, managing, and optimizing a successful affiliate marketing program
  • Covers social media; creating policies; working with feeds, coupons, widgets, and video; creating compelling content; handling partners who are not meeting goals; and much more

Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day is the do-it-yourself guide to planning and maintaining a successful affiliate program.

> Go to Site

 

 

Build Your Plan-Build Your Business. The plan-as-you-go premise is simple-plan for your business’ sake, not for planning’s sake. Leading business plan expert Tim Berry invites you to block all thoughts of overwhelming, traditional, formal, cookie-cutter business plans and embrace an easier, more practical, modern business plan-the plan that evolves with your business and allows you to start building your business now!

“In The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan you have no formal processes to learn, no special methodologies to master. Just practical advice that will inspire you to get going and make your business a success. Tim Berry shows us how our businesses can be all we dream of them becoming.” – Anita Campbell, Editor, Small Business Trends

 

Create your business plan in one day! The One Page Business Plan is designed to act as a catalyst for your ideas. It’s a powerful tool for building and managing a business in the 21st century. It’s short, it’s concise, and it delivers your plan quickly and effectively. There can be no question as to where you are going when it’s in writing. Start with your vision and build a company.

© Copyright 2012,  FundMeFundYou, by PRJ Ventures

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