Small Business News | Cash-strapped entrepreneurs get creative

Small Business News | Cash-strapped entrepreneurs get creative

A recent BBC article discusses the problem of finance for cash-strapped entrepreneurs looking at a new generation of online funding platforms.

In order to get new ventures off the ground these online platforms, such as Kickstarter, cater for everyone from starving artists to tech start-ups. They also allow anyone with a business proposition to post an online pitch which goes straight into the offices and homes of potential investors and donors across the world. Although there is no limit on how much people can raise, creators of the projects must take a Dragons Den style approach and set a cash goal and a time limit. If they reach the goal within the time limit they get to keep the pledges. If they don’t, all pledges are returned. Alongside the ability to gain funding, young entrepreneurs receive feedback on their products and plans and well as having the added bonus of a readymade group of potential customers. So far 650 projects have been successful and pledges have come from 70,000 people globally.

To read more about this scheme please visit the BBC website.

Small Business Opinion | The power of positive thinking

It’s not just the weather that appears to be improving at the moment. If you believe the chatter, then the expectations for recovery are looking up and there are plenty of new opportunities for entrepreneurs willing to give things a go.

While it would be foolish to think we’re out of the choppy waters as far as economic recovery is concerned, the wise among us know that times such as these are ripe for new and innovative approaches and that more often than not; it is the SME market which can take a lead in this.

Free from the overheads and micro-management of some of the bigger corporations, SMEs and individual owners tend to be more bullish in their approach to market, something that can reap dividends for those who are prepared to gamble and go for it.

Indeed, figures from a recent Regus Business Tracker study back this up, pointing out that companies with fewer than 50 employees tend to think in this way.

Of course, being smaller means businesses are more nimble and able to adapt to changing market conditions and this is another reason why those of us running SMEs should be looking positively forward. Sure, you may not have the capital lying around that you’d like to play with, but that smaller headcount and lack of crippling rent to pay on office space can be the difference in your attitude to getting things done. Free from the confines that such pressures can place upon them, many great entrepreneurs I know just get on and do things without procrastinating.

That positive mindset makes a BIG difference as to how you sell yourself and your business to potential customers, whether it be in person, online or over the phone. You’d be surprised at how many people can instantly pick up on this and it can often be the difference between closing a deal and having something blow-out.

Stand up and walk tall, enthuse about your product and tell people about the difference you can make to them. Identify your unique selling points (USPs) and make sure you get them across. Oh and that bit about standing up wasn’t a joke either. Any good salesman will tell you that their ability to sell improves ten-fold when on their feet whilst pitching. Most will also tell you that the glass is always half full…

The key thing is to remain focused on what you want to achieve and avoid being sidetracked, especially when starting out. Outsource or get help with things that are not your business, like accounting or web development and concentrate on your core competencies. Oh and remember that your entire marketing strategy should flow from your USPs. Customers want to feel loved and need to know that you can make a difference.

Post recession | IT Startups fought hardest

IT entrepreneurs worked harder than their peers in other sectors to beat the recession – thats according to a survey by specialist insurer Hiscox.

At the start of the recession many felt that it wouldn’t touch them – that was until reduced cash flows, more competition, stress and other factors took their toll. “IT professionals made a much higher personal investment than entrepreneurs from any other sector to secure their businesses”, Alan Thomas, a small business expert at Hiscox claims.

If you would like to find out more please read the full story on Computerweekly Online