Have an intriguing and clear story. Having a relateable story that solves a burning need makes people more willing to give you their money. So you need to be able to express very clearly what your intentions are and their significance. You have to be prepared to consistently put yourself in front of crowds of investors and connect with them directly; through a video, or in a town hall meeting. Potential investors need to see enough of your passion to think, “Wow, I want to be a part of it.” If not, in the words of Olamide… I’m sorry palasa, You suck! And that’s it; no funding!
Communicate in strenuously clear terms your exchange with them. To avoid any confusion down the line, establish a clearly written guideline(s) of the investment(s) that the crowd is about to get into ahead of time – ideally with the advice of a legal counsel or trusted mentor. Set all parameters up front: This is what you are getting right now, this is how we reached this price, this is how it might change in the future, and these are your rights in the events where there are further rounds of financing required.
Make sure that crowd investors understand that if they invest N1, 000 which initially represented 10 percent of the company, then the company grows and gets additional rounds of investment, that N1, 000 will no longer represent 10 percent of the company. Every time new money comes in, the earlier investors are going to own a smaller percentage of the company. Make sure you state how many times you will approach the market for funding, when and why.
In our current economic recession, saving money is tough enough, talk less of raising it. Thus, you have to prove that you know your onions and have the ability to manage people’s funds. If not, I hope your karate skills and those of your lawyer(s) are as good as Bruce Lee’s if, God forbid, the law suits come piling.
Have an existing network of investors (not potential, but actual investors). Crowdfunding depends heavily on trust and reputation, so you’ll need a core inner group to vouch for you, help spread the word and then actually invest (no use having vouchers who are not investing).
Every successful Crowdfunding campaign must have an immediate first-degree network that jumps in or is already neck deep into that campaign.
But this doesn’t mean you need to have thousands of Facebook or family friends; you just need at least a small group that is willing and has already put down, say maybe 15% of what you actually need, to help you get the ball rolling along much faster. Crowd investors have a very high sense of hesitation, so they feel better donating their own money when they see that others have already, too. Just make sure you’re no MMM and give people’s monies back as and when due oh!
Refrain from the desire to raise N100million from 100million people. Just because it is called Crowdfunding does not mean you have to raise so much from a sea of people all over the place. More times than not, you will find it easier to deal with the least number of investors that you can feasibly handle. Refrain from going into time consuming business discussions with ten million people who can only offer N2, 500 each, when you could better spend your precious money–raising time talking to the essential few that really matter; The ‘big boys and girls’ that can cough up a mil or more without batting an eyelid.
Map out a qualitative investor strategy and relations plan. It must include how and when you are going to communicate with investors and respond to their queries. Once again, let your investors know what to expect upfront, most preferably answered, in full, in a business plan/proposal/investment guideline/prospectus.Otherwise, managing the relations with a myriad of‘chump–change’investors will become overwhelming if not downright impossible (you’re too young to die, so don’t kill yasef by yasef).
Stay as much in control of your company as possible. Entrepreneurs, especially first-timers, are often unaccustomed to being held accountable to shareholders. You are going to have to deal with all the negative burdens of what public companies deal with, which is disgruntled and sometimes, unequivocally greedy shareholders.
Particularly if you raise money through Equity Crowdfunding, you need to be prudent in what amount of power you give your investors. You don’t give this type of investors what you would give, to say, venture-capital investors. Venture capitalists can often control major decisions in a startup, but you don’t want to give crowd investors, especially those you don’t know well, the power to influence significant company decisions, like hiring and firing the CEO, selling the company, raising capital, or taking loans. That could be terrible, if not downright disastrous, for business…How’s your karate skill shaping up thus far?
Be active online; really active. How much you can raise depends on how many potentially good quality investors you can reach. Crowdfunding is really about your MEGA social-media networking skills. Make sure you have built your Facebook fans, LinkedIn connections,Twitter followers, and your email list way before the campaign and have been actively talking about your product/service. All of that is your social currency. Use it wisely.
Cool perks; don’t start a campaign without them. In exchange for their money, you’ll need to offer investors an appreciable enough level of reward; whether it’s a product sample, the ability to vote on how the product/service is designed, an opportunity to get early access to a product/service before it hits the regular markets, or upfront capital gains before the next round of fundraising.Also, it is hugely important to offer multiple levels of perks to provide incentive for a higher and/or broader range of contributions/funding. Shoe get size; don’t give a big shoe to a small man; and vice versa.
Concluding Part(s) coming up; Do Stay tuned and never forget…Crowdfunding is built around relationships. An extremely difficult but very possible human phenomenon…you just need to think through it, or simply ask us…[email protected]
About the Author
Whenever he is up nights, Brain Essien faffs around the internet gathering material for detective novels he is not sure he’ll ever publish. He likes to play investment and brand strategist in the mornings and website architect/builder in the afternoons. On weekends, he likes to throw on a few apparels and gadgets and go bounce people out of their own parties if they become a handful. Besides that, he loves reading detective novels, building muscle, daredevil racing, video games, shadow chess and cooking.
African leaders should support MSMEs for rapid recovery of economies – Report
African leaders would help speed up the recovery process in most African economies if they can continue to support the MSMEs.
African leaders have been enjoined to promote and support policies that would strategically support the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and speed up the recovery process in most African nations.
This was stated in the Foresight Africa 2021 report, a publication of African Growth Initiatives of the Brookings Institution, a non-profit organization devoted to independent research and policy solutions.
According to the report:
- “Policymakers must continue to support businesses—both smaller enterprises and larger firms—that have been disrupted by the crisis.
- “Arguably, the greatest priority must be to bolster the micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are key to African commerce and account for 83 percent of private-sector employment in Africa.
- “Such businesses, which number between 85 million to 95 million, are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 mitigation measures given they are often characterized by person-to-person contact. By just May 2020, 75 percent saw their revenue decline by over 30 percent.
- Finance will continue to be one of the greatest needs for African businesses; indeed, only 5 percent of MSMEs across the continent feel they have received adequate support from lenders. Provided governments navigate Africa’s fiscal challenges with skill and determination, they can continue offering suitable financial support to small enterprises; in addition to indirect support through value chains and banks, such assistance might include loans, debt forgiveness, low-interest rates, assistance with payments to suppliers, and reduction in utility costs.”
Ways Governments can provide financial support to MSMEs
- “There are several steps that governments can take to provide financial support to MSMEs. One option is to assist MSMEs through larger firms in their value chains, which might include upstream suppliers and downstream buyers.
- “Governments can provide easier liquidity and working-capital terms to these larger players, and they can make such support conditional upon these firms’ providing favourable financial terms to MSMEs.
- “Governments can also consider providing risk guarantees or first-loss mechanisms while requiring banks to on-lend under the chosen set of criteria and guidelines in order to encourage banks to lend to MSMEs.
- “Policymakers must not lose sight of the region’s informal sector, as 84 percent of African MSMEs are unregistered. Policymakers can take advantage of the opportunity created by the crisis to convince larger numbers of informal enterprises to register, and thus gain better access to finance and markets. Moreover, to promote registration, governments could shape bold campaigns and attractive packages, potentially including multi-year tax holidays and capacity building for MSMEs.”
Why this matters
- Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are widely recognized for the important contributions they make to sustainable development, in terms of contributions to economic growth, creation of jobs, provision of public goods and services, as well as poverty alleviation and reduced inequality.
- The pandemic has seriously impacted the MSMEs in all African nations as it has exacerbated economic hardship and may have pushed more than 40 million Africans into extreme poverty.
- It is imperative that the African leaders focus on enabling businesses to respond effectively to these new and unfavourable conditions to which most MSMEs have been exposed to.
The FG in partnership with the private sector will continue to support MSMEs – Osinbajo
Osinbajo has stated that the FG in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses.
Nigeria’s Vice-president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during an MSME stakeholders’ meeting, disclosed that the Federal Government in partnership with the private sector would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses across the country.
According to a press statement issued by Laolu Akande, the VP made this statement on Monday at the first meeting of MSMEs stakeholders for the year 2021.
Prof. Osinbajo said the Government would continue to support innovation and interventions to deepen the involvement of new and existing MSMEs in the nation, this he said would help to improve the economy and create more employment opportunities for Nigerians.
He stressed further that the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan Survival Funds has sent positive economic signals. In a bid to complement the gains in this space, the Government needs to scale up interventions in the MSMEs sector.
In this vein, Osinbajo urged stakeholders in the public and private sectors at the virtual meeting to be innovative in the interventions planned for small businesses across the country, so as to consolidate on the gains recorded in the MSMEs space in the past few years.
What they are saying
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, during the MSME stakeholders’ meeting, said:
“We must continue to be innovative in the interventions that we plan for MSMEs because small businesses are the engines of growth of any economy, in the areas of wealth creation and employment opportunities, MSMEs are very important.”
Continuing, Prof. Osinbajo said:
“We really have to think out of the box in our engagements going forward. We need to change the way we do many things, we need to look for ways of multiplying our efforts because the challenges in this space are greater than what we have been able to achieve so far. Of course, we have done a lot, but looking at the numbers in need, you will find out that there is a lot more to be done.”
What you should know
- The Federal Government’s MSMEs Survival Fund grant scheme, which includes Payroll Support, Artisans and Transport support tracks, is a component under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP.
- The Survival Fund scheme was designed to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic especially on the most vulnerable small businesses, is a conditional grant to support vulnerable MSMEs in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector.
- The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country. However, 283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme. This leaves millions of Nigerians out of the consideration of the scheme.
283,023 Nigerians employed by MSMEs have benefited from FG Payroll Support Scheme
The FG has revealed that over 200,000 persons have so far benefited from its Payroll Support Program.
The Federal Government of Nigeria has disclosed that 283,032 Nigerians employed by MSMEs across the country have so far benefited from the Payroll Support Scheme of the Federal Government.
This disclosure was made in a tweet shared via FG Survival Fund’s official Twitter account.
— MSME Survival Fund (@SurvivalFund_ng) January 6, 2021
What you should know
- The Payroll Support Program by FG under the Survival Fund initiative was created to provide an adequate buffer against the impact of the COVID-19 on the stream of income of MSMEs.
- This, however, is an offshoot of the Survival Fund initiative, established to support and protect small businesses from potential vulnerabilities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In line with the mandate of the programme, the government will support MSMEs with staff salaries for 3 months.
- It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic and other regulatory actions of the Federal Government affected the core segments of SMEs, as well as the revenue and income vehicles of Small businesses in Nigeria.
- According to a survey by NBS, it became public knowledge that the total number of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country was about 41.5 million, as of December 2017, with significant employment contribution running to millions.
- In the light of this, it is plausible to say that the Payroll support programme is not inclusive enough, as the recent move by FG to support MSMEs leaves millions of MSMEs and their employees out of the radar.