From a coffee shop in Laos that aims to give 100% of its profits to sanitary education and clean-water projects, to an iPhone case that doubles as a stun gun created by a former victim of robbery in Louisiana, Indiegogo serves as the starting platform for every type of project and entrepreneur.
And while the campaigns can range from creative aims to social disruption, some of the most memorable endeavors have been from small business owners trying to get their ideas off the ground.
Garnering funding for the first attempt at owning a business is usually the biggest obstacle for small business owners, and Indiegogo offers an obstacle-free path to attempting crowdfunding, and could be the perfect fit to help get your business idea off the ground.
The Original Crowdfunders
Launched in 2008, Indiegogo was the first of its kind, preceding the now hugely popular Kickstarter. But what makes it different from other crowdfunding platforms is that you can fund any type of project from anywhere in the world.
Co-founder and CEO Slava Rubin said in an interview with Inc. Magazine that the openness of Indiegogo is what sets it apart from other crowdfunding platforms.
“We’re in any country in the world, and you can fund any idea. We have no judgment about your campaign. We believe that sort of openness is how you disrupt access to capital,” he said.
The Small Business Owners Secret Weapon
Securing funds for a small business idea can be a difficult road to map out. From traditional bank loans to seeking out individual investors, the process can be intimidating to the small business owner who just wants to create his or her products. Indiegogo attempts to simplify the process by giving everyone with an idea all the tools they need to garner funding.
“It’s shocking how many people get denied or get put into an endless queue of being told their project’s not good enough.
“On Indiegogo, you can choose to have fixed funding, which means you have to hit your target to get paid, or flexible funding, which means you get your money no matter what you raise. So the word “success” to us is completely different than it is on other platforms,” he said.
When Maudeline Black gave her husband Sam a brewing kit as a Valentine’s Day gift, she had no idea that the hobby would soon turn into an entrepreneurial venture for the couple. But opening a microbrewery was beyond their financial reach, so the couple turned to Indiegogo to secure the funds they would need to begin brewing in their hometown of Cork, Ireland. By giving everything from T-shirts to a beer-mug set, the couple is halfway to their goal, with just under a month left on the campaign.
Projects of Every Type
And it’s not just new business ventures that have benefited from the platform. Small business neighbors Gamers Anonymous and MetaLogic Computers suffered heavy losses during a particularly bad storm in their town of Albuquerque, New Mexico. And instead of packing it in and giving up, they turned to Indiegogo to appeal to the goodness of internet users all over the world to help save their store.
Their campaign includes different items for various contribution amounts, all with the goal of keeping their physical locations open and replenishing the products that were lost. With 23 days left on their campaign, contributors have already pushed the pair past their goal by more than $5,000.
Indiegogo gives you a platform, but it’s up to you to promote it.
With every success story on Indiegogo, there are a handful of unfulfilled campaigns. And while the site gives you the tools you need to fund any type of project, it’s up to you to appeal to your network of social media followers to promote your campaign.
Now’s not the time to be bashful – be upfront about what you need and why you need it. This is a perfect opportunity for a heartfelt blog post detailing your business dreams, and why this campaign could help you so tremendously. Make yourself vulnerable, and ask for the help of your community members.
Once you’ve written an amazing post, promote it and your campaign on your Facebook and Twitter pages regularly. Depending on how long you intend to run your fundraising campaign, posting about it a few times a week is not too much. With Twitter you can go even further, by tweeting daily and asking for support. Find other businesses that have successfully used Indiegogo and ask their advice, and search out #indiegogo on Twitter to try and get in on the conversation. This is your shot at fundraising for your dream, so don’t get apathetic about promotions.
According to Slava, Indiegogo distributes money in 70 to 100 countries every week; isn’t it time you got in on the action?
“We also have a lot of firsts. We have the first crowdfunded baby, where a Florida couple used Indiegogo to raise money for in vitro fertilization. We have Oscar Award-winning films. We helped people in Turkey get a full-page ad in The New York Times,” he said.
Make your small business the next Indiegogo success story, and then share your story with us!