For entrepreneurs, a strong network is a key factor for developing a successful business. Networking allows you to exchange knowledge and experiences, and enables personal growth as well as business growth for your company and network partners. In addition, networking will help you acquire new customers directly and indirectly.
Building and maintaining a network takes time and energy. It requires an investment without immediate results, however, you will reap the fruits of your labour on the long term. The concept of crowdfunding now offers another possibility. You can ask your network to invest in your company. The crowdfunding option has been around for a while, though now it has become common practice and a system of crowdfunding platforms facilitates it.
The rise of crowdfunding
Crowdfunding has taken flight within and outside the Netherlands. In 2015, a total amount of 128 million euros was collected through crowdfunding, doubling the total of the previous year.
2012: 14 million euros
2013: 32 million euros
2014: 64 millon euros
2015: 128 million euros
In 2011, a total amount of 1 billion euros was collected worldwide through crowdfunding. In 2014, a total amount of 12.5 billion euros was collected.
Amount per project
The average amount collected per project in the Netherlands has increased compared to previous years. In 2015, the average collected amount was 35,000 euros. On average, companies collected the highest amounts (90,000 euros per plan), compared to an average of 11,000 euros collected for creative projects.
Mobilize your own network
Before you start your crowdfunding campaign, ask your own, warm network to invest. This will boost your campaign and help convince investors who are not yet familiar with you and your company. Naturally, you will need a good pitch and a solid plan. Keep in mind that you will need to be active online (platforms, videos and social media) as well as offline (presentations and personal meetings with investors to pitch your idea).
In order to gain insight into the potential of crowdfunding for your particular situation, the Chamber of Commerce and crowdfunding consultancy Douw & Koren have developed the Crowdfunding Scan. After answering a few short questions, the scan will provide an indication of whether or not crowdfunding would be a suitable option for your company. An important aspect of crowdfunding is the size and quality of your network. The more people you know, and the more people that want to invest, the bigger the potential. The scan will also provide an indication of the required numbers.
If your network is not big enough yet, you will need to work on expanding it and/or search for alternative funding options.
More information about where you can network in English:
Image: Wikimedia Commons