How did you finance the start of your business?
Often as women, we rely on “love” money – funds provided by family and friends to help you get started. Or we use our credit cards to the max, hoping we will soon have some cash flowing in to fuel our business.
Going to the bank or venture capitalists is not always our first port of call. For a start, it means that you definitely have to have a solid business plan which can seem like an overwhelming task, and second the predicted rejection is a bit of a bubble buster.
Just to be clear, I think having a business plan is essential. It doesn’t have to be a massive document, but the plan helps you think through the different aspects of your business – be it marketing, target audience and potential pitfalls you may encounter.
But a new financial option was launched a few days ago. Last week Donna West and Shelly-Lynn Nellis started a crowd-funding program just for women – Project Her. Both serial entrepreneurs themselves Shelley and Donna, they know how hard it can be to raise the necessary cash to launch a business and follow your dream. Within days of launching, they had 24 applications which bode well for the program.
“I know what’s really missing out there for women entrepreneurs is the proper guidance when it comes to investment and raising funds,” says Shelly, who has been an entrepreneur herself for 15 years. “While I do think women need to invest in their own ideas, I don’t think they need to feel like they have to finance every step all by themselves.”
Unlike other crowd-funding programs, if you don’t reach your goal, you can still access the funds raised. You just have to pay a higher percentage (nine percent) to the organization and if you’re successful, it is five percent.
This is a big deal. With other crowd-funding programs, if you don’t reach your goal, you are out of luck. You don’t get a penny. Having worked on a Kickstarter campaign, which was successful, I know it’s hard work so you want it to pay off.
However, both Donna and Shelly-Lynn also plan to offer assistance with social media, video production and much more and I know within Company of Women we will be working behind the scenes to help any members who want to take advantage of this opportunity.
When I heard the news of this program, I immediately reached out to Donna and Shelly-Lynn, and we chatted this week. We are now exploring ways that Company of Women can work together with Project Her.
As Donna said, “if you are a woman who owns a business and is looking for capital, or if you are in the process of creating or developing a new product or service, or simply want to support and help women succeed, now is the time to visit www.projecther.com.”
Personally, I am looking forward to seeing this program and its projects take off and succeed. As soon as I saw that they wanted to help women succeed on her own terms, I knew there was an affinity between us.
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.