5 Creative Ways to Fund Your Dream Business
This guest post was written by Dana Mauriello, Co-Founder & President of Profounder.com. Dana was part of starting and running multiple family businesses and has lived, eaten, and breathed entrepreneurship for as long as she can remember. She is the master of developing a deep customer understanding and applying this empathy to creating, marketing, and selling outstanding products. She created a unique major in Product Development at Stanford. Working on the Corporate Product Innovations team at Estee Lauder, she created new product concepts and brought them to market. She also graduated from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2009, is a champion powerlifter, and die-hard New Yorker.
I’ve been around small business entrepreneurship my entire life – my family came from Italy with a garbage business and we’ve since started an exercise equipment manufacturing company, a nutritional foods company, and quite a few others. I learned a lot from those start-up experiences and fell in love with the idea of entrepreneurship early on.
I was lucky enough to go to the entrepreneurship mecca at Stanford for undergraduate and business school and see a different approach to building a business than the very grassroots approach that I was used to. When I’m not thinking about new businesses, I’m either searching for new cosmetics (I worked for Estee Lauder & L’Oreal in Product Innovations and still love that world) or lifting weights (I’m a competitive powerlifter).
Here are a few creative ways to fund your dream business’ that I have seen:
1. Pre-Selling Product
2. Selling discounted gift certificates
3. Developing Strategic Partnerships
4. Crowdfunding from Classmates
5. Crowdfunding while supporting a non-profit
I’ve worked on numerous small businesses with my family all of which have been funded through friends & family, but ProFounder is my first experience starting a company that has pursued funding from professional outside investors. The key lesson that I learned from this fundraising experience is to leverage your investors and take advantage of the feedback and connections that they are willing to offer.
It may seem obvious, but it certainly rang true for us that the best way of getting in touch with additional investors is through the introductions your current investors.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Some of the entrepreneurs who approach us about seeking funding are anxious about reaching out to their community for funding and support. If you believe in your business then you should also believe that you are giving people an amazing opportunity by inviting them to invest. When you ask people to get involved, they will feel invested in your success (and hopefully, through our platform, they literally will be invested) and eager to continue to provide help.
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