Crowdfund Investing For Dummies
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Your first step to making a crowdfund investing pitch is to consolidate your business plan into an attention-grabbing one-sentence headline. Sound hard? It doesn’t have to be.

Before you try to write the headline, sum up your aspirations and inspirations in a paragraph. You don’t need to share this paragraph with anyone, so don’t get frozen at this step. Just spend a few minutes writing directly from your heart about the why, and not just the what and the how of your business. Jot down the big-picture ideas that have motivated you to get this far in your planning.

For example, if you’re an organic farmer, your paragraph could be something like this:

Local food systems strengthen our local economies: When we buy local and choose to support local farm and food ventures, we reinforce our community, our environment, and our own health. Not only can we create local jobs, but we can provide a valuable service to the community, and our farm can enjoy 50 percent more of the profits by selling directly to purchasers rather than going through a massive wholesale produce corporation. Those corporations control the process to maximize profits at the expense of safety, force the use of nasty pesticides, and eat away at the margins of the farmers who produce the food.

From this paragraph, choose several keywords that represent what you’re talking about. In this case, you might select organic, farm, local, community, jobs, and profits. Take these keywords and write a few sentences around them that explain who you are, what you care about, and what you need. For example:

“City boy turned organic farmer with three years of experience needs $100,000 to create community jobs.”
“$100,000 needed to start local farm-to-table organic farm for the city of Anytown, USA.”
“Profits from organic farming are greater, and the food is healthier. Let’s create community jobs with $100,000.”

Take your sentences to your informal advisory board or, at a minimum, to the friends and family members who are your greatest supporters. Ask them the following questions:

  • Which headline resonates the most with you?

  • Which headline would pique your interest enough to consider investing your money?

  • What would you change in each headline to make it better?

  • Which headlines turn you off and why?

  • Is there another headline you like better?

  • Who else would you recommend that I talk with about this headline?

Listen closely to the advice you get. The responses are key to determining if your one-liner is strong enough to pull other investors in.

Check your ego at the door. Asking your advisors what they think about your headline is akin to your feeling self-conscious about your weight and then asking someone you care about, and from whom you want an honest answer, if you look too fat in your jeans.

You have to be prepared for the honest truth and be willing to listen, consider, and engage — not attack. Asking the hard questions requires listening to the tough answers. The responses may not be exactly what you want to hear, but they could save you agony later on and make your idea and business better at the same time!

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Sherwood Neiss, Jason W. Best, and Zak Cassady-Dorion are the founders of Startup Exemption (developers of the crowdfund investing framework used in the 2012 JOBS Act). They deeply understand the process, rules, disclosures, and risks of capital formation from both the entrepreneur's and the investor's points of view.

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