Whether you want to raise money through friends and family funding, investors or crowd funding – there are three first steps that can grease the wheels of your success.

  1. Having a captivating brand name.  If you have secured the dot com version; it sounds pleasing and its a viral two word brand: this is something the public can begin attaching a meaning to: it’s a concept that people can follow.  If you have already filed a trademark registration this can add appeal to investors.  Cost?  $10 for a simple domain name registration to $2000 for a Trademark Attorney and filing fees.  Most attorneys also prefer a costly trademark search but it’s not a requirement for filing. A simple knockout search is about $200.
  2. Graphics.  This includes a great logo and matching graphics showing your imagined website and/or app screenshots.  This further sells your concept in a beautiful and exciting way to potential investors or crowd funders.  Cost? $200 for a logo to $3000 for a full graphics set.
  3. Social media marketing.  Here you start putting your concept out there.  It might be a Youtube channel loaded with great how-to advice for your ideal audience or a Facebook discussion group.

If you decide to stop at this point and go straight for crowd funding or investor participation: you are in a far better position with these assets to raise money than someone who is merely selling a blue sky concept.  But bear in mind that raising money on a crowd funding platform such as Kickstarter is not exactly “free.”  You have to first create a following and brand love using social media starting with your own virtual tribe: the folks who already love and believe in you.

However if you can raise a small amount of investment through steps one, two and three or have more pocket money, you can proceed to actualization while you start selling your concept to a wider online audience.

The Actualization Stage

Create a website or a working model of your app or product.  This is where you identify the “MVP.”  The minimum viable product. This might be nothing more than a how-to ebook targeted at the audience that will be called upon to embrace your wider offering.  If it’s a functional working model of your app concept you have a much more solid position to build subsequent layers of functionality. Cost?  $3000 to $12,000 to program a real mockup.  The graphics you created in phase 2 will help the programmers visualize the functionality you are going for.

Creating your website, core working app or MVP brings you the next level of crowd funding potential.  At this point you can sell your MVP to the audience you have built up: further raising working capital.

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Get Your Startup Going without Venture Capital: Go Pocket Funding