This section will take you through the major steps of how to approach equity crowdfunding, and gives you some more detailed tips and pointers. Please note, that these suggested steps are offered as guidelines only. You might find each step more or less complicated, depending on your project, the size of your team, and the amount of time you are able to commit.
The early days of your crowdfunding campaign should be dedicated to looking into equity crowdfunding and preparing your offer. You should
- research potential crowdfunding platforms, the features and terms they offer
- ensure you understand the rules and legal requirements of the platform
- create a timeline and a cost plan
- understand market trends, by looking at how much is pledged for current crowdfunding campaigns and what is expected in return. This will help give you a benchmark for your campaign
- contact platforms which closely fit your needs
- carefully prepare and check any financial documents that are required by the platforms.
- start building your crowd on social media
- ensure you check the disclosure requirements and legal obligations needed.
For high-value campaigns, audited accounts might be requested and these can be costly Always check with the platform and your local authority on what exactly is required and how much will it cost
Tip: If possible always try to find a company that has succeeded. Ask them about their experience and if they would mentor/help you. It will save you a lot of time and their advice could help improve your campaign.
If your application to the platform is successful, you should finalise your business plan and financial offer. It is important to be prepared; ensure your figures are accurate and have backup evidence for your statements. Be sure you can show for instance
- the valuation of your business and the logic behind it
- the financial performance and forecasts
- the amount of equity that you are giving away and why
Telling your story in a compelling way, with easily understandable descriptions of your product or service and the financials, is essential. A multi-channel approach might be very helpful, including videos, social networks, live presentations. Ask for feedback from friends and potential customers to keep you on track. It’s important that you
- consider your audience and what they are likely to want to know
- be succinct but make sure your knowledge, skills and determination for your business shine through
- clearly illustrate the financials with links to where to find more information
- tell your story in a visually pleasing and engaging format
Ensure that you have a good website: A well-designed, informative and appealing one will go a long way to emphasising to investors that you are serious about your business.
Some of the most effective campaigns include a very short two-minute (or less) video. In it you should clearly
- say what it is you hope to do and why
- introduce yourself and your team
- explain the performance of the business
- show how you will spend the money
- say what the financial returns are
Early outreach is essential. It has been shown that campaigns that get above 20% of the target in the first few days are much more likely to succeed. You should be active on social media and begin building your crowd by creating and joining conversations.
You should be active with the crowd, online and offline
- motivating the crowd, encouraging them and sharing it with their friends
- being active on social media promoting the campaign and making it more visible
- talking to journalists, conferences, trade fairs etc
- responding to questions, suggestions and queries
Now the campaign is over you should deal with all of the administrative steps, such as registering new ownership and changing the status of a company. In particular, you should
- Arrange the new set-up of the company
You have now gained several investors and business partners. This means, most likely, a new governance structure and procedures will need to be put in place. If you have questions ask a professional, a lawyer, or your local chamber of commerce for support.
- Maintain investor relations
Depending on the set up, the decision-making process can change, and you should remember to accommodate your new shareholders.
- Prepare the exit for your investors
You will have to give back the returns to our investors (profit share, dividends, share buy-back etc).
Download an example equity crowdfunding case study: Oscar’s plastics factory