Step 1: Prepare
Good work. You're already preparing by reading this guide.
To get informed we suggest that you keep on reading this, you should also go out and learn about the law, financial terms, and general investor literacy.
Want to know the law around equity crowdfunding? Here is the Regulatory Guide 261 (RG261) that ASIC created for companies preparing to equity crowdfund.
Confused by financial terms? Here's Business.gov.au's summary of Key Financial Terms.
Having a handle on the law and jargon helps you make the most of your campaign. You’ll understand your responsibilities and build a better pitch.
Think it through
Equity crowdfunding is similar to traditional project crowdfunding. When you create your campaign and pitch you’ll need to use a mix of text, images, video, social media and page updates to get the word out. To communicate why your crowd should invest in your company you need to really know your business and what makes, or will make, it work.
You will need to explain what your company is all about, how the funding will be used to grow your business, and the deal on offer.
Take a bit of time to go over your business plan, financials and really get to the nub of why you’re seeking investment and why you want your crowd to be the investors.
Make sure you can equity crowdfund in Australia:
In Australia, you need to:
Be an Australian company
Have a gross asset and turnover of less than AUD$25million
Not raise more than $5million
Not have the sole purpose of investing in other companies
Getting your team on board will be crucial to a successful equity crowdfunding campaign. Make sure your partners, staff and governance team know what’s going on and are able to explain the process. They’re champions for your business and will help in running the campaign.
You'll also need to get your business plan, financials, and pitch video looking good and up to a high standard. Not every business has the skills in-house to do these things and it always pays to have someone on the outside look in.
If you want some specialist help we have a few people ready and eager up and down the country.
Film makers: the normal daily rate is around $1,000. Email us for contacts in your area.
Accountants & Lawyers: we know accountants in your home town, and also ones that will Skype you. Email us for an introduction.
Business planning: There are business advisors available to give you feedback and support making your business plan. Email us for more details.
Your Cornerstone Crowd
Who is your crowd?
Figure out who your crowd is. It’s really identifying those who support and believe in what your business does and those that support and believe in you and your team members, as individuals. It might be your friends and family or people in your various communities. You might have networks and organisations who have supported your business in the past and looking to play a bigger role in the future of your company. If you’re an existing business you may even already have a dedicated customer base chomping at the bit to see your company succeed. Figure out who is in your crowd, then how and where you will communicate with them. Whether in real life or through technology, connect with personality and authenticity.
Make a list of the top 50 people you think are willing and able to invest in your company and spread your message far, wide and deep. Now go talk to them. Seriously. Email them or, even better, take them out for a coffee, a frozen yoghurt or a sit down meal at a three Michelin star restaurant. Maybe not the last one. At least send them a personalised email giving them a heads up about what you're thinking of doing, why, what the money is going to be used for, and how they'll benefit. Get them to agree to pledge when the campaign goes live and willingly preach your good word.
Use one of our templates to help you.
Take on board early feedback. Seriously.
Prep your crowd
Once you've figured out who your wider crowd is, start letting them know you're planning on doing an equity crowdfunding round.
Make sure to include this standard warning statement in every message you send on social media (and otherwise): You should consider the offer document and the general risk warning before investing.
Use your email newsletter, website, and social media to get a sense of whether people will invest in your company. Let them know it’s happening so they can save up, check with their partners, and plan their finances. Sussing out your cornerstone crowd and your First 50 investors is an important step, it validates whether people are willing to invest and their feedback can help you to identify what it is about your organisation that really resonates with them (and is likely to strike a chord with other investors). You can get your crowd to pre-register their interest by setting up a Mailchimp list (if you don’t use use MailChimp start — like — right now!).
What can PledgeMe do?
Preparation is key. Through our six session CrowdfundingU programme, we’ll guide you through what equity crowdfunding is, how it can work for you, how to effectively spread your message to your crowd and expand your following even further afield. We’ll get you in a great position to confidently build, run and celebrate your successful campaign with your crowd. For more info on CrowdfundingU take a look at the next page.