When some enlightened people were saying entrepreneurship is filled with challenges, they weren't kidding. The world paints it like an easy ticket to milking gold but the real entrepreneurs know the issues they face behind the scenes.
While we may not see the end of this article if I start listing the challenges, I've decided to simply tackle one of the major problems most Nigerian business owners are facing today - financing.
Lack of funds can be a nightmare for any entrepreneur. For some people, funding was never an issue but for others, the capital is the very obstacle between them and the birth of a good brand.
This very reason is enough to drive new founders insane but the smart ones always find a way out and we are determined to help them win the fundraising battle.
Can you raise business funds online?
Sure. In this day and time, the easiest and fastest way to raise business funds is actually on the Internet and this is not limited to crowdfunding and VC or Angel platforms.
Basically, the traditional way of raising funds for business has always been through personal savings. Every single entrepreneur wanting to start a new venture knows that it's better to kick start it with his/her money.
This keeps him/her committed to seeing it through and convinces investors that he/she actually believes in the idea. When an entrepreneur can't invest his/her money into the venture, the entrepreneur shouldn't expect an outsider to do so.
When starting out, it's only logical that you hit a few milestones using your own savings. It's true that in most cases it will cost you money to make money but there are also quite a few side hustles you can run online to raise a few hundred dollars without drilling a hole in your pocket.
A simple example is to learn a skill and offer your services online. You can do this through freelancing by joining platforms like UpWork and People Per Hour.
Freelancing online doesn't cost a thing but to make it work, you will have to put in real effort. Study your market and avoid services that are too competitive.
Since the inception of the Kiva.org platform, getting business loans have been easier. Even online platforms like Angel.co are providing companies with Angel investors on a daily basis.
And for operational brands seeking venture capitalists, VC4a.com has been their destination. And now thanks to Slourish.com, startups can raise funds through crowd-investing.
We all know securing funds through other methods (loan from banks, grants, angel investment, venture capital etc) have proven to be quite unreliable and that's why crowd-investing is the saviour of today's business fundraising.
Crowd-investing which allows multiple micro-investments from the public in a bid to get a product to the market is actually not the only way you can fund your business on Slourish.com.
Want to fund your business on Slourish?
Just in case this is your first time you are reading about Slourish, it's a crowd-investing community-based platform that houses a host of entrepreneurs, micro-investors and other entities who are working together to develop their favourite brands.
Members fund businesses for a share in the profit. This means, as an entrepreneur, you can also get your business listed on the platform for the members to invest in.
1. Create a startup funding campaign.
This is the obvious way to raise funds for your business on Slourish as it's the basis of what the platform is all about. To do this, you simply submit your business details on the 'Add your startup' page and the Slourish
Team will vet it and grant you access to create your campaign. Once your campaign has been published the rest is history. Members will start investing in your business in few clicks.
Sadly, in a bid to protect the investments on the platform, Slourish is quite strict when vetting the startups. This means not all businesses are accepted on Slourish.
We are focusing on supporting quality businesses that can become a major corporation in the nearest future. Crowd-investing actually works more for solid brands with scalable concepts that could become a corporation in the nearest possible time.
You can't crowd-invest a 50kobo business. At least that's what I think. If you are building a solid brand, then crowd-investing your startup on Slourish is a piece of cake.
2. Loan acquisition packages.
Well, getting loans to finance business operations is something our forefathers started since the days of Moses.
However, except you are taking a loan from your family or friend, chances of acquiring third-party loans in Nigeria from external entities is probably lower than winning a pitch competition or even a lottery.
Our financial institutions don't smile on startups without huge assets. In fact, most banks would demand a leg and a tail before they can even look at your proposal.
The banks shouldn't really be blamed as startup ventures are too risky. The fact that some entrepreneurs lack basic management skills capable of running their business finances to bankruptcy, is another reason most financial institutions avoid pumping their money into ventures with no assets.
This gets worse when you are trying to borrow millions of Naira. Luckily, a few more friendly loan opportunities are arriving these days and one of them is the our loan acquisition packages.
As clearly stated on the platform, active members will be able to acquire loans of up to N5m to facilitate virtually any project.
3. Participate in Slourish programs.
Yes, in addition to crowd-investing startups and loan acquisitions, Slourish offers a few more perks for members.
Some of the perks are in form of programs such as the review program, affiliate program, insights contribution program and the popular hashed profit share program which allows participants to earn monthly interest on their funds.
Each and every one of these programs has the potential to grow your money in such a way that you may no longer need further financing for your venture especially if you are running a small business.
Overall, if you don't want to crowd-invest your business or seek out the loan packages, then raising the needed funds by participating in any of the various programs will be the next best option as this allows you to save up the business funds from your earnings.
Each and every one of the programs is an avenue to earn and grow your money which could serve as capital for your business or enough funds for bootstrapping your startup to fruition.
After reading this I believe you no longer have any reason not to be able to raise funds for your business since Slourish has made everything easier.
You just have to remember that there's a type of funding, a level of funding and a suitable funding platform for every business depending on the concept, stage and magnitude.
For instance, while you may conveniently attract loans from friends for a boutique business in a good location, no angel investor or venture capitalist will be interested in financing just another shop.
And even if your concept is magnificent and exceptional, if you are still a pre-seed company with no prototype, you are better off seeking accelerator programs and crowd-investing but with some exposure and market demand, an Angel investor may be interested.
The middle ground, however, is crowd-investing as micro-investors are more tolerant since they are funding your project in small bits. Thanks to Slourish Ltd, entrepreneurs like you can now see a brighter future.