The Art of Starting Small: Five Steps

We each find ourselves at some point with a business idea and often times dream about becoming our own bosses. Sara Blakely, CEO and founder of Spanks (a leading American intimate apparel company) says “People have million-dollar and billion-dollar ideas daily . . .” Very few of us, however, get around to acting on these ideas. In fact, up to 80% of us end up backing out of our own dreams. In this blog, we’ll share a few practical ways to take action on your ideas.


“Great Things Are Not Done By Impulse, but By a Series of Small Things Brought Together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Behind every successful business is a dream, and a dreamer who took action. So, if you are looking for ways to actualize that idea in small simple steps, here are some tips to consider.

Put It On Paper!

Have you really thought about the idea? Have you written it down? Research shows that there are numerous benefits to writing down your goals and ideas.

Writing things down sets the intention and is the first practical step. Written ideas are clearer and more tangible than mere thoughts. Moreover, writing or typing out your ideas clears your mind. This begins the organization process and clarifies your random thoughts. Slowly, your ideas begin to connect and a plan comes together.

Did you know that you are more likely to stay motivated when you have a visible reminder of your goals? In a week, a month or a year from now, you can look back to see the progress you have made at the written-down plans. So, go ahead and jot it down!


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Do The Essentials List!

Once written down, don’t stop there, go beyond the writing, capture the things that you need. For instance:

  • What kind of business am I starting?
  • What do I need to kick start?
  • What products will I be offering?
  • What is the industry like in this line of business? Is it competitive? Am I alone? What are other sellers like me doing?
  • What is my uniqueness as a business? (The niche)
  • Where do I see my business in fifteen years?

You may find yourself not having the answers to all these questions at the beginning, and this is okay. This brings us to the third thing…

Do A Recon!

Do a research, find out what other businesses in your industry are doing. What successes and failures are they experiencing? How are the businesses coping with these challenges? What kind of questions should you expect from customers? Which common mistakes should you avoid?

This exercise will give you a clear idea of what to expect and plan for, your timelines, where to source supplies, price estimates, and much much more.

You know what’s awesome? You can do a Recon on your way to work, or your way home. Remember, you are starting small and doing everything a small step at a time. It may take time, but it’s all worth it.


Before we proceed, did you know that every month we hold free webinars just to grow you as an entrepreneur? This month we have 5 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business with James Macharia! See you there.


Draft A Pre-Budget

Now that you have done a recon and a list of the essentials, draft what your expenditure might look like. At this point, don’t jump to a cumbersome company budget servicing million customers. Hold your brakes, you are not there yet!

Bearing in mind it might take some time to gain customers and establish a regular cash flow, draft a simple day-to-day budget of the costs you anticipate. So, be specific. Draft down the little you need to produce just for the first batch of products. Remember, entrepreneurs that break this secret have higher chance of success that those that don’t.

The Taste-Test

With the budget out of the way, it’s time to test and taste the waters. The only way to know if people want your product is to give them an opportunity to interact with it. Sell to family and friends, get their feedback, and use it to improve the product.

Another way you can test the idea is through crowdfunding. This opens your business and products to customers beyond your network. This means:

  • More awareness- crowdfunding is a marketing tool
  • More feedback about your product
  • Possibly, more funding


You can learn more about crowdfunding here.


Track Progress

Check your progress regularly against your plan to see whether you are moving in the right direction. Remember to always celebrate each milestone no matter how small!

Congratulations on taking the first steps towards bringing your ideas to life. Which step resonated with you the most? Tell us on the feedback.

Remember to Join us for our Free Webinar: 5 Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business on 1st July, 2021. Register Here.

Thundafund Throwback Success Story – A to Z AmaZing South African Women.

Here is the first of many Thundafund.com Throwback success stories for A to Z AmaZing South African Women – Modjaji Books crowdfunded to generate capital to publish A to Z of Amazing South African Women in 2017.
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“Our Thundafund.com campaign for the A to Z of Amazing South African women has been a huge success. We raised the tipping point money in a few days and broke through our dream goal a few days before the end. We were fortunate in that our team brought different skills and we were all equally committed to making the campaign work.

The video that we put together was simple and direct and strong, and addressed the reasons that we saw for encouraging people to join the campaign. We were lucky we had the skills in our team to make the video.

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Raising funds to publish the book has helped us not only with funds for the book, but created a community of people who care about the book. Lots of people shared pictures on social media of their rewards when they got them, and we were able to re-share these. The Thundafund.comcampaign has been a continued marketing resource even weeks after our campaign closed.

The book itself was suited to a crowdfunding campaign as it features and celebrates a wide range of women. The book is beautiful, the images are gorgeous and in it we recognise women who have been ground breaking, bad-ass and have made waves in their field of endeavour. A book such as this is necessary in a country where we have high rates of rape and domestic violence. The book offers a counter-narrative to the one of being a victim and encourages women and girls to view themselves as having agency.

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I think we got our rewards right, there were possibilities for support along a scale from very small – postcards (R100), a book (R250), buying one for yourself and one for someone else less fortunate (R500), as well as some bigger rewards. We had over 150 backers and we were fortunate that the campaign was widely shared. I think that people felt it was something that they could get behind, we offered them something that they wanted (the book) and we offered them an opportunity to be generous – buying a book for someone else. We received media attention for the campaign from the social media shares. And Exclusive Books promoted the book for Women’s Day, it is a best seller at the Book Lounge in Cape Town, and we heard this week that Exclusive Books has selected it for their Christmas List promotion. All in all we are grateful to Thundafund, to our supporters and readers. We are delighted to have been able to bring this book into the world.” (Colleen Higgs. 2017)

https://www.thundafund.com/project/amazingsawomen

Interview with “Sibo Looks Right” creator Ginny Stone

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When Project Creators come on board Thundafund and immerse themselves in their crowdfunding campaigns, reach their Tipping Point and gain more support than even they envisioned, we have no choice but to pick their brains! Ginny Stone, the creative force behind the “Sibo” series of educational children’s books, was eager to have us interview her for our blog.

TF: How was the crowdfunding experience for you?

Ginny Stone: It was brilliant – I really enjoyed it – despite the fact I made mistakes and could have done better.

TF: Do you feel that through your campaign you have managed to crowdsource for Sibo more?

Ginny Stone: Yes definitely – through the incredible generosity of Nash Nissan we’ve got enough funding to have “Sibo Looks Right” illustrated and print 750 copies of the book – plus have the e-book to freely distribute. Without the campaign we would still not have this book – we had been trying to find funding for 2 years before this.

TF: Please note some of the challenges you had with your campaign?

Ginny Stone: I should have built up to the launch more. To be honest I started the campaign at the wrong time (was in the end stages of organising a conference and I was multi-tasking like crazy). I also did not dedicate enough time to a twitter campaign (except for the last few weeks). I somehow imagined that more of the people I know would have kicked in R50 just because it’s a good cause – that was a learning curve – people have other priorities! I also thought the marketing opportunities would be wildly attractive – but clearly I missed the boat somehow. All good – more learning curves! I also missed opportunities of have radio interviews purely because I was too busy. Silly me!

Probably the most challenging was that some people are just not very online literate and they had huge problems trying to register and deposit funds (and yet others had no problems at all). I overcame this by having them deposit money into my account and then I would create TF accounts for them using Sibo’s emails and deposit the money into the TF campaign account. It was a tad laborious at times.

TF: Do you have any advice for other campaign creators?

Ginny Stone: Don’t assume all your friends will support you. Do your build up to your launch properly. I think the biggest thing when asking for money is that your product or end result is something that is useful to other people – not just something you fancy doing and don’t have the money for.

TF: What, in your experience, are some of the benefits of crowdfunding?

Ginny Stone: Apart from the fact that we raised enough money to make our book happen… Marketing. Getting your product – my “Sibo” books – better known. Plus, in our case, I approached a potential funder for R300 and instead they have commissioned their own “Sibo” title and have ordered 10,000 copies (this is a real deal – done and dusted). It will be launched in October – transport month. This was a fabulous spin-off.
The contributions from Department of Arts and Culture were also unexpected and very much appreciated.

Also, I am quite sure that people will be happy to download the free “Sibo Looks Right” e-book and so my ultimate goal – of getting people and kids to be more road safety conscious will be realised even if we did not raise enough money to freely distribute real books around the country.

TF: Where to from here? Now that your campaign has closed, what happens now or what are your future plans?

Ginny Stone: “Sibo Looks Right” is currently being illustrated – it should be printed and will be launched mid-March.  As I mentioned above – I am currently working on a new title on etiquette when using public transport (a “Sibo” book on manners – fabulous!). Also as a result of the campaign I have had chats with a guy who is considering having me write a “Sibo” book on saving – another great topic. I do also have many other “Sibo” titles brewing in my head – plus I write a weekly “Sibo” column in the African Reporter and it runs as a blog.

Check out the “Sibo Looks Right” campaign here

You can listen to an interview with Ginny Stone with Cape Talk’s Pippa Hudson here:

Calling all performers, writers, musicians and artists, come crowdfund your idea

Thundafund and the Department of Arts and Culture

THUNDAFUND and the DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE invite applications for an exciting funding initiative, Crowdfunding Creative Development Project

The Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) partnered with Thundafund in developing crowdfunding as a viable option for a wide spectrum of people, specifically for those from less affluent and historically less networked sectors. The DAC/Thundafund project are looking to the performing arts fields, including theatre, physical  theatre, dance, music and performance art projects to realise their potential through the Thundafund crowdfunding site to test, launch and market their creative endeavors to South Africa and the world. One of the most exciting outcomes of the development of the Thundafund crowdfunding platform is that it activates communities to support the creative industries directly.

WHAT WE HAVE

  • An established and trusted internet based crowdfunding platform.
  • Dedicated accelerators to market and publicize your project.
  • T-Bucks – a Backing it Forward ‘promotion’ of the Thundabucks 200 (t-Bucks200) (T’s&C’s)

WHAT WE WANT

  • Exciting projects in the  performing arts fields, including theatre, physical  theatre, dance, music and performance art.
  • Projects that have an impact on historically disadvantaged individuals and/or  communities either as participants or audiences.

WHAT YOU GET

  • Assistance and mentoring of your crowdfunding appeal for your project.
  • Personalized assistance from a dedicated accelerator.
  • A percentage of matched funding dependant on your project achieving its funding goal through the ‘T-Bucks’ promotion.
  • Loads of publicity.
  • Support and encouragement from the Thundafund team.

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

Download the application form: DAC Project Submission Thundafund form

Submit the completed application form to hello@thundafund.com with the subject line THUNDAFUND and the DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE invite applications for an exciting funding initiative.

Please note that there is a limit of 12 selected projects who will qualify for this opportunity for an Accelerator to assist you on your crowdfunding campaign and to qualify for the ‘t-Bucks 200’ promotion.

QUESTIONS? SUGGESTIONS?

If you have any questions on crowdfunding, please read the Crowdfunding 101 documents, Crowdfunding Checklist and do research on some Thundafund campaigns to get an idea for reward offerings and structure.

If you have further questions for ‘The Call Out of Projects’, contact marketing@thundafund.com with any questions or suggestions.