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.

The New Way for Businesses in The Gambia

For years, entrepreneurs in Africa have struggled with raising funds for their businesses. Thundafund provides an alternative way of raising funds through crowdfunding. Here’s how…


Since 2018, the UNCDF launched its program JSF in The Gambia to finance jobs, skills and finance for women and youths. This program will run until 2022 and its main objective is to reduce poverty through improved inclusive and sustainable growth and employment. But how can it do this? The answer is rather simple…

By helping entrepreneurs access funds for their businesses.

In 2013, Thundafund launched in South Africa and later in Kenya in 2019, and finally The Gambia in 2020. Since its inception, over $4.8M has been raised by entrepreneurs across Africa. During our pilot, over $10,000 has been raised by Gambian entrepreneurs. Over 300 Gambian campaigns have since been launched, raising funds for business growth and sustainability.

But What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or a venture by raising small amounts of money from a large group of people. In simple terms, it is an online fundraising!

HOW DID IT BEGIN? The history of crowdfunding is traced back to the funding of the Statue of Liberty in 1885; however, it gained prominence with the emergence of the internet. It later became mainstream following the 2008 financial crisis, where the failure of banks to support businesses gave this concept a crutch. Thus, many successful businesses depended on crowdfunding to raise funds. This trend has spread across the world since.

WHAT OF AFRICA? Africa, is not new to crowdfunding. Fundraising has been part of our culture and heritage for years. With Stokvel in South Africa, Harambee in Kenya and Susu in The Gambia, raising large amounts of money for different projects e.g. tuition fees, buying lands, funding businesses, our continent is already set to go the online way!

IS CROWDFUNDING FOR ME? YES!! Crowdfunding is for anyone and everyone! There are different types of crowdfunding, and each is designed to suit your specific needs as an entrepreneur. Thundafund offers you 3 types of crowdfunding: Donations for early stage businesses and non-profit, rewards for businesses with products or services, and investment for already established businesses.

What Types of Crowdfunding Are There?

Donation-based Crowdfunding is the simplest form of crowdfunding as nothing is expected in return for backers contributions. This type is best for nonprofit ventures such as raising funds for community projects, children foundations, and any other of the like. For businesses and organizations looking to give their supporters something in return, read on . . .

Reward-based Crowdfunding where the entrepreneur gets to offer incentives as rewards to the people who fund the project (the backers). These incentives can be: merchandise produced by the business e.g. bags, shoes, bottles, books, etc., vouchers, or even discounts for a future service or product. Reward-based crowdfunding is great for new businesses that wish to test out their products in the market and get funding at the same time. And also for existing businesses that want to grow or launch a new product in the market.

It’s almost like killing three birds with one stone, because the crowdfunding project acts as a marketing opportunity, a product-testing opportunity, and a financing option for the business. The benefits of this kind of crowdfunding are endless.

Investment Crowdfunding is relatively new in Africa, and Thundafund is proud to be a pioneer of this new concept! The entrepreneur gets to raise funds (a slightly larger sum than most donations and reward projects) through smaller investments from many investors. The investor (backer) will then have their investment repaid with a fixed return over a period of time, depending on the revenue the business generates.

(If the business performs very well, investors are paid out sooner, if growth is slower, investors are repaid over a longer period of time). This mode is particularly great for established businesses seeking to get a boost in their capital to support their growth or expansion.

Pick a mode best suited for you!

You may be a part of a susu and you may be seeking to start that dream business. Setting up a campaign with Thundafund is quite easy. Moreover, our platform gives you the opportunity to present your business in an attractive way so as to market your business. And your susu can help you in this!

Even more, you get the chance to reach out to supporters beyond your susu!

Want to See More Gambian Campaigns?

Click here to see more!

GRIT: A Crowdfunding Essential

It’s been a week and no one has backed my campaign, what do I do?

Giving up is not the right answer. You’ve put a lot of effort into setting up your campaign, you can’t give up yet!

This is where grit comes in. The American Psychologist, Angela Duckworth,  who is the leading authority on Grit describes the term as ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals.

Crowdfunding success is having grit, following through with your campaign, not giving up after a bad first week.

So what can I do about my funding problems? How can I show my grit?

Well you can start by answering these questions:

  • Have you told everyone you know?
  • Have you reached out to people beyond Social Media?
  • Do you have a clear idea of who is going to back your campaign?
  • Do you have a group of people helping you spread the word
  • Have you asked people for their opinion on your campaign?

A great start to getting funding is to read our blog post on creating a Funding Strategy. Read it here.

If you feel you need to restrategise your campaign send us an email or give us call. We’re here to help you achieve the funding you need.

At the end of the day it’s important to realise that it’s up to you to get the funding you need. Having grit throughout the journey will help in achieving your funding goals

Your Thundafund Campaign is just the start of your project’s journey. Grit will play a serious role in the success or failure of your venture. To learn more about the power of Grit and how it can be learnt check out the Freakonomics podcast on Grit here. Angela Duckworth has a great TED talk, watch it here

Thundafund DAC Presentation

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It was an overcast Friday morning in Gauteng as two brave crowdfunding enthusiasts were gearing up to present a crowdfunding talk to the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). As the audience of DAC employees gathered, Patrick Schofield led the charge for the morning by setting the tone of the presentation with an overview of what crowdfunding is, Thundafund’s history and briefly touched on the success of the Creative Crowdfunding Economy Development Project (CCEDP).

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Then it was Thundafund’s Marketing Manager’s (or Artist-in-Residence) turn to dive deeper in the state of crowdfunding in the developing world and to further map out Thundafund’s place in the crowdfunding sector. Winslow Schalkwyk spoke from his experience as a freelance artist in South Africa and how this exciting funding model allows artists and creatives to grow their businesses and brands.

Interspersed with fervent questions and answers, the Thundafund team worked their way through the presentation, highlighting all the areas of success and spoke to how, with the support of DAC, they were able to have a success rate of over 80% on the CCEDP.

But, more than just reporting on the CCEDP, the team set out to educate the attendees on what crowdfunding is and how this exciting new funding model can change the landscape of funding in South Africa’s creative sector.

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Through the CCEDP, Thundafund has been able to produce Crowdfunding Education Tools. These tools, ranging from videos to workshops, will assist the budding crowdfunder in their quest to have a successful campaign with Thundafund. Another advantage of these education tools is that ThundaFund is now able to reach areas and people in South Africa, wherever there is internet available.

To the future:

Thundafund is currently in the development stage of a new website which is mobile-responsive as well. The team have been making notes from all the feedback received from Project Creators and Backers, and there are many changes being implemented to take the crowdfunding platform to the next level.

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Thundafund has produced new crowdfunding education videos with Zootee Studios

 

The African Crowdfunding Association

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African Crowdfunding Association (ACfA) Established to Provide Equal Access to Capital for All.

On Wednesday 25 November 2015, Thundafund and Wealth Migrate announced the launch of the African Crowdfunding Association (ACfA).

Wealth Migrate and Thundafund have partnered to lay the groundwork for ACfA and are urging policy makers and others passionate about increasing access to capital to join them. ACfA will be the industry association for Crowdfunding Professionals and Companies in Africa.

The goals of the ACfA are:

  • To lobby for crowdfunding legislation creation and reforms,
  • Contribute to an increase in public awareness of crowdfunding,
  • And to create a more cohesive industry structure in Africa that protects investors and democratizes access to capital for all Africans.

Crowdfunding, which has already made huge economic waves in the United States, Europe and Asia, is a method of financing or raising capital that harnesses the power of the masses, or the “crowd” to fund a project, business or creative and innovative endeavour, typically via the Internet.

In nations where Crowdfunding is regulated and has governing legislation, it has leveled the economic playing field, giving access to capital needed for wealth creation to women and minorities that typically are overlooked by traditional capital markets.

“There is a huge wealth gap in the emerging world, and crowdfunding is a solution to close this gap,” says Scott Picken, founding member of the African Crowdfunding Association and CEO of Wealth Migrate, “crowdfunding can provide equal opportunity and equal access to capital that is essential for wealth creation within underserved populations. ACfA will educate not only the public, but also the policymakers about the benefits of crowdfunding for Africa.”

“We see crowdfunding as the democratization of financing for entrepreneurs,” says Patrick Schofield, CEO and co-founder of Thundafund, “thus far we have been thrilled to see the outpouring of African and global support for African entrepreneurs that have had the courage to launch new ideas into the world. There are so many inspiring entrepreneurs in Africa who could do so much to change the world with access to capital. Crowdfunding is the next-gen solution to Africa’s development agenda.”

One of the most exciting aspects is the support and recognition ACfA has received from similar industry bodies around the world, that have already been through this process.

Xiaochen Zhang who set up Crowdfund China Society and works on crowdfunding for the World Bank has agreed to sit on the ACfA board. Dan Marom who advised and got regulations passed by the European Union has also agreed to sit on the board. Along with all the other parties above they are providing the ACfA with a blueprint and framework which has already worked elsewhere in the world.

Organizations and individuals that have given their support include:
• M-Changa
• Jumpstarter
• Realty Africa
• Realty Wealth
• Babandu
• Back-a-Buddy
• 234give.com
• Uganda Crowdfunding Network
• The Crowdfunding Institute of Australia
• The Crowdfunding Professional Association
• The China Crowdfunding Society
• The UK Crowdfunding Association

• Carl Esposti, Founder of Crowdsourcing and Massolution – http://www.crowdsourcing.org
• Dan Marom, renowned expert in the field of crowdfunding and author of the pioneering books, “The Crowdfunding Revolution” (2010, 2012) & “Crowdfunding: The corporate era” (2015).
• Matthew Pinter, Chairman of the Crowd Funding Institute of Australia – https://www.cfinstitute.org/
• Frank Mukahanana, director of the UK Crowdfunding Association – http://www.ukcfa.org.uk/
• Paul Niederer, leading authority on Investor Aggregation Solutions, Collaborative Investment and Crowdsourcing.
• Ronald Kleverlaan, Co-Founder of the European Crowdfunding Network; Founder of Crowdfunding Hub.
• Scott McIntyre, Vice President of the Crowdfunding Professional Association – http://www.cfpa.org/
• Xiaochen Zhang, Co-Founder of the Crowdfund China Society; Director at the Crowdfunding Professional Association.
• Joy Schoffler, Principal of Leverage PR and CFIRA board member.

For more information email info@africancrowd.com

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Did somebody say Crowdfunding Workshops?!?

Get ready South Africa – we are coming your way.

Excitement all around as we are having a second round of Crowdfunding Workshops and Crowdfunding Intro Sessions across South Africa.

Do you, or someone you know, have an idea, innovation or dream that needs seed capital? Always wondered what crowdfunding the Thundafund way is about? Then these workshops are for you!

Our workshops – known informally as the gospel of crowdfunding according to Thundafund – will take place at these venues across Mzansi:

20 November: Cape Town Crowdfunding 101
23 November: Johannesburg Intro to Crowdfunding at Nomads & Co
24 November: Johannesburg Crowdfunding Masterclass at Nomads & Co

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.

Calling all Accelerators

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Do you know your Shakespeare from your Stoppard, your Balletomane from your Breakdance Crew?

Do you include # in general conversation and compile status updates in your head ?

THEN Thundafund the South African Creative Crowdfunding platform needs you!

We will be supporting a number of creative projects and we require 3 Accelerators who are able to

Provide guidance for project creators in

How to build their campaigns for success
How to structure their rewards
How to build their marketing & crowd-promotion for their campaign

And implement:
An online & offline project promotion campaign.

You will need to have the following attributes:

  • A thorough understanding of the online social media space with registered and active presence on all major social media channels
  • A thorough understanding of the industry sector in which the project is launching
  • Already well established personal networks in the promotion / marketing space
  • Ability to confidently engage with people on & off line
  • A reliable and consistent communicator
  • A passion for online engagement and new project development

A basic monthly salary of R13,500 for the 4 month period May to August is offered.

You will be supporting 3 different projects and hours and place of work are flexible.

We are looking for 2 Cape Town based and 1 Joburg based accelerator.

You will need to have internet access and be available from the 11th May

 Please submit a

  • Letter of motivation
  • Your CV
  • Details of your online presence ( either in your personal/professional capacity or proxy accounts) to TraceySaunders@thundafund.com

 

Application close on the 30th April 2015

Your Homework: Do At Least One Customer Interview

Thundafund Crowdfunding Customer ValidationSome solid advice from Dave Duarte on the importance of customer validation!

Customer interviews are essential as part of the marketing process, as they help us make sure that what we are offering actually has willing buyers, and that we’re presenting it in a way that is compelling for these potential buyers.

Here’s some suggestions for how you’ll structure your interview… Feel free to go off-script or create your own questions. (Plus, shiny gold star for anyone who does 5 or more interviews!) Continue reading

A Step-by-Step Guide to Startup Customer Acquistion

The road to startup customer acquisition (also known as “The Island of Greatness”) is a long one! You’re in the process of crowdfunding or you’ve got some funding, you’ve got a product hundreds of people love and you’ve got a great story to tell. Now what…? How do you take it to the next level and scale?

Well, the answer is simple (but takes a lot of work)! A combination of content marketing, PR and social media will take your startup to new heights. You’ll reach your target audience, build thought leadership, foster a strong community, position yourself in front of industry influencers – the whole nine yards.

If you’ve ever wondered how we help our clients acquire new customers and scale to the next level, you won’t want to miss this. You can start right here and right now. So, without further ado, here’s OnBoardly’s step-by-step guide to startup customer acquisition…

Thundafund Startup Adventure

Via Onboardly