We featured the creative and innovative ladies behind Kifani, Incorporated in an article before, but here’s a little bit of background as a refresher:
Ashley Foxx and her sister April want young children to love reading. So they wrote a children’s book together: Keisha Cane and Her Very Sweet Tooth. They used Kickstarter to fund their publishing and ship the book to classrooms across the U.S. and launched Kifani, Inc as their own brand new independent publishing house.
In today’s podcast, Ashley shares some practical ways any new business owner can raise funds for a new venture.
Do Your Research
Before she started writing, Ashley did a lot of researching. “It was a very long process,” she says, “but very fulfilling.” After brainstorming the vision for Kifani, Inc with her sister, Ashley spent hours in the library learning the legal end of launching a business, how to market a product, and how to fund her ideas.
It’s okay if you’re in this stage for a while. It took Ashley 10 months from brainstorming session to incorporating her business, then another four months to write and fund her children’s book.
You’ll also want to test your audience: Ashley got opinions from grade school teachers and young readers themselves to craft the most entertaining and teachable story.
Make a Solid Marketing Plan
To generate buzz, Ashley identified 100 “mommy” and education blogs to send guest posts to about the book. She took her marketing offline too, planning a tour of elementary schools across the U.S. to read her book to students and have the whole classroom interact directly with her book.
Harness the Viral Nature of Crowdfunding
Ashley and April chose Kickstarter to fund the publishing of their book because of its built-in viral nature. “It has such a connection with social media that makes it so viral,” she says. She started by sharing the campaign with friends and family, but through social media shares, word-of-mouth and those blog guest posts, the Kickstarter project reached a much bigger audience – 30 percent of the backers were strangers who hear about the book through viral marketing.
Leverage Your Network, Then Expand It
Besides Kickstarter, Ashley found some private investors who were passionate about her book and publishing company. “Find someone who’s fired up and passionate and interested in your overall vision and idea,” she says.
Start with friends and family first. Ashley tapped into her own network of educators and publishing connections. She even reached out to her college alumni network.
“If you don’t have a personal or working relationship with someone, you still want to seek out potential backers that will be fired up and passionate about the future of your business.”
When it’s time to pitch, come fully prepared. Include your business plan, financial statements, samples of your product, current stats on your business and your plan for the future in your presentation.
Do What You’re Good At, Hire for What You’re Not
Ashley and her sister already had the design and video skills needed to launch their successful Kickstarter campaign, so they created all of the marketing materials themselves.
One thing Ashely’s not so good at? All the paperwork that comes with running a business. But if you want your business to succeed, it’s something you have to do. She hired an attorney and accountant to help her out. Use the skills you have and don’t be afraid to hire someone else to fill in your weak spots, especially when you’re first starting out.
Ashley has a lot more wisdom gems about getting a new business financed and flourishing. Listen to this week’s full podcast for more.