7 Proven methods to fund your ideas (internally or externally)
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7 Proven methods to fund your growth ideas
(internally or externally)

So you’ve got a cracker idea that you know will bring in the dollars, but you can’t find the money to fund the project. That’s so frustrating!

That’s why in this session, you’re going to learn 7 proven ways to fund your project.

So sharpen your senses, sharpen your pencil and stick around as you discover the power of pre-order, crowdfunding, Beta testers and R&D grants, just to name a few.

Now, before we get into the funding methods, I’m going to assume that you have validated your idea. If you haven’t, you could be wasting a lot of time, energy, money and reputation.

If you haven’t got your head across validation, do it now by checking out the validation techniques in my latest book, The Reinvention Sprint. Or, at the very least, download The Relaxed Leaders Guide to Getting Anyone to Innovate for more info.

For those who won’t check out those resources, here’s the 25 word summary of the 3 critical components to validate: 
i) Is your problem worth solving? ii.) Is the market willing to pay for a solution? iii) Does your solution effectively solve the problem?

Now, let’s get onto the funding methods…

Method 1. Pre-orders

If you know there’s a problem that people want solved, and are willing to pay for it. Then create a pre-order form on a landing page for your upcoming product.

Next, pay for some low-cost social media ads for your specific market. Get the ads to send prospective customers to your sales landing page and watch the money come in.

Okay, it may not be as smooth sailing as that. Still, provided you’ve validated that it’s a real problem worth solving and the market is willing to pay for it, people will want to sign up.

To get more people to sign-up:

  1. Look at what bonuses or special status people will get if they pre-order versus waiting until it’s completely ready to ship.
  2. Work through all the ideas you can think of before looking at discounting.
  3. Save that as a last resort.

To make sure your pre-sales landing page works, make sure you address a few fundamentals such as:

  • A compelling headline - here’s an example that I have used before - The #1 Innovation Mistake People Make That Bleeds Them Dry

  • Clarify who it’s for.
  • Lists the critical benefits for the customer. Think of the 5 ways your product or service will make them or save them money. Or help them avoid effort, escape pain, get more comfort or praise etc.
  • Identify the main pain point - what does not solving the problem cost the customer financially, emotionally, and physically.
  • What’s the product you are offering similar to? (People are scared of the unknown, so you need them to have something that they can associate with). You can use the formula - It’s like [insert existing available product] but for [insert new category or application]. Or It’s like [insert existing available product] but without [insert painful feature].  Here’s an example: Krisp is a nifty tech product I use. It’s a noise reduction software that eliminates background noise on conference calls. HEre’s a rough attempt by me - “It’s like having an AI sound editor removing background nose but without spending a fortune.”
  • Social proof - this might be hard if your product is not fully built or in production. But if you can get some early beta users to gain testimonials, great. If not, you can use statistics to help emphasise why they should need it. For example, suppose I have productivity software. In that case, I could share a statistic like “The average business person spends 80minutes a day reading their emails.”

  • Call to action - be specific about what you want them to do. E.g. Register here now!

  • Sense of urgency or scarcity - Pre-order bonus offer closes in 48 hours, or only 200 pre-order bonuses are available. NB: Make sure your scarcity or urgency is legitimate
Method 2. Budget borrowing

The simplest way to get funding for components of your program is to call the project anything but innovation (unless, of course, you have an organisation that loves supporting innovation projects).

If it’s a product you want funding for, use innovation synonyms such as:

  • Product modernisation
  • Product modification
  • Product improvement
  • Product variation
  • Product adaptation
  • Product enhancement
  • Product regeneration
  • Product advancement
  • Product renovation
  • Product reinvention
  • Product overhaul
  • Product rejuvenation
  • Product fix
  • Product flexibility
  • Product desirability
Method 3. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter are the platforms where you can get people to financially back your project. Hundreds of Kickstarter campaigns have raised six-figure funds.

The ingredients behind the most successful campaigns include being crystal clear about the problem it solves, the quality of the solution, a compelling message (demo video), and your network’s power. 

When choosing your crowdfunding site, think of locality, history of campaign successes, and whether your solution fits into the types of campaigns that the selected crowdfunding platform audience supports.

Make sure you’ve also got some compelling ideas around what bonus they would gain by taking the risk to invest in your solution. 

Method 4. Beta testers

Having beta users or a pre-launch is a great way to get funding before completing your project.

Beta users know there will be some kinks in whatever you offer. Still, they also know they’ll be getting an exceptional deal and will be a part of something new and exciting. They can provide input and, most importantly, provide you with social proof with great testimonials.

Be clear about the benefits and status they will gain and make them feel like a part of the team.

Method 5. Industry partnerships
You don’t always have to go it alone. I’ve worked with several companies that have created partnerships with non-competing companies in different industries.

Ask the question around, “What industries or organisations could benefit massively by being involved in this project?”

Method 6. Govt R&D Grants
I’ve got a mentoring client who specialises in bringing people Government R&D grants. Depending on which country and state or territory you live in, you will be amazed at how much funding is there for innovation projects. Some may even go as far as having a 50/50 investment agreement. You commit and spend $10,000, and they’ll throw in $10,000.

Yes, there’s some paperwork, but many experts can help or take the plunge and do it yourself.
Method 7. Angel investor or Venture capital
Some would call these people sharks, but they are the ones putting their money on the line.

Here’s the thing, if they say yes, they want to invest in your idea but decide not to, it means you’re onto a winner. If you choose to take them up on the offer, check all the terms with some expert legal advice because they are in it for the money. Angel investors throw their own money into it, and venture capitalists invest other people’s money.

In my experience, venture capital firms require a lot more paperwork to get over the line than angel investors.

For a list of venture capital firms, head to a directory like this one https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/vc-directory


Now you have some practical ways to get funding. It's not as difficult as it's cracked up to be... provided you follow the right steps.

By the way, if you found this valuable and want more, click here to discover how my 30-day online business reinvention course can reinvent your business results.

Founder, Keynote Speaker, Author

PS: Whether you’re looking for an innovation agency to improve your product with innovation, create an innovation disruption, or hack your business growth, we’re here to help.

Nils Vesk is a Four-Time Author and International Keynote Speaker. Nils has worked globally with over 200 bluechip companies including 3M, American Express, Canon, Caltex, Microsoft, Nestle´, IBM, Fuji Xerox, PWC, HP and Pfizer.

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About Nils Vesk

He's the founder of Ideas With Legs.

His  clients call him a Reinvention Renegade. Nils Vesk is an international authority on innovation and the inventor of the ‘Innovation Archetypes Process’.

Around the globe, leading companies such as Nestle, HP & Pfizer turn to Nils to share his proven innovation techniques for formulating commercial insights, ideas, extraordinary customer experiences and irresistible products.

Nils unpacks the million-dollar innovation principles used to create rapid growth for the future.

Nils is the author of a number of books including "Ideas With Legs - How to Create Brilliant Ideas and Bring Them to Life", and "Innovation Archetypes - Principles for World Class Innovation".

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