Ask Fred

Seed Funding

Ask Fred

Being an entrepreneur means deciding what you’re passionate about and turning that passion into your business, but we all know that is easier said than done. So we had the CEO of IdeaPros, Fred Cary, answer some of your questions to make your entrepreneurial journey a more informed one.

How Often Should I Post to Social Media if I Don’t Have a Product Yet?

It depends on what you have, who your audience is, and how good you are at social media. Build an audience. Join Facebook and other groups with the people likely to buy your product. Once you have a decent number of followers, you can engage that audience with little teasers. 

“You don’t want to sell a product. You want to sell a solution.” – Fred Cary

Talk about solving the problem and try to intrigue your crowd. You don’t have to say what the product is. Build into it, get the excitement up, and then when you unveil your solution, you can start pre-selling or selling the product. Do posts about your backstory and give your perspective as an entrepreneur without discovering much about your product. Make sure your message gets to the right people, especially if you are on a limited budget. It takes a long time, so don’t forget to be patient and persistent.  

When My Product is Still in the Building Stage, When do I Start Advertising?

If you have a product that’s ready to be sold online, that’s the latest point to start. Instead, start in advance, but not too far in advance. The difference between building up a social presence to advertising is that the latter is designed to make sales. You can’t keep people’s attention for a long time if there is nothing to buy. 

Think about branding awareness: 

  • Identify your audience.
  • Message them. 
  • Let them know your product is coming.
  • Get them to sign up.
  • Be the first to know when the product is available.

You can start with that three to six months before your product is ready. Create interest, so you have buyers when you launch. 

Think about a reservation funnel as a testing mechanism to how much your leads cost and how much marketing money you need. It’s a way to check your imagery and wording and see how to get the costs down. With as little as a $1 reservation, you will get the people who are more committed to buying than those who just left their email. Of course, it is always easier to do all these things with a professional because subtle changes make dramatic differences. 

What’s Next After Branding?

Turning an idea into a product is a very linear approach because first, you need to understand what you have, who wants it, and what they use now for the same problem. Don’t create something that doesn’t address and solve a problem. Think about how you can be better than your competitors and position yourself to be distinguished? After that, you start the naming, branding, and positioning process. 

“The branding is your identity. It’s how the world sees you.” – Fred Cary

You want to establish your identity before you start building your product accordingly. 

How do I Get Investors Interested if I Don’t Have a Lot of Sales?

Pique their interest. If you have a product for a rental truck company, show it to them, and let them use it. Once they see the benefits for their business, they will see the value. Also, they can open a lot of doors for you and share their connections. That’s why they are called strategic investors. 

The other way to get money early in the process is from friends and family. Don’t be afraid to ask for money, but be prepared to answer all the questions. Be transparent. Don’t ask for more than you need, and be willing to provide equity in exchange for the money. 

Some investors want something that is called convertible debt. It means you owe them money, and they have a right to convert the debt into equity at some point. You should avoid that option if you don’t have excess capital. If your organization doesn’t work out, they will ask you personally for the money back. There is also an option to get equity crowdfunding up to a certain amount without audited books with Wefunder.

My Product is Close to the Manufacturing Stage. What Angel Investors Should We Use to Get Started?

The best option is to find one in your area. You can go and physically meet people and present what you have. Show them you understand the marketplace. Be sure about how much you ask and what you will do with the money. Find the right people and learn how to play that game. For example, to manufacture a product, you might need between $25,000 to $100,000. If you have good credit, you may get that money from the bank. And if you have customers and purchase orders, you can do a purchase order financing – where they lend you money against the purchase orders you have.

How Do I Prioritize My Workday?

  1. Shorten your half an hour or one-hour meetings to 15-20 minutes. You’ll soon learn to focus and get the information you need to accomplish your goals.  
  2. Take an hour in the morning or 1-2 hours in the afternoon to focus on important rather than urgent things.

    “Set aside some time for the important things that are gonna drive you further along than if you just focus on the fires all the time.” – Fred Cary

  3. Start your day early, so you have time for yourself. Then, if you have a tough day, you begin it relaxed and peaceful. Read, meditate, exercise, walk, climb – whatever gets your body in shape and your mind to relax. And at the end of the day, be grateful. 

What’s the Best Way to Find and Get a Team Together, and What Incentives to Offer?

First, you need to decide if you need a team. If you don’t have any sales, you may not need people. The first choices should be people who work for equity, are motivated, and believe in what you’re doing. Look amongst your friends, and people you know with the skill sets important for you. 

How Do I Juggle My Current Job, Family, and My New Business?

There is nothing more important than your family and health. If you find yourself focusing less and less on your family, you may want to rethink what you are doing and what you need to be happy financially. Maybe you’ll have to raise your risk profile a little bit and decide if you are leaving the nest to do what you’re passionate about. Over time you should find a way to spend less time on your job and more on your future, but don’t quit today. 

You are not going to launch and become an overnight sensation. It takes time. But when it gets tough, remember all the big companies were once small and struggling to survive. What made a difference was the fact they persisted. You can, too.

The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey. We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.