What usually comes to mind when people think of getting funding for their business is asking for a bank loan or maxing out on credit cards. The problem with this is that most people don’t have the business track record or credit score to use either of these funding methods.
So instead of going the traditional route when it comes to getting funding, we’d recommend a more ‘realistic’ approach to getting the money you need to launch your brand. Check out the following tips for getting funding for your brand.
Sometimes, asking your mom or dad for money is the last thing you want to do, especially since you don’t want them to think of you as a dependent little kid. But if you want to get your brand off the ground soon, and you need the money, this may be the best option for you.
I’d suggest that you take it seriously when approaching your parents or relatives for start-up cash. When asking your relatives for a few thousand dollars, give concrete reasons why they should invest in your new business, backed by a plan of action that their investment would make possible. Create a clear proposal for the amount of money you need and your plan for earning that money back through your sales. But don’t complicate things in your plan of action.
It doesn’t need to be a 50 page traditional business plan. What’s important is that you have a few pages stating the core details of the funding you need to produce your t-shirts. Also include other associated costs, such as promotional efforts, and website building. Your plan for selling your products, and a basic strategy for reinvesting the money you’ll make is also necessary in your proposal.
Ask Your Friends
If your relatives don’t have the spare cash to lend you for starting your brand, consider asking a friend. If you already have friends who are professionals or have a stable income, consider proposing your need for funding to them.
Try making a list of five to ten friends who might be able to lend you the start up money that you’ll need. Maybe you’re friend John, who works for that advertising agency might be interested in investing in your idea. Perhaps your friend Sara who started a pretty successful jewelery line has enough money she’d be willing to invest in your brand. You should aim for asking optimistic and positive friends who are likely to encourage your entrepreneurial pursuits.
But just like with asking family members, make sure that you present the need for funding in a serious manner, providing clear terms and your plan of action. Again, you don’t need a complicated plan. Just a straight-to-the-point document stating how you’ll use the financial contribution and make the money back.
When asking your friend for funding, he might take an interest in becoming part of your business, and getting a percentage of the sales revenue from your business. If you really don’t like the idea of having this person in particular as a partner, don’t agree to those terms. However, if you decide to bring a partner on board who’s providing funding, make sure that the rules of ownership and decision making power are clear from the start.
Pitch Your Idea on Start-Up Funding Sites
Another option for getting start-up cash is to pitch your idea to the people of the world wide web. Sites such as Kickstarter.com and Crowdfunder.co.uk serve as funding platforms for creative projects. People looking for funding for their project simply create an account and create an in depth funding proposal. The projects people post on these sites range from producing a movie to creating a line of vinyl figures.
You’ll also find many proposals for launching a clothing collection, some of which have successfully received the necessary funding to become reality. You can ask for just $5 donations from individuals or even up to $2,000 donations, but you must give those who are donating something in return. One of the benefits of these fund raising platforms is that you don’t have to give money back in return. Instead, you offer the donors another kind of incentive, like the t-shirts you print, or recognition on your site as a contributor to your brand launch.
Enter Design Contests
If you’re a skilled artist or graphic designer, consider creating designs to submit to contest websites. Some of these websites give out prizes of $2,000 upfront, and even as high as $20,000 total for bigger contests. The most popular ongoing t-shirt design contest sites out there are Threadless.com and DesignByHumans.com.
If you run a Google search on ‘t-shirt design contests’ you’ll find a whole bunch of sites in which you can submit your designs for a chance at prize money. There are also other contest sites, like CrowdSpring.com, on which you can enter an unlimited amount of mini graphic design related contests for a chance to win money.
I’d suggest doing this only if you already constantly create artwork for fun. It can take a while to win one of these design contests, but if you have the skill and dedication to create cool designs on a regular basis, you may eventually win and obtain the funding you need to get your brand started.
Have A Garage Sale
Another funding option to consider is selling a bunch of stuff that you don’t need anymore. You can do yourself a favor and put your selling skills to the test by having a garage sale. With the help of your friends and family, you can gather a bunch of things such as clothes, toys, books, furniture, and other things that you don’t need anymore, and set up a garage sale to sell them. You can even promote your garage sale around the neighborhood.
All of that junk sitting around your house just might earn you the money you need to invest in your clothing brand. You can even opt for the modern-day garage sale, also known as eBay.com. Put some of your old trash up on the site for others to discover them as new treasures.
Now that we gave you some options on getting the funding you need to start your business, you should start now on doing what you need to get funding. Write your business plan. Create the list of people to ask for money. Dig up some old junk that you think some people might find useful.
But if for some reason you’re unable to tap into any of these funding options, you might want to check out our book, Launch a Kick-Ass T-Shirt Brand for even more funding ideas and additional tips on how to start a t-shirt brand.