So, you’ve decided to run a crowdfunding campaign to start a business or raise money for charity. Good on you – you’re ahead of most who are still thinking about it.
So, what now? Last month we talked about techniques you can use to create your story. But how do you get people to understand what you’re doing and how it will help them?
As a professional grant and tender writer I work with clients on exactly this area to help them sell their offer to a potential client. And because we get to work with a range of organisations from microbusinesses, to large corporations we get to pick the eyes out of the tools and strategies these organisations use.
One of the best ways I found to help clients spell out what they are offering is through the use of the acronym NOSE. Heard of it? Me neither, until a few months ago when I sat in on a client tender workshop.
Nose stands for:
The No 1 rule in business is to be very clear what you are trying to achieve and how it solves a problem in the market. All too often people start businesses because they love doing what they do, but does anyone actually NEED what you’re doing?
Let’s run through the four areas of the NOSE in relation to an issue; then you can apply it to your idea.
Do you know what problem you are solving? What is the need in the market you are addressing? Have you done any market research?
Do your homework (do I sound like your mother?). And do it BEFORE you start your business. Structured, in-depth market research will help you clarify the NEED, identify customers, gather intel on your competitors and compile Facts and Figures on the industry you want to offer services in. There are companies who specialise in this type of service, however, if you can’t afford them do the research yourself; don’t guess or go on intuition.
Here’s an example, you might want to start up a not-for-profit bus/taxi service for the elderly. Why? You like the idea of helping the elderly. That’s great, but you don’t need to start a business to do that (plenty of visitation programs in Aged Care facilities!). It needs to be more than that – particularly if you’re going to ask people to support you. Do your research and find evidence that the elderly struggle to find reputable, compassionate and reliable taxi drivers who can transport them to and from their appointments in Western Sydney. In this instance the NEED is to be able to reliably and cost effectively transport the elderly in a compassionate way in and around Western Sydney.
Let’s keep going. Think about the OUTCOME you’re trying to achieve? Think about what outcome the customer will get from your solution.
Using the above example, how would you explain what the benefits and outcomes will be for the elderly who choose to use your services? Are you providing reliable, compassionate and reputable transport for elderly clients in Western Sydney? Are you providing peace of mind and cost savings? Are you getting them to appointments on time? See how focussing on the customer outcome changes what you say you are doing and turns it into a benefit for the customer.
This is where you outline to the customer HOW you are going to fix their problem (remember the section on needs??). Discuss what you can put in place to address the need, make sure you talk about all elements of the how (without boring them!) – focus on processes, procedures and structure so you appear organised and reliable.
Back to our example, the types of things I’d expect to see under solution is exactly what vehicles, drivers, shifts, areas, booking procedures etc you will put in place to deliver the solution. I’d explain why we are better than other taxi companies and weave in some value statements that are a core part of the way you operate.
EXAMPLES AND EVIDENCE
According to Wikipaedia ‘Evidence, broadly construed, is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak. The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion. At the other extreme is evidence that is merely consistent with an assertion but does not rule out other, contradictory assertions, as in circumstantial evidence
To drive home your credentials, any broad sweeping claims you make about your business acumen or your experience should be supported with evidence. The best evidence are examples or even better, case studies, of how you’ve done something like this before.
Think about a visit to the surgeon to consult her on an operation. You feel a lot better when you see all her certifications and registrations on the wall but even better when she tells you she’s performed the same operation 150 times without losing a single patient!
Include evidence that you’re good at what you do. Tell your potential customers how good you are (don’t go overboard, just lay out the facts!). Give them confidence in you by providing examples of how you’ve done something like this before and what the outcome of that experience was.
In our example I would tell my customers about my 15 years’ experience as a bus and taxi operator. I would tell them about my 25 years’ experience supporting and working with the elderly and I would tell them about my success in managing a fleet of vehicles and drivers providing services to a vulnerable community. Then I would give them the detail of where, when, who, what and how you did that and how successful or not it was.
The bottom line in business and selling yourself online is you need to build your supporters confidence in your ability to deliver on the promised rewards. Using the NOSE principle might help you dig out the detail that will help you attract supporters to your campaign. After all, the Nose knows.