A sobering 2012 study from the Harvard Business School revealed that 3 out of 4 venture-backed startups end in failure. This is due to a number of factors: management inexperience, insufficient capital, irrational exuberance without enough market research. But the uber-reason for new business failure is insufficient real time planning for long term success and the ability to execute on that plan. Planning allows the entrepreneur to consider and answer the basic and strategic questions and to stay organized and remain on track. Businesses without a plan can easily get off-target because they have no clearly defined goals. Creating a defensible plan with realistic marketing and sales strategies, numerical summaries, revenue forecasts, helps entrepreneurs convince investors and remain committed to their company’s long-term goals.

Equity crowdfunding increases everyone’s odds of success by requiring applicants to answer these questions for themselves before they present their proposal to would-be investors. When entrepreneurs turn solely to their family and friends, it can be easy to gloss over a lack of rigor and strategy with pure enthusiasm, imperiling the funds of the people closest to them. Entrepreneurs owe it to their friends to be more transparent but in the past have not always done so; but now they’ll be required by the laws outlined in the crowdfunding provisions in the JOBS Act of 2012 to be fully prepared before seeking investment from the wider audience. And this changes everything, including the use of what we have traditionally used and thought of as business plan. The virtual nature of funding portals and the need to share information with hundreds or thousands of investors in real time 24/7 makes PDF documents completely obsolete for crowdfund investing.
Putting all of these issues together, it’s clear that if the crowdfunding industry wants to succeed along with the businesses it funds, the business plan product must be transformed. The general consensus of crowdfunding industry leaders is that the state-of-the-art planning tool for crowdfunding is the Funding Roadmap, http://www.fundingroadmap.com/ -a virtual platform that makes business planning faster, easier and more systematic,  and helps entrepreneurs to create viable long term vision and strategy.

The speed, efficiency and standardization built into the Fundingroadmap reporting system provides the kind of transparency necessary in a constantly expanding global digital world. “…we are very excited to be able to provide this kind of advanced technology to our customers worldwide” said Vincent Molinari, CEO of GATE, a crowdfunding transaction facilitator. The fully compliant, shareable Funding Roadmap places your idea or business on a proper trajectory to raise capital now and succeed in the long run.

Fundingroadmap helps entrepreneurs prepare a compliant document and disclosure package for the coming SEC crowdfunding rules. It’s designed for compatibility with crowdfunding portals. It facilitates collaboration at a distance in real time. Items with finite answers are formatted in multiple choice. Navigation is easy. Funding Roadmap streams video presentations and indexes downloads of required supporting documents in its repository, as well as providing a Crowdfund Disclosure Report to greatly facilitate the required due diligence process.

If you’re funding your new business with friends and family, Angels or Venture Capitalists, Funding Roadmap will increase your odds of getting funded by helping you to consider and solve the essential puzzles of your enterprise, and to share your polished presentation with your invited investors fully, securely and instantaneously anytime from anywhere on the cloud.

Funding Roadmap will also: – Help you stay organized and remain on track with its unique benchmarking functions which also serve as a guide to track your progress and hold yourself accountable in the future. – It forces you to consider and decide on things you might not have otherwise, like business interruption insurance and cash burn rate. – It saves you a lot of time and frustration thinking through the numbers, and making sure it’s possible to hit your revenue and profit goals. – It will force you to prove the validity of your ideas, the product/service target markets and sales strategy. – Its virtual collaboration features helps keep everyone on your team aligned with the current and future plans for your business in real time and as changes occur.

Equity crowdfunding is changing forever the way new businesses are conceived, evaluated and funded. We have seen that even Venture Capitalists are not getting the information they need to make good investment decisions. Funding Roadmap is the technology that makes compliant and comprehensive planning documents easy to generate and share. Whether or not you’re crowdfunding, Funding Roadmap helps entrepreneurs and investors to increase the odds of success.

 

Funding sources are hard to find, and without capital businesses in the initial phases of development find it difficult to move past the idea stages. “While Americans currently have trillions of dollars sitting on the sidelines in money market accounts, countless brilliant ideas, technology, research and innovation have been squandered for lack of investment, with ongoing consequences for our health, our economy and our society. We need to encourage investment in entrepreneurs and innovation in every way possible and provide a fast track system to launch viable new ventures.” I said this several years ago to many government officials and it looks like some of them are finally listening to all of us who have been fighting to get a crowdfunding bill passed.

You can learn more here at http://www.startupexemption.com/crowdfunding-101#axzz1o5kOL9YM -the creators of the framework for the bill that passed the house by 407 to 17. So as the senate moves toward (we hope) the passing of the Jobs Act, which also passed the house with overwhelming bipartisan support, (that has the Crowdfunding bill in it), one thing is certain: its passage will provide startups and early stage small businesses with expanded access to capital.

This bill will create a regulatory framework to let private businesses use crowdfunding to raise up to $2 million annually from investors pledging no more than $10,000, or 10 percent of their annual income, opening up far more resources to entrepreneurs, promoting entrepreneurship, sparking innovation, accelerating economic growth and creating jobs,

What will happen next?
Most agree that current laws prohibiting crowdfunding exist to protect investors from scams, but those laws were written 80 years ago, before the Internet and social media were around to disclose negative information about a business project instantly to interested investors. Crowdfunding comes with crowd feedback. Public forums make the environment more transparent and fraud-resistant, helping to vet and weed out the shady characters that operate all over the world, even in the public markets.
The inevitable proliferation of thousands of crowdfunding sites and millions of participants will impel reasonable levels of investor protection. Participating startups will have to provide a detailed business plan, complete and transparent due diligence, great execution and popular emotional appeal to be seen and considered by investors able to make informed decisions, and they will also need to provide this same kind of disclosure and reporting to the SEC and state regulators.
Crowdfunding sites will need to implement a proper, standardized, business plan and due diligence reporting system to handle the coming demands for transparency and due diligence. And once funded those new entrepreneurs will also be expected to have the ability to communicate their progress on the cloud to a large group of people who will now be shareholders in their companies.
As crowdfunding takes hold, entrepreneurs will begin to use it as the go-to source for initial stages of capital formation. The flood of crowdfunding capital for startups will expand the pool of viable startups qualified for consideration from Angels, VCs and Bankers.
These professional investors will bring a more exacting analysis to the table, giving entrepreneurs an even greater reason to be prepared with a complete business plan and compliant and transparent due diligence information.
crowdfundingroadmap.com/

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Funding Roadmap replaces static business plans with an instantly sharable, simple to use, eco-friendly online platform:

Simple Standardized Design – Present your business plan to investors and lenders in a simple and easy-to-read format that’s SBA and GAAP compliant.

Collaborate with professionals and partners – Share and build your Fundingroadmap in an easy multiple choice format with your co-workers,

advisors and mentors to receive advice and refine the plan anytime from anywhere.

Enrich your story – Easily embed a video, pictures and drawings in PDF to tell a fuller story.

Communicate on all fronts! – Share and broadcast your listing from our marketplace via Twitter and Facebook and gather votes and attention. Tweet it, Like it, Share it.

Social media integration – Within the reporting system with Twitter and Facebook: gives investors and lenders a context to your story in real-time even on a smart phone or tablet. Have access to everything you will need to present wherever you may meet.

Be reachable -Secure reviewer login system stores all your contact info in one secure place so investors and lenders know how to contact you and you control who has access to your report.

Easy to consume – Your Fundingroadmap is divided into separate sections (including

Business Plan, Due Diligence and Numerical Summaries) where questions are hyper-linked to the relevant answers right away so investors and lenders can make a decision faster.

Get your idea in the spotlight! Increase your online exposure by posting on our virtual Dealflow Marketplace -expand your access and pitch to a world of potential investors, and lenders.

Your Dealflow -  Give investors and lenders access to a complete and accurate report and “Get funded faster.”

Disaster Resistant – Cloud-based storage allows for instant access to relevant documents for FEMA assistance or insurance claims.

 

The Problem

In states struck by natural disasters, tens of thousands of small businesses have been damaged or gone in an instant! This has caused unprecedented challenges to the public and private mechanisms designed to address small business access to capital and community recovery

Nothing but the shirt on their backs: Affected business owners are too often left without the necessary documentation or information for FEMA/SBA to process their claims and applications after a disaster.

The longer it takes for a small business person to painstakingly re-construct their documentation, the more likely it is that they will give up and the JOBS they created and their tax revenues will be lost forever.

Look at the facts: SBA and the Department of Labor statistics indicate over 40% of businesses that experience a major fire or natural disaster never reopen and over 50% that do fail within two years.

Preemptive Disaster Planning tools for a FEMA/SBA loan need to be accessible on websites such as http://www.preparemybusiness.org/  and http://www.ready.gov/ to provide a way for small business people to beprepared for an SBA Disaster Loan, as opposed to downloadable PDF list.

Why we need to solve this problem now

Mitigate the economc impact: Responsive and prepared government agencies can mitigate the economic impact of disasters.

Businesses that reopen quickly after a disaster realize increased business revenue, can put people back to work, create new jobs, and provide much needed sales, property and payroll tax for the impacted communities. Early successes are also critical to boosting morale during recovery efforts and can have a substantial positive effect on the community rebuilding effort.

The technology solution

Make it easy, make it available: We have the technology to solve this problem now and increase the success rate of rebuilding American small businesses and towns long before they may need it.

It’s called the http://fundingroadmap.com , a standardized private label licensed cloud-based SBA and GAAP compliant, transparent multiple choice business plan and due diligence reporting system and repository, where all information required by the SBA for a disaster loan is included and can be retrieved from anywhere at any time.

See the list here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/InfoNeeded.aspx  as required by the SBA.

Cloud-based: Fundingroadmap technology can instantly play a very important role in preparing entrepreneurs and small business owners ahead of time so they can compile and protect financial documents and information in an SBA compliant standardized reporting system that is ready in an emergency for the process of applying for FEMA/ SBA small business loans and other necessary capital.

Completing a Funding Roadmap document enables a business to look ahead, allocate resources, take key steps, meet challenges, solve problems, and embrace opportunities. It provides a place to compile facts, upload and store securely online all of the answers to the mandatory questions and the documents lenders and investors require during the review process for capital.

Keep moving forward: We all recognize the importance of a plan for startups. Less obvious is the need for established companies to maintain long term effective plans that are flexible enough to adjust to changing challenges and goals and can be made instantly available for review by FEMA/ SBA online should an emergency strike.

Improve staff efficiency

Go virtual: Instant access to this critical information will allow FEMA counselors to assist the recovery efforts of those FEMA staff on the ground in the disaster states, remotely and quickly helping determine the current and future status of a company.

Go mobile: This information is accessible on mobile devices and provides instant access for review by investors, lenders, SBA/FEMA or insurance companies, helping small businesses back to productivity much more quickly than current methods. Fundingroadmap helps claims processors to quickly and accurately determine resources to be distributed to claimants after a disaster with complete security and transparency.

You can learn and see more on this short webinar below we presented with our partners the ASBDC:

http://asbdc-us.org/Resources/Webinars.html

The participants’ journey

Keep everyone calm, make the process smoother: Post-disaster processing staff, instead of commiserating with victims and giving them a nearly impossible to-do list of required documents, could instead be receiving applicants armed with everything they need. Claims and loans could be processed in hours, days or weeks, instead of months, years or never.

Bring back jobs: Providing a faster more efficient and successful process for small business owners desperately trying to access capital, to quickly recover after a disaster strikes, rebuilds a community faster, bringing back jobs, community morale and tax revenues.

By implementing a new technologically advanced standardized reporting system, governments can reach victims faster and farther away, engage more easily, and deliver a more successful experience while creating quantifiable results.

This holistic, integrated approach to data management empowers everyone involved and will revolutionize the government’s ability to preserve the businesses of the hard working entrepreneurs who have built this great nation.

By adopting the Fundingroadmap, government can solve the problems as outlined above quickly, and systemically ensure better results.

 

Funding the World Forward” is a way of sharing funding success with other startups. We want to inspire our clients who get funded, launch a new venture, or continue to grow their already established businesses, to take some of their good fortune and “pay it forward,” in the form of a small investment/donation, a mutually beneficial initial contract, or deeply discounted necessary resources to a local or interesting startup or non-profit, -we leave it up to participants to contribute whatever their new venture can afford.

Here’s how it works.

Register your company on our http://startupsacrossamerica.com Marketplace with a free listing. Include the amount of money you’re trying to raise and where you are located, or sign in to your company’s Funding Roadmap. Bring your A-game to convey the compelling essence of your proposition in your Executive Summary. If you’re a subscriber to the Funding Roadmap Hone your executive summary and upload your video pitch to get across. Fill out the full Funding Roadmap and be ready for serious investors and lenders when they come calling. Whether you’re a subscriber or a free lister, make it exciting for people to invest in you and the public to vote for your idea.

Use social networking to get the word out.

Share your business idea with your friends, followers and fans, let the world know about your vision and innovative business. Use Twitter and Facebook to spread the word and learn more about your company. Encourage friends, followers and fans to vote for you on the marketplace. Impress investors with how the public feels about your idea and the transparent and compliant information you choose to present  to them within your Funding Roadmap .

People love to be the first to discover the next big thing. Their vote for you helps them to be a part of your success. Once you are funded you’ll be aware of a roster of great startups to whom your newly funded company can donate a small percentage of your funding or samples from your inventory, or special discounts for other businesses or non profits that need your product or service. Everyone can recommend and vote for other startups who might receive some of your or others’ largesse. This is how we all “Fund the World Forward”.

Simply register a free listing or subscribe to the Funding Roadmap, post on the Marketplace, then let the networking begin!

 

The awesome destruction of the Japanese quake reminds us once again that natural disasters can strike at any time. As Katrina made so clear, small business owners are vulnerable to the loss of critical information needed to apply for FEMA and SBA backed disaster loans. The Funding Roadmap provides instant access to this data on the cloud. The need to painstakingly reconstruct lost information slows the rebuilding process, sometimes by years. Savvy entrepreneurs and consultants can now utilize this technology to remove these this obstacles.

We have no influence over Mother Nature but we do have the ability to diminish the amount of pain and suffering that follows in the aftermath of her wrath. When time is of essence and deadlines loom to return applications for recovery dollars, the Funding Roadmap can help speed access to capital quickly and assure the long term survival of vulnerable small businesses. Funding Roadmap securely stores every necessary fact and document for instant access by SBA and FEMA reviewers, to fast track the funding process.

Please watch the linked video and see how easy it is to take advantage of this crucial technology.

View mini-webinar video: http://ginormous.web.officelive.com/FundingRoadMap.aspx

Startup pages are popping up all over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube. Gone are the days of writing a business plan then hoping some friend of a friend will discover you and make an investment or introduce you to an angel or VC. Today’s social media gives you a means of demonstrating market support to investors through the fans, followers, and friends who support your innovative business ideas and the developments and progress you’re making along the way. Investors are looking for a groundswell of excitement, a fan base, potential traction, and you can show it to them through Funding Roadmap.

Now you can demonstrate this support to investors in real time. With tens of thousands of twitter followers, credible linkedIn business associates or the enthusiastic comments left on your facebook page, investors can see that you have the ability to influence and inspire potential customers. The involvement of your team with other respected business leaders, mentors, and associates is reflected in social media and helps to bolster confidence among potential investors and lenders.

Helping you capitalize on the power of social media is just one the of the ways the Funding Roadmap –a web 3.0 business planning and due diligence platform on the cloud- can provide transparent information so investors and bankers can make better informed and faster funding decisions.

Networked human capital has become an asset category like any other and can be considered in the valuation of your company. We make it accessible as a click-through for our subscribers to use as part of a truly transparent and complete presentation to investors and lenders on what you have accomplished on the way to realizing your goals. By integrating these networked groups into our cloud based reporting system, reviewing investors and lenders can immediately view a company fan page, youtube video or twitter or linkedIn page as part of the discovery and due diligence process.

Take advantage of Business Planning reinvented for Web 3.0

Explore it here: http://fundingroadmap.com/

Try it here for free: http://www.fundingroadmap.com/free-trial.php

 

With Funding Roadmap’s reinvention of the traditional business plan, (including templates and other arbitrary structuring tools), entrepreneurs, investors and lenders are now able to work and present in a cloud-based “smart” environment to plan, collaborate, share, evaluate –and fund- their plans and ideas.

Funding Roadmap is a virtual business plan and due diligence reporting system with video streaming for elevator pitches or other information. It integrates with loan applications and is accessible anytime from anywhere. The Funding Roadmap also provides an ongoing working plan, helping entrepreneurs to run their businesses with the objectives established during the planning process, updatable with ease as the enterprise progresses.

Our multiple choice platform provides comprehensive, compliant information and unique structuring guidance for the entire business planning and due diligence process in a transparent online format only available in the patent pending Funding Roadmap, but which can be private labeled and distributed through any website. Once completed, entrepreneurs use it to present to friends and family, angels or VCs or to be discovered online by investors globally, and also serves as part of their submission for an SBA or other small business loan.

Funding Roadmap compliments business start-up curriculum and courses and business planning books, but is much more efficient, effective and user friendly than the templates and workbooks that usually come with these classes or are available online. Those alternatives require students and entrepreneurs to redo their entire plan into other formats or software like Power Point, excel, and Word to eventually create a presentable document. Then they are challenged to find investors to send or present it to while it sits on a shelf collecting dust. Then just when they get that rare opportunity to show it to an investor they realize it’s outdated and needs a major overhaul. This process is crippling innovation and access to capital for so many talented entrepreneurs with their brilliant ideas who end up on the sidelines when our country and economy desperately need them in the game, launching successful businesses and creating jobs.

Funding Roadmap’s live virtual nature is a boon to coaches, instructors, mentors, SBA, SCORE, SBDC and Chamber personnel who up ‘til now have been conduits for these templates, PDFs and how-to workbooks. These business development and counseling professionals understand the challenges of planning and funding new businesses, and welcome the flexible and confidential collaboration and application opportunities: online, over the phone or one-on-one.

We can file a patent online, we can file our taxes online, it’s time to plan a business and get access to capital online.

http://fundingroadmap.com

This Yes! article http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/bypass-the-bank-local-investors-for-local-businesses
by Stacy Mitchell illustrates ways to fund new businesses that are supported by local communities, but not by their local banks. Some of these entrepreneurs are expanding the envelope of what constitutes friends and family, and coming up with unexpected ways to raise tens of-thousands of dollars. Others are sourcing their supplies from the surrounding area, thereby building synergies and loyalty.

The Funding Roadmap planning platform is the perfect vehicle for sharing an entrepreneur’s vision within an expanded circle of support.

http://fundingroadmap.com/

As the WSJ has reported in this piece (Keeping capital close to home  The Wall Street Journal (8/6)), there are good reasons to look for funding in friendlier terrain:
1. Banks aren’t lending. Even with SBA guarantees.
2. VCs and Angels often want too great a return and too much control. Entrepreneurs may want to develop their business more fully to be in a better bargaining position for when they go to these sources.
3. Friends and family are more likely to be in the corner of “their” entrepreneur.

Using friends and family money creates perhaps even more of a moral imperative to plan and manage funds responsibly. Whether friendly investors are demanding or not, the entrepreneurs should be fully prepared to succeed through sound planning.

Time and again, small loans or investments have created seemingly disproportionate numbers of jobs. See this article about the impact of SBA “Express Loans” made through Sams’ Club: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/05/business/05loan.html in which entrepreneur Michael Golata secures $10,000 and is able to hire three people.

In 2009 there were approximately 7.8 million millionaires, and 1 million “ultra high net worth individuals” with assets of more than $5 million in the U.S. Certainly it is time for these people to stop sitting on their hands and seek out the investment opportunities in their communities and in their fields of interest to benefit themselves and the economy.

We need to usher in an era of activist investors concerned with the bottom line, yes, but also with the well-being of their communities and the growth and health of the American economy. Startups Across America is a free state-by-state interactive map of potential investments for friends and family –and other- investors. Visit at http://startupsacrossamerica.com

Funding Roadmap is the cloud-based business planning tool that takes advantage of the connectivity, collaboration and networking abilities afforded by current technology. Look at and Subscribe to this groundbreaking platform at http://fundingroadmap.com/

When the going gets as weird as it is now, entrepreneurs and investors need to find each other and get going. Together.