Building a brand that investors (and consumers) will fall in love with is absolutely challenging, but it need not be impossible.
At a panel discussion at Yahoo! Finance's All Markets Summit, on Wednesday, Slava Rubin, co-founder of Indiegogo, and Hayley Barna, a co-founder of New York City-based fashion-subscription service Birchbox and venture partner at First Round Capital, weighed in on the topic. Both addressed what it's like to grow--and fund--a business from the ground up, whether it's through venture capital or crowdfunding.
Here are their four top pieces of advice:
1. Know your fit.
"You have to match the source of the capital to the source of the business," Barna said.
One problem she often encounters as an investor is when business models are not going after big enough markets. Venture is not always the right answer, which is why entrepreneurs should look to start with angel investing or crowd-funding, Barna added.
2. Failure is bound to happen.
When Slava Rubin was first starting up the crowdfunding site, Indiegogo, he was rejected by 93 venture capitalists in a row. Instead of focusing on the negative, Rubin said that the rejections helped him evolve.
"It's about being action-oriented," he said, adding that persistence is key. "Think big, start small, iterate rapidly."
3. Engage your customers.
Barna stressed the necessity of engaging customers directly, which she said is key to building anticipation for products. Consumer companies will often use crowdfunding as a tool to engage customers as well, Barna added.
"It's really important to articulate your vision and connect with your consumers," she said.
4. Have a deeper purpose.
If you're focused only on the money, you have the wrong mindset. According to Rubin, being a founder is the least powerful position because everyone tells you what to do. Rather, find the motivation to continue believing you can bring solutions to the table.
"Be an entrepreneur because there's a problem in the world and you believe you're the human who can solve it," Rubin said.