Tag Archives: Crowdfunding

Books for Small Businesses

If you’re running or helping to run a small business, you’ve encountered unique challenges (and, we hope, many unique rewards!). It can feel like you’re doing it all yourself–which means you could use as much help as you can get from the experts. Below, check out some of our most helpful recent books for small businesses.

The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money for Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals by Cliff Ennico

Jacket cover

Until May 2016, the act of offering securities (stocks, bonds, and more) in exchange for investment was extremely limited. The arduous and expensive process for companies and the strict regulations for investors left countless hopefuls out. That has now changed with equity crowdfunding. This isn’t your average Kickstarter campaign–you’ll need Cliff Ennico’s comprehensive handbook–but, if the timing is right for your small business, you don’t want to miss out on this opportunity.

Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small by Nick Westergaard

Jacket cover of Get Scrappy

While Get Scrappy‘s digital marketing wisdom applies to businesses of any size, small businesses will find it especially crucial. Marketing without a significant budget may feel like an uphill climb, but you can see results without a gargantuan budget if you follow Nick Westergaard’s essential advice on constructing your brand, sticking to your strategy, creating content that answers your potential customers’ most urgent questions, measuring your results accurately to hone your tactics, and more.

75 Ways for Managers to Hire, Develop, and Keep Great Employees by Paul Falcone

Jacket cover of 75 Ways by Paul Falcone

Not all small businesses have human resources departments, but that doesn’t mean the procedures and issues that HR departments handle just disappear. HR rock star Paul Falcone‘s new book delivers key human resources strategies to managers and executives. Small business owners will appreciate Falcone’s attention to each step in the employee cycle, readable explanations of the legal implications of key management decisions, and focus on hiring and managing effectively in the first place (because it’s much harder for small businesses to bounce back when hiring goes wrong).

When the Pressure’s On: The Secret to Winning When You Can’t Afford to Lose by Dr. Louis S. Csoka

Jacket cover of When the Pressure's On

Small business owners face an extraordinary amount of stress, and with the weight of a whole company on their shoulders, it’s not always possible to shrug it off. No one knows how to manage stress better than Dr. Louis S. Csoka, founder of West Point’s Center for Enhanced Performance and creator of the first ever Peak Performance Center for a Fortune 500 company. He shared his five-pronged strategy for performing under pressure–which small business owners face regularly–in his remarkable book, When the Pressure’s On.

Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by Paul Smith

Jacket cover of Sell with a Story by Paul Smith

Small businesses pitching products might not always be able to offer the lowest price right away, and they might not have the highest brand recognition–so what’s going to get their prospects interested? The most important tool in any salesperson’s kit, but especially that of a salesperson from a smaller firm, is the story. In Sell with a Story, acclaimed author Paul Smith details how to craft narratives that will strengthen relationships, make the product memorable, increase product value (really!), and more. When it comes to storytelling, small businesses likely have a leg up on the competition–take advantage of it!



Cliff Ennico Shares 10 Need-to-Know Facts on the SEC’s New Crowdfunding Regulations


The following is a guest post from Cliff Ennico, author of The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money For Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals (AMACOM May 2016).


On May 16, 2016, the SEC handed down regulations under the federal JOBS Act that allow small businesses and early stage companies to raise capital on the Internet via “crowdfunding portals,” such as Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and SeedInvest.

The regulations are over 600 pages long, but here are some key points:

  1. It’s Not Just for Tech Companies.  Any small business can raise money under these rules, including retail, service and other “non-scalable” businesses that haven’t been able to tap into the securities markets until now.
  2. It’s Not Just for “Accredited Investors”.  Anyone can buy securities in a crowdfunded offering, although there are limits on how much they can invest.  If your company has a large following on social media, you can solicit them to view your offering (but see below).
  3. Some Companies Can’t Crowdfund.  Foreign companies (other than Canada), hedge funds and other investment companies, public companies and companies that have run afoul of SEC rules in the past can’t take advantage of the new rules.
  4. You Gotta Use a Portal.  You can’t crowdfund from your website or Facebook page.  You must register with a broker-dealer or “crowdfunding portal” (registered as such with both the SEC and FINRA) and post your offering only there.  Fees will run between 5% and 10% of the offering amount, with (maybe) flat fees for small offerings.
  5. You Gotta Do the Paperwork.  You have to fill out a disclosure document using the SEC’s Form C (available as an “online questionnaire”) on the crowdfunding portal.  You can attach “supplemental materials” such as marketing videos, product demonstrations and the like, but if you put these on the portal they can’t appear anywhere else (for example, on your website or Youtube.com) until the offering is completed.
  6. You Can Only Raise So Much.  You can raise up to $1 million over a rolling 12-month period with crowdfunding.
  7. You Can’t Advertise Outside the Portal.  You can post an “offering notice” on your website directing investors to the portal, and e-mail the “offering notice” to your social media crowd, but that’s it.  You can’t communicate with investors directly, only through the portal.
  8. For Big Cash Raises, You May Need Audited Financials.  If you are raising less than $100,000, your CEO can bless the financials.  Over that, your financials must be “reviewed” by an independent CPA, but if you raise more than $500,000 in two (or more) separate offerings, the second offering must include audited financial statements.
  9. You Can “Double Dip”.  If your crowdfunded offering is acceptable, you can go back for more (up to $1 million), but you will need updated business and financial information, and will probably have to pay a separate fee to the portal.  You will also have to explain why you need the extra money.
  10. You Need to Manage Your “Crowd”.  Consider carefully what it will mean to have dozens, if not hundreds, of investors to keep track of if your crowdfunded offering is successful.  You will need to develop an “investor relations” strategy for keeping your crowd informed, up to date and satisfied with your company’s performance.  It will be much tougher to “pivot” your business plan in a different direction with a crowd watching over your management team’s shoulders.



CLIFF ENNICO is a syndicated columnist and author of The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money For Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals (AMACOM May 2016). This article is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.

Random Quotes from New Books This May

The 10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds that Make a Business Great by Joel Peterson

Jacket cover of The 10 Laws of Trust by Joel Peterson, AMACOM May 2016

“In business, as in life, trust is elemental. We all cherish it. Most of us think we deserve it. Few of us think we violate it. But what exactly is it? At its core, trust means willingly ceding a measure of control to another–be it a person, organization or institution–and without the apparent safety nets of a binding contract or other means of coercion in place. Although we trust with an expectation that others will respond in kind, vulnerability is the psychological hallmark of trust. We’re taking a risk, sometimes based on limited evidence. Trust is a leap of faith rooted in optimism(page 5).

The Crowdfunding Handbook: Raise Money for Your Small Business or Start-Up with Equity Funding Portals by Cliff Ennico

Crowdfunding cover

“Crowdfunding offers entrepreneurs who are not yet ready to exploit more traditional avenues of capital raising–such as venture capitalists and angel investors–to tap into their ever-expanding social networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere to raise money for their businesses. It also gives them the limited ability to advertise and promote their offerings, even on television, without violating SEC rules and regulations.

Even more significant, crowdfunding offers investors chances to tap into start-up and early-stage companies that aren’t yet on the radar screens of larger and better-informed investors, and (perhaps) get a piece of the next Facebook before the marketplace finds out about it and media attention drives up the price of the company’s shares.” (page 5).

When the Pressure’s On: The Secret to Winning When You Can’t Afford to Lose by Louis S. Csoka

Jacket cover of When the Pressure's On by Louis Csoka, AMACOM May 2016“What is the underlying culprit behind our stress response? It is an evolutionary mechanism called the autonomic fight-or-flight response, which triggers powerful mental, emotional, and physiological responses to threatening events. It goes back to prehistoric times, when the primary threats to our ancestors were physical ones … The problem today is more complicated. Given the development of our thinking and imagining brain, this same primitive response mechanism kicks in even for threats that are not physically derived but are imagined. And so our sympathetic nervous system fires with all the same physiological responses, even though it is not a physical fight-or-flight situation. Unable to fight or flee, we experience a constant level of system activation that, over time, can have deleterious health consequences.” (pages 95-96).

Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small by Nick Westergaard

Jacket cover of Get Scrappy by Nick Westergaard

If you cast aside all of the social media talking heads, the biggest way in which channels like Facebook and Twitter are different from traditional broadcast media is the fact that they are multidirectional in nature. Simply put, this means that rather than crafting the perfect 30-second TV spot and blasting it one-way at whoever may be watching, you are now starting conversations and creating content where your community can actually talk back (gasp!)

“Once you get over this sudden loss of control, you realize that this is an incredibly opportunity to have an enriching conversation with your customers. It also means you can build deeper connections and relationship. And yet, according to data from the management consulting firm The Northridge Group, a full third (33 percent) of consumers who contact brands on social media never get a response. That’s because too many marketers continue to treat social media as they do traditional broadcast media. They talk–but they forget to listen” (pages 77-78).

How to Manage Complex Programs: High-Impact Techniques for Handling Project Workflow, Deliverables, and Team by Tom Kendrick, PMP

Jacket cover of How to Manage Complex Programs by Tom Kendrick

“Program scope is often very complex and involves confronting the often conflicting wishes of a community of program stakeholders. Just getting a handle on overall program requirements can be a daunting task, and sorting through the redundancies, inconsistencies, and missing information to assess priorities and lay out a coherent high-level roadmap is a major undertaking.” (page 300).



may 2016 new releases

Want to sample other AMACOM books? Check out our Random Quotes from New Books series.

Spring/Summer 2016 Catalog Now Online

Image of AMACOM Books Spring 2014 Catalog CoverSpring may not yet have sprung, but when it does, you’ll know what to read: the AMACOM Spring/Summer 2016 Catalog is now available on our website alongside our past catalogs.





Some of the most anticipated books from our spring list: