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Review: Target Funding by Kedma Ough (by Paul W. Smith)

The cover image of Target Funding by Kedma Ough - an arrow hitting a conventional target – makes sense but doesn’t do justice to the vast array of funding sources that she is about to reveal; perhaps a needle in a haystack would be more accurate. Although there are multitudes of funding opportunities out there, each business has its own unique requirements and qualifications. Target funding, akin to target marketing, is all about making the right choices concerning which funding sources to pursue for a particular business and the phase that it is in.

The premise is that funding need not be an obstacle in realizing one’s entrepreneurial dreams.

Kedma’s preface is part curriculum vitae and part motivational statement as she effectively answers the standard interview question “Why did you write this book?”Not only does she inspire with her own success story, but she promises to show the reader how to obtain business funding when that task seems overwhelming.Her book delivers on that promise in a thorough and systematic way.No longer do social and economic disadvantage need to impede business success.

The book comprises seven parts, making it easy to navigate to those chapters which best align with an individual business owner’s needs.Part 1, The New American Dream, sets the stage and provides encouragement for would-be small business founders.

Noteworthy is that many of the factors which drive entrepreneurs (e.g., unemployment, job instability or insufficient income) also make it tough to obtain funding.Since the majority of small business owners cite lack of capital is their biggest challenge, it’s important to become familiar with the barriers and have a game plan that deals with them.With preparation, perseverance and some of your own skin in the game, it is possible to succeed.

In the broadest terms, all funding comes from donors (gifts), lenders (debt), or investors (equity funding). There are plenty of non-monetary resources that can be tapped along the way, including bartering, using business buyer co-ops, or leveraging volume purchasing power.Knowing what you need and where to look for it is key.

Parts 2-6 (Diversity Funding, Community-Based Funding, Funding for Inventions and Innovations,Funding for Startups and Small Businesses, Funding for the Unbankable) lay out the general targets to aim for; each part then gets into practical detail on typical individual funding sources and how to prioritize and pursue them.

Personally aware of just how discouraging the money search can be, Kedma notes that competitions are one way of not only raising funds, but also building confidence in your business (a downloadable bonus chapter offering advice on competition-based funding is offered). Regional economic development plans often look very favorably on high growth startups, and can lead to discounted resources like training, consulting or other technical assistance.Building confidence in your business concept, and getting non-financial help in moving it forward, is just as important as raising money.

An independent inventor herself, Kedma understands that particular group quite well, and provides detailed guidelines for the patent process, criteria for choosing marketing and licensing companies, and warnings against some of the unscrupulous promotion scams that exist.This is an especially challenging funding area, most of the options are slow and complicated, and the book recommends seeking professional guidance for navigating this process.

And what about those unemployed or low-income entrepreneurs who have the drive along with a business idea, but are basically “unbankable”?Those who find themselves in this situation and come across the book may skip ahead to this section, and Kedma offers three examples of very different businesses that achieved success under discouraging circumstances.Those with earned income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level might qualify for matching funds from an Individual Development Account.There are also accelerators and incubators that can be targeted. Incubators offer a wide range of support and services but rarely offer money, while accelerators are highly structured organizations that can provide equity-based funding.

There is so much information in it would be easy to feel a bit lost about where to start.To stave off the temptation to “Ready-Fire-Aim”, Kedma wraps up in Part 7 with detailed instructions on how to effectively tackle the numbers and timing subtleties of funding.Starting with a definition of funding goals and variables, she leads the reader through all the necessary steps to create the all-important target funding map.One noteworthy piece of advice – don’t plan for more than one year out, as opportunities are constantly changing.

Target Funding is a hybrid of readable, motivational success stories combined with references on specific types of funding and detailed search instructions for finding more. Kedma recognizes that the funding universe is fluid and cautions the reader not to be discouraged if a source that looks promising in the book is no longer available. There are practical step-by-step guidelines on how to structure an Internet funding search in each of the key areas addressed. This will be essential for those who pick up the book 5 years from now, only to discover that many of the programs and organizations mentioned no longer exist.

There is a nice balance of background information, real life stories, and detailed instructions that make the book both readable and informative.One possible exception is The book benefits from personal stories Kedma shares about her own journey to become a small business owner. This, along with other success stories contributes to both readability and credibility.

There are a couple of important points that should not be overlooked and could only come from someone who has lived through the entire funding process. People, Kedma notes, are the best possible business resource, and it’s empowering to be in control of - rather than at the mercy of - the funding game. The warning in Part One speaks to something that many entrepreneurs miss - business ownership is supposed to be about improving the quality of your life and not sacrificing it. What sets Target Funding apart is that it combines compassion for the new business entrepreneur with detailed instructions for funding success.

Author Profile - Paul W. Smith - leader, educator, technologist, writer - has a lifelong interest in the countless ways that technology changes the course of our journey through life. In addition to being a regular contributor to NetworkDataPedia, he maintains the website Technology for the Journey and occasionally writes for Blogcritics. Paul has over 40

years of experience in research and advanced development for companies ranging from small startups to industry leaders. His other passion is teaching - he is a former Adjunct Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Paul holds a doctorate in Applied Mechanics from the California Institute of Technology, as well as Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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