Jump Start your Business

By now, you've probably heard that the JOBS Act passed. The "Jumpstart Our Business Startups," or JOBS Act, will allow entrepreneurs to crowdfund online to fund small businesses and startups. Plus, entrepreneurs can raise funds from non-accredited investors. The catch: The regulations aren't in place until the SEC review period is up in January 2013.

While the bill itself is effective immediately, still pending are how the sections that fall under the SEC scope will be regulated. The SEC has 270 days to focus on how to regulate the offerings targeting non-accredited investors. In the meantime, entrepreneurs will be able to crowdfund only to accredited investors beginning July 4, 2012.

So what does the JOBS Act mean for entrepreneurs right now - and how can entrepreneurs make the most of this time?

1.Gather the necessary documents

For starters, entrepreneurs who want to move forward with crowdfunding can begin to gather all the important documents needed to launch a campaign. These include:

2. Prepare a great pitch

After gathering the documents, the best thing to do while waiting for the SEC grace period to end is to prepare a convincing pitch. Pledging campaigns differ greatly from investment campaigns, and it is important to keep in mind what motivates contributors in each case.

Pledging comes down to three things:

When creating a pledging campaign, it is important to pull at the emotional heartstrings of potential contributors and to plan your pitch accordingly.

Investments, however, are more of a strategic decision than an emotional one, so with investment campaigns, it is important to present the business case professionally and fully by:

3. Plan the marketing campaign of your pitch

One of the most important factors in a crowdfunding campaign is marketing the campaign. You may have the best cause or business idea, but if nobody knows about you, the money simply will not flow in. By marketing through leveraging your networks and reaching out to people within your circle of friends, family, colleagues, and possibly customers, your campaign will have a much greater chance of success.

In order to reach out to people, try:

Just because some JOBS Act regulation won't be in place until 2013 doesn't mean you can't get a head start on the competition - and crowdfunding - by gathering your documents, preparing your pitch, and outlining your campaign in the meantime. Note that you will be able to equity crowdfund for potential investment of accredited investors starting July 4, 2012.