Funding

As I intimated in a post last week, we are looking to expand our role at SFM. Big Pink has strongly advised that we should look again at our mission statement and our branding – including a more appropriate name. On balance I tend to agree.

The service will be ramped up to include (in a pretty short time) a 24/7 radio station. The radio outlet will produce, news, features, phone-ins and so on. The blog itself will take on a more news procurement role and the new company will, in addition to having a board, will have an appointed advisory board whose role will be as a firewall against financial interests achieving paramountcy over our stated aims.

If we get this off the ground, we will be a fledgling business, perhaps struggling to survive with all the attendant responsibilities the new roles bring, so we will perhaps be more than ever reliant on voluntary donations and subscriptions in the first months. Worryingly, the few subs we have at the moment have been dwindling even further in the last couple of months, and over half our subscribers have lapsed. A couple of quid a month from everyone who uses this blog (around 50,000) would guarantee our existence and expansion to a far bigger role than our present plans. That is however unrealistic, and looking at raising funds elsewhere is perhaps a more achievable aim.

Right now we are working on a business plan as an offering to prospective investors. That plan is not yet complete, but as of now, we think we can retain control of the business (unfortunate word – but the correct one) whilst raising enough funds to pay for the premises, equipment, salaries and other expenses for two years (around £30k per year).  If it is necessary to cede over 50% of SFM to outside investors, we will

Until we begin our start-up fundraising, and perhaps beyond,  we are still completely dependent on  the generosity of our community in keeping the ship afloat.

The first order of business therefore is to ask for ideas from you guys on three counts;

1. What should go into our mission statement? All ideas I would appreciate posted on this page. Everything will be considered.

2. If anyone has any experience of looking at startup business funds, government grants for startups, local enterprise premises initiatives; if anyone can offer legal or accountancy advice; or any other kind of assistance forth, we would gratefully like to hear from you at startup@sfm.scot

3. What should we rebrand as? Here, I would appreciate ideas being sent directly to trisidium@sfm.scot. The reason is that any devilishly good ideas will most likely get to us AFTER someone else has seen it. The domain name associated with that idea will perhaps be snapped up.

Preferably,  we want the name to reflect our new role in a non-football specific and non geographically specific way. Names should be easy to remember, short and not east to mistype.

More on this page as we move towards our goal.

Trisidium
Site Admin

 

 

Trisidium

Trisidium

Trisidium is a Dunblane businessman with a keen interest in Scottish Football. He is a Celtic fan, although the demands of modern-day parenting have seen him less at games and more as a taxi service for his kids.

15 Comments
  1. sannoffymesssoitizz

    sannoffymesssoitizz


    Before commenting further, please point me to the published details of our annual income and expenditure since TSFM came into being.

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  2. Trisidium


    sannoffymesssoitizz

    There are no published details. SFM’s existence both with myself and my predecessor, has been very hand to mouth.
    In fact in the first year of it’s existence, my predecessor funded the operation out of his own pocket.
    When costs, particularly hosting costs, started to increase, we began putting round the hat.

    We usually meet our bills from contributions, and we have around £200 in the bank which will cover our needs until the next bills fall due in July.

    The business plan we are putting together will include full costings and income estimates (of a much higher order than our current operation allows)over a five year period. We are getting some help to do that from people more expert than I in that area.

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  3. roddybhoy


    good luck i hope you get it off the ground

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  4. StevieBC

    StevieBC


    1. What should go into our mission statement?

    Maybe in general terms, not disimilar to the SFA’s – as we wouldn’t be here if the Hampden blazers were effectively delivering.

    I suppose where we came from originally on RTC was to call out RFC/TRFC and the SPL/SFA. Inevitably that has been generally negative.

    We should be promoting Scottish football first and foremost,and at all levels not just the SPL, IMO.

    We should be all inclusive – good and bad.[Which I think we are.]

    We should still be monitoring Scottish football governance and clubs’ behaviour, and hopefully if/when the Ibrox saga comes to an end, this element of the purpose of SFM will dwindle.

    Just some ideas…

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  5. oddjob

    oddjob


    As suggested in my email, a look at the web sites for Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow City Council concerning start up grants may be helpful.

    Perhaps you should also give consideration to VAT registration. You may be well below the threshold for compulsory registration, but if you voluntarily register, you may be able to reclaim any tax paid by you in he course of setting up the business,e.g. in the purchase of equipment etc.

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  6. Bayview Gold


    with respect to the mission statement, without going into the actual statement itself (although there are many online generators to play with 🙂 ) one aim, if the ‘site’ is to transition to a news gathering and generating site is for representation on MSM outlets, there are many cases where fuzzy definitions or downright falsehoods could have been corrected with a well placed quote from TSFM, after all looking at the quality of the ‘talking heads’ supposedly giving expert opinion there are many on here who could have provided deeper insight. Rather than fight the MSM the TSFM should embrace the outlet they provide to wider audiences, I look forward to the day that a TSFM rep is on one of the panels to engage directly. Also reaching out to MSM journalists in a collaborative fashion rather than criticism may help gain exposure. Have podcasts where MSM journalists are invited and not just the converted.

    I understand the anonymity issues that we all raise but to move to what is described there has to be some level of transparency and accessibility.

    Further re the mission, while the move to become a more traditional news outlet seems attractive, the potential downside here is that it is a very crowded arena, one of the plus’es of the original RTC/TSFM was that both were differentiated in their aims from most other outlets. I feel that TSFM should focus on what should its core differentiation be from all other outlets otherwise it can quickly get lost among many other online ‘fanzines’ this could then form the heart of the mission statement and be used for strategic direction.

    Further separation of the comments from the content should be considered, there are many who have been blocked, discouraged because in the current format there is no alternative to keep a topic alive. In a rolling news format comments can have a bit more leeway and comment threads can be locked without losing ongoing interaction. Have columns for worthy ‘comments’ and leave the chatter to the true comment section. (maybe even a max word limit to encourage long posts to become actual posts not tagged on as comments)

    re funding: essentially for a self sustaining long term model there are only two feasible sources: advertising/sponsorship and/or subscription. My strong preference is for the former, as much as I hate online ads, but in reality subscription, especially if a paywall is implemented will limit exposure and engagement.

    Sponsorship may be a good middle ground, especially if connected to the ethical part of the TSFM mission. Now may be a good time for this with the FIFA scandals and a general groundswell throughout the Footballing world for better oversight.

    Failing the ethical approach maybe it could be sponsored by the British Meat Processors Association “TSFM sponsored by the BMPA, preferring meat over succulent lamb since 2012” or “TSFM where no cows are sacred” :irony:

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  7. Trisidium


    Proposed Mission Statement Clauses for consideration.

    1. SFM will seek to build a community of Scottish Football fans whose overarching aim is the integrity of competition in the sport.

    2. SFM will, without favour, seek to find objective truths on the conduct and administration of Scottish Football. We will avoid building relationships with individuals or organisations which would bring us into conflict with that.

    3. SFM will provide a platform for the views of fans of ALL football clubs, and guarantee that those views will be heard in a mutually respectful environment.

    4. SFM will also endeavour to inform and entertain members on a wide range of topics related to our shared love of the game.

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  8. Trisidium


    Our plans are pressing ahead, and as you will see over the course of the next few days, SFM radio will be tested with a pilot programme, and some trial ads will appear on the site.

    We have decided NOT to seek startup funds at the moment for the following reasons;

    1. We have no idea right now what return investors can expect on any investment they make, so it would be dishonest for us to speculatively produce a prospectus which promised great things.

    The advertising initiative needs some time to settle down before we can extrapolate future revenues, and our increased content, will hopefully assist that process. The revenue/content relationship is a financial chicken and egg situation of course, but hopefully subscriptions and donations will allow us to get that process established, before the end of summer when we should have a clearer picture upon which to build a prospectus.

    2. Our over-riding aim in this venture is not to make profit – it is to make a difference. Accordingly we need to stretch the envelope a bit on our own before looking outwardly (if at all).

    3. A start-up finding could mean that we have tens, or even hundreds of shareholders (we would I think have to incorporate) with all of the potential administration and communication problems that might entail.

    4. We need to rebrand properly before asking people for funds. That process is underway and more information will be available on that soon.

    We will be inviting some people to join our advisory board over the summer, but that is not so urgent until we are absolutely sure we require outside funding.

    If our current donation levels can be maintained, and some extra funds are acquired via advertising, we will hopefully have the required cash-flow to see us increase content significantly, meet our bills and have a clearer picture of what we have to offer to investors.

    As ever, we are keen to hear from any of you who think this strategy is flawed. I have no particular business expertise, and whilst I am ordinarily disposed to go for the big play, I take the view that this is the more pragmatic course of action for now.

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  9. redlichtie


    I think a gradualist approach is a wise one.

    Bayview Gold makes some very good points.

    Let’s carve out a niche for TSFM where we are clearly differentiated from the MSM and fanzines.

    We should offer comment, analysis and a respectful forum for debate. For all.

    The statement that we are not seeking to make a profit is going to be a difficult one to square with securing conventional investment however.

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  10. Trisidium


    Redlichtie,
    My intention was not to eschew profit altogether, just that it is not the over-riding aim.
    Outside investors may exert pressure to make it exactly that, so the feeling is that we should resist that as much as possible.

    For example, I would like to think that we will pay anyone who we employ a minimum of the living wage. Not a profit-slanted policy exactly, but one we feel is important.

    I think we have to find investors who understand that Content is King in enterprises like these.

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  11. stevo


    Suppose one wished to subscribe. On the Subscribe/Donate page, should one enter one’s real name or pseudonym? :mrgreen:

    Makes no difference Stevo. From our point of view, your screen name is better so we can see who you are on the blog, but all that information is unpublished and confidential anyway and the transaction is at arms length from us.

    Tris

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  12. Trisidium


    £300 raised so far. Thanks to all.

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  13. Resin_lab_dog


    Hi,
    Wanna subscribe, but not overly keen on Paypal. ( I vote with my wallet and their refusal to allow payments to wikileaks means I am loathe to give them the vig!)

    Have you looked into gocardless?

    As far as I can see that could allow you to take DD payments directly with minimum fees and set up costs?

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  14. Resin_lab_dog


    One off Donation made in lieu of subs via temporary paypal account. (Can’t bring myself to get along with paypal on an ongoing basis : they belong to the forces of darkness imo.) …shudders
    As a result, I must now go off and click on some ads for russian dating sites/ ambulance chasing lawyers to restore a bit of (comparative) moral rectitude to proceedings. 😆

    Thanks RLD. The PayPal issue can be a thorny one. From our point of view is is I think the least, fuss, lowest cost option available to us. We will be looking at alternatives soon though. Once again, thanks for the donation.

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  15. Hoopertrooper67


    I just want to share my experience with you. I couldn’t find how to subscribe on the mobile version. I had to switch to the full version to see the options to donate or subscribe. Maybe you should advise this as it may be why you’re not getting the take up you expected. As I work in the mobile communications industry, I know from experience that the shift to mobile usage for data has gone through the roof and users have switched to mobile over computer for accessing the internet. Anyway, subscription succesful

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  16. Takes a strong man to go public with this. Good luck to Kyle Lafferty https://t.co/XZhORZWZ2j

    Cladding goes on to the main stand as the concourse begins to stretch round to join the Gorgie Stand. #TynecastleRedevelopment #Edinburgh

    The more you hear Labour sounding like they just won an election - the more Neil Kinnock and that eve of election rally come to mind.

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