Two weeks ago, we discussed some reasons to invest local via the JOBS Act and Reg CF.

Last week, we answered how to invest in local SMBs through Investment Crowdfunding.

So let’s say you’ve done your due diligence and you’re on board. You decide to flap your angel investing wings and place some dollars in a CF offering! CONGRATULATIONS!

Now what? Should you rent a limo and cruise around town like you own (a piece of) the place?

We love the enthusiasm, you venture capital queen, but keep in mind the offering needs to close first. This means the local business needs to hit the target raise amount for the securities offered by the target date. If the offering doesn’t complete, you will get a full refund.

In the meantime, your investment commitment will rest in an FDIC insured escrow account. You can request a refund at any time up to 48 hours prior to the close, and we’ll keep you posted with campaign updates via our investment platform all along the way.

Once the campaign closes with a successful raise, then you can do a little happy dance. This means you now have your shares in YOUR local economy! From here, you and the business owners can still use our portal to interact through the forum and review updates. 

Outside of a required annual report after 12 months, it is up to the business to determine the best way to interact with their new legion of investors. Emails, social media groups, events, smoke signals…the sky’s the limit! There’s a chance they choose to not communicate after a raise, but we believe there is serious value to using our platform to stay connected with the energized stakeholders in your corner and we think our business owners do too.

Now if this was a Robinhood investment, your work would be done. You would sit back, cross your arms, cross your fingers, cross your toes and HOPE you’ve placed a good bet. Maybe your shares take a hockey stick path or maybe they take a Blue Angels style nose dive. Either way, you can put yourself in a seat and put your investment advice on a shelf because you’re officially a member of the audience.

As you might have guessed though, things work a little differently around here. With an investment opportunity on Vicinity, these aren’t just your shares. This is your town, your customers, your teams… YOUR vicinity. 

This means you aren’t relegated to the sidelines anymore when it comes to your investments, you have a chance to make a real impact on the value of the businesses you’re invested in. So how do you take these newly acquired reigns?

First educate yourself about the small business you invested in. Re-read their web sites, pitch deck, campaign page and anything else you can find on their business. Reach out through the portal and ask what their pain points and needs are in this next phase of growth. 

You can reference the company’s “use of funds” on the campaign page to give yourself an idea where they might be focusing their attention. Armed with that knowledge you can take these three practical actions:

1 – Leverage your voice

Spread the word about the business. If they have a great product or service, tell your friends, family and coworkers. If it’s a B to B product, look through your contacts and see if there’s an introduction or two you could make that might lead to a big sale for your newly funded business.

2 – Leverage your skills

Take a look at your new investment through the lens of your skill set and expertise. If you are a CPA, maybe their balance sheet needs a little love. If you’re a marketer, maybe their social media presence needs some life. If you’re a designer, maybe their website could use a refresh. 

Don’t take it on as a second job, but think of the impact 30 mins of expertise can make when multiplied by 300 investors. Be a part of the rising tide that lifts your little investment boat.

3 – Leverage your feedback 

If you have a bad experience with their product or service, instead of sounding off on Google reviews or Yelping about it, you can use our portal to give the business direct feedback. You can walk your constructive feedback straight to the heart of the business, not just as a consumer, but someone with a quite literal “vested interest” in their success. It’s a way to make the changes you want to see without hurting the brand whose success you’re benefiting from.

Of course, if you want to simply review a deal and click invest, you can do that too. We just believe the most impactful way to experience local investing is hand-in-hand with community engagement. You can now live your investments and own your city. Investing doesn’t have to be a spectator sport.