When is your project ready for crowdfunding?
Is it when you have a solid background and dozens of customers? Or when you have no financial resources and that leads you to crowdfunding portals?
Starting with crowdfunding is a simple decision. What is very challenging, however, is to assess whether your product is suitable for it and also when it’s ready.
Do you have a prototype?
Without the initial version of the product, you can run a crowdfunding campaign on a very limited number of portals. For example, on the largest portal with the highest campaign success, Kickstarter, such a campaign without a prototype would not be allowed.
The prototype is also important for other reasons. Thanks to it, you get a lot of feedback and you can apply it to improve the final product. The prototype also works as a guarantee for the crowdfunding platform and a promise of quality to potential customers.
Have potential customers shown interest?
Crowdfunding should not be the first contact of your product with customers. Before you create a campaign, you should know that there’s a target audience that’s interested in what you’re creating.
A good idea is just one of the key elements of a crowdfunding campaign. If you go into crowdfunding with doubts about the quality of your solution, this can mean it will be extremely hard for you to attract the attention of the community.
Do you have a dedicated budget?
Many projects struggle with something we call ”the crowdfunding paradox”. Creators often do not understand that if they want to be funded, they must invest first. Project teams tend to ignore this fact until it’s too late.
The costs of creating the campaign (video, graphics, photography, copy) and the investment in the promotion are the minimum if you want to think about success. Yes, some teams are able to create a campaign on their own, however, it is very likely that they forget to deal with typical mistakes and can’t avoid problems that can only be expected by people with years of experience.
Therefore, think about creating a crowdfunding campaign only if you can allocate a separate budget to this activity.
Do you have enough time to prepare accordingly?
In one of our articles we’ve mentioned that each crowdfunding campaign goes through at least 3 phases:
- After campaign
It’s no coincidence that the campaign scheme is structured this way. Pre-campaign should ideally start 3 months before launching the main campaign. The main campaign lasts for 30 days on average and activities that take place after the campaign can vary.
A really good campaign requires preparation time which can take from weeks to months. Many projects from Central Europe are trying to achieve a similar success as Skinnersexperienced on Kickstarter. But few people know how much work the team has had done before their success was born. Skinners team started working on the campaign more than a year before launching.
The whole process of preparing, setting up, launching, and promoting a crowdfunding campaign takes a time that cannot be dramatically reduced without lowering the quality. If you’re under time pressure, the best way of preparing your campaign is to cooperate with crowdfunding agencies or other experts in the field. The experience of crowdfunding experts and agencies can help shorten the preparation time.
Can your team handle new tasks?
Neither during the preparation nor during the campaign is crowdfunding a part-time job. During the beginning and end of the campaign, it even requires more effort than usual business activities.
A crowdfunding campaign is not just a new opportunity, but also new responsibilities that some team members can see beyond their activities. Therefore, it is important that you delegate activities to each of the team members from the beginning and make sure that the rules are 100% respected.
If you work in a small team, it is possible that a crowdfunding campaign will fill your capacity. This is mainly due to the fact that some activities, especially during the campaign, simply can’t be delegated to people outside the project, especially if the team needs to take care of the product development and run the company at the same time.
Are you willing to sacrifice product development for the success of the campaign?
Campaign preparation often crushes the attention of the whole team. It may happen that the team must focus fully on project preparation and prioritize it before working on product development and business affairs.
It is similar to the situation in which you are looking for an investor. Some activities, however crucial, have a lower priority for a short time.
The short-term limitations of certain project activities are something you should expect and prepare for accordingly. Campaign preparation will be much easier if you understand that some activities will be limited and you make sure that this won’t put the project in jeopardy.
Do you like to learn?
Learning and curiosity are the qualities that are very useful in crowdfunding. You can use countless resources to improve your campaign, especially during the preparation phase.
For example, you can learn how to properly collect leads, how to structure a campaign, what types of graphics to use, or what are the best promotional strategies.
However, it has two drawbacks.
One is that not all the tips & tricks actually work as they are presented. Crowdfunding is changing, and so do the things that are effective. If you’re not paying attention all the time, you might miss something important.
The second disadvantage is the experience. Unfortunately, you can’t replace experience with any other asset or skill, but it can be gained by working on dozens of crowdfunding projects. The only way for project creators to get their hands on this kind of experience is to work with crowdfunding experts and professional agencies that have entire teams of specialists.
So when should you start thinking about crowdfunding?
When all the answers to the questions in this article will be “yes”.
Of course, some projects did not take this information into account, and yet their campaigns were a success. But it was a great risk for them and they would have a much higher chance of success if they prepared and had a better overview of everything they could encounter.
If you are planning a crowdfunding campaign or you’re already working on it, and you need expert assistance, contact us today and we will help you get the most out of your campaign.