Crowdfunding: are you ready to take a chance?

Do you have a great idea for a business, but not enough money to make it a reality? You can fulfill your dream by attracting money through crowdfunding. What, you do not know what kind of animal it is? Meet: crowdfunding (from English crowdfunding - "popular funding") - this is when you ask people to donate money to you to implement your project, usually through special sites. If you collect the amount you expected, the project is considered to be successfully completed, and you send certain souvenirs to your benefactors - usually the product for the production of which you collect money. Thus, people pre-order your product. If you fail to collect a certain amount, then the money is returned to investors.

For example, if you came up with a very convenient holder for an iPhone on the wheel of a bicycle, you can raise money for its production and send the first batch to your shareholders. Thus, crowdfunding allows you to start your project even today, and many do - while the eyes are still burning, and the ardor and enthusiasm has not cooled.

But I advise you not to rush. To plan a successful campaign to raise funds for your project, you will need at least three months or even half a year. If you start a project in a semi-ready state, you may suddenly find yourself under the rubble of urgent work and forget about sleep, because sometimes events develop extremely quickly, and you must be ready to react immediately. If you have nothing to react to, then as a result your project will fail, and you will not receive a penny, having lost a lot of time, money and effort.

If you nevertheless decided to approach the matter seriously, then prepare all of the following BEFORE launching the project - believe me, you will have something to do during the campaign.

1. Create an information database

People should not learn about your project for the first time on its launch day - especially wealthy or powerful friends or colleagues who can help you. Remember: crowdfunding is basically a fundraising through friends and their friends, because “word of mouth” has not been canceled. Start talking about your project long before the start - so people will have time to find out the details, weigh the pros and cons and decide on participation in your campaign from the very start. A big leap forward at the very start will give you a huge advantage - when people see that a project is very popular from the very beginning, they are more inclined to join it.

Successful launch of the project is important for two more reasons: firstly, it makes people feel that they support the winner, and secondly, the algorithm of the online service, where you run your project, will bring it to the top and to the main page if he will be very popular. And this is nothing more than free promotion (more clicks - more money - more shareholders).

2. Sell your idea in words

You should have as many ways to sell your idea to shareholders as you have shareholders. With the advent of each new shareholder (including potential), select an individual approach to it. Find out the motives for their participation in your project - this could be a profit orientation, a desire to help an old friend, and much more. Find out what your new shareholder usually finances - charity projects or art? Before contacting your target audience, find out their preferences and find the right approach. You can never guess which of your friends will suddenly throw you a couple of thousand to the realization of your dreams.

Prepare a description of your project in a nutshell (really in a nutshell - so that, for example, you can tell your neighbor about it while you are traveling together in an elevator), as well as an information kit for the press (press release, poster, etc.). ). Create a website, be ready to answer questions and be constantly in touch - by phone or in social networks. Do your best to turn people from potential shareholders into real ones.

Large investors will probably not be particularly interested in the gifts you offer. But such shareholders usually help to raise no more than half the money for the project. But for the rest of the participants you need to come up with something very tempting. For example, the group "Sansara", well-known in its circles, raising money for the release of its collection of the best songs, besides the disc itself, sells pictures of the vocalist as shares, talking to him for life on Skype, and also promises invitations to a real theatrical performance in as a premiere album. As you can see, this goes beyond the usual souvenirs with the symbolism of a musical group. You can do the same thing - even if you sell potato peelers, no one bothers you to draw cartoons about the adventures of potatoes in the country of Kuchoniya. If it does not work with kitchen accessories, then there is always the opportunity to succeed as a multiplier or producer.

3. Start with the most difficult

Production, preparation and packaging of gifts for which participants will exchange their shares - this is your first priority. It is not necessary to do this before the launch of the project, because most often the money is collected for exactly the product that you will then send to the shareholders. However, you should be ready to start at the same moment that your project is completed successfully. To do this, you need to plan a budget, make a schedule of work, conduct preliminary negotiations with studios (if you are recording your new album), printing house (if you are writing a book) or a production site.

In other words, you must be 100% sure that your promises are on time and on budget. It will be very unpleasant if you successfully collect the necessary amount of money, and you do not even have enough of them to send out your product. In addition, you need to prepare some souvenirs for people who donate a small amount (up to a thousand rubles), because there will be a majority of such shareholders. Usually, people are ready to help you with a sum of about 500 rubles, so you need to offer them something that will cost less than five hundred rubles (including packaging and shipping costs).

Preparation for the launch of the project also includes the development of design and marketing strategy - this may be the most time-consuming part of the work and require outside assistance. Hire a professional designer and start designing your logo, colors, ads, website, t-shirts, stickers, and so on. Always lay a good amount of time to correct mistakes and make changes. You do not want to come up with advertisements after the launch of the project? You will have something to do at this time. If you do not have at least two people on hand who are ready to devote full-time work to these matters, then you will most likely have time only to solve current problems.

For example, announcements and banners should be invented in advance so that you can keep to the established schedule for their release - announcements about the launch of the project, announcements of events within the project, announcements of expanding the range of gifts or increasing the number of promotions, warnings about the approaching completion of the project, etc. .

4. Create accounts in social networks

Crowdfunding is a public animal. Therefore, social networks will become your main marketing tool. If you do not have a page on Facebook, Vkontakte and Twitter, this very minute, create them. After that, create separate pages for your business - not for the crowdfunding campaign, but for the project for which you are raising money. Your little animal would be nice to also have your own accounts on Instagram and Tumblr. Even if you think that this is too much (especially if you are one of those people who are not used to putting each photo of their breakfast on public display), take it as a marketing tool and not a source of revelations. Different social networks have a different audience, and the greater your presence in them, the greater your target audience.

5. Take a video

Not all crowdfunding services emphasize the importance of this detail, but the fact remains that your campaign will certainly go better if you withdraw your appeal to the shareholders. And here you also have to prepare everything in advance, even if you do not plan to make an unusual video. The most important thing in it is you. Make sure that your future shareholders can see you and hear about the project, so to speak, firsthand. Tell them what their money will go for and sell your idea in words (see point 2).

If possible, include in the video image of all that relates to your project. If you are planning to make a film, show your camera, script and actors. If you come up with a new way to cut the core of the halves of apples, show it - and show where and how this kitchen fixture will be made. In our century of high-tech gadgets, you can shoot a video at home and mount it on your smartphone - the main thing is that it is personal, friendly, informative and short (best of all, if you keep within a minute, the worst - if you don’t keep within three).

6. Do your own research.

Much of your success will depend on your understanding of the situation. Check out the various crowdfunding sites and look at the most successful projects that ended there. Find out what they have in common and make sure that you do the same thing as they do. Did they do something really cool? Excellent - copy their method or adapt it for yourself. Spend at least one day “flipping through” other people's projects and making notes for yourself. Then choose the one that you like and become a shareholder. Visit the other side of the crowdfunding project before launching your own campaign.

7. Provide feedback

Before launching your project and starting the development of advertising materials, a website, ads or the product itself, ask for the opinion of as many people as possible. Perhaps you will discover something new. Listen to constructive criticism and make changes to your plan at the earliest stages, especially if the comments are repeated several times. Try not to take criticism on your account or argue with people (regardless of your reasoning, if they don’t like something, others don’t like it - and you can't argue with everyone). Just make the necessary changes and move on.

8. Make a schedule of events

The final stage will be the schedule of activities after the launch of the project. Do not let your shareholders get bored while counting down - offer them something new and interesting every day: if you are writing a book - quote a couple of paragraphs, if this is a product - offer samples. Schedule events — both online and offline: press conferences, informal meetings in popular places, tours of production or video broadcasts from the studio. Contact local radio stations, television stations, newspapers and magazines and ask if they want to interview or talk about the campaign. Nowadays, the media love to cover such projects - this is an unusual and informal way to attract investors. Seek out reviewers covering similar topics and make sure they know about your project. As the campaign progresses, throw new "fishing rods" and add gifts.

If you don’t have something to “catch on” to publish news on the project every day, think of something yourself: put pictures of your dog (toy can) in a jumpsuit with the logo of the project or publish links to sites related to it. Crowdfunding is a friendly animal, the main thing is to find the right approach to it.

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