Crowdfunding hasn’t been around long, but it changed the face of product development by allowing people to vote with their money and that is a powerful thing when it comes to preparing product for market. At Leardon we have had the privilege to work with crowdfunded entrepreneurs. In doing so, we’ve compiled some advice based on our experiences.
A quick list of our recommendations for crowdfunding success:
1) For better or worse, Your product is in the public eye.
Our advice: Attempt to lock in quotes and estimates prior to raising any funding. Once your campaign is successful, vendors and service providers will not have to look too hard to find out how deep your pockets are. Be strategic to avoid being taken advantage of.
2) The 80 / 20 Rule
Our advice: A fancy prototype can get you pretty far, but successfully crowdfunded entrepreneurs have told us how surprised they were to have to do an extreme amount of marketing. If your campaign is successful, it may be because you spent 80% of your time marketing it and 20% doing everything else. Don’t hesitate to reach out to every single person you know to ask them to spread the word. Make it easy for them to share the information and remember to include a call to action in everything. Social media, local TV, blogs and experts will work to your advantage, make relationships prior to the campaign launch.
3) Design for manufacturability
Finding out your prototype isn’t manufacturable sucks, but it really really sucks after you’ve taken 50k in orders.
Our advice: Prototype as far you can until you absolutely need funding. Regardless if your idea is software or hardware, always consider designing for scalability. If you are unfamiliar with this process, reach out to product development teams that specialize in end-to-end product development and that can design for manufacturability.
4) Walk the Walk – Talk the Talk :
Let’s face it, until manufacturing comes back the US, chances are that you will be building your products overseas to compete with global competition. You may find yourself in a sticky situation if you do not know much about your partners overseas.
Our advice : Consider finding service providers that have reps, project managers, engineers, ect.. in the areas where you will be manufacturing. Their ability to perform a factory audit, speak with factory managers and correct issues before you start shipping product to customers will save face and your business.
5) Watch every cent, do what you know how to do well and get help when you are far out of your comfort zone.
For questions related to product development, please reach feel free to contact us.