Crowdfunding has become an increasingly popular way for small businesses to raise startup funds. Some campaigns on platforms like Kickstarter end up failing, leading to disappointed backers and even more disappointed entrepreneurs. Others succeed beyond the campaigner's wildest dreams, reaching and exceeding their goal in a matter of days.
Pranay Kumar, co-founder of Apollo Pens, launched a Kickstarter campaign for his titanium technical pen and drafting scale on Oct. 29, 2013. Within nine hours, the project had raised $10,000, and by the second day of its 45-day campaign, Apollo Pens had already met its $30,000 goal.
It wasn't sheer luck that brought Kumar's project the overwhelming support it received. The entrepreneur and his co-founder put in a lot of hard work and preparation to help ensure their Kickstarter success. Kumar recommended these five steps to meet your crowdfunding goals in less than one week:
Have a solid idea
Your product must offer significant personal value to your backers. The choice of the materials you use to build your product, the ability for backers to customize the product, the intelligence you incorporate into the product's design and, most importantly, the functionality of your product are key to your success.
Believe in the product
It's important to remember that the crowd not only buys into the product being pitched, but also into who you are as an inventor and what your motivations are for raising the money. Kickstarter isn't just about product sales; it's also about creating a personal connection with each one of your backers. If your campaign's visitors believe in you and your cause, they will become exceedingly faithful to you and the project.
Prepare for the launch
The amount of preparation you do before your campaign's launch will hugely determine your chances of success. As a project creator, you need to have a solid understanding of your product offering, your reasons for making and designing it the way you did, and how you plan to fulfill your orders. No one likes false promises, and Kickstarter backers have developed a finely tuned radar for judging the quality of new projects and their creators.
Perfect your presentation
Professionalism and consistency must be evident in everything you put on your page. This includes your write-up, your video, your photos and the branding. The voice you use to communicate with your backers should be professionally competent but also relatable — scripted responses might make you sound distant and robotic. It also helps to be able to fully describe your supply chain, manufacturing costs, potential lead times, packaging options, shipping rates and any other obstacles that may arise. The care and personality you put into your page will be rewarded with long-term credibility.
Have your financials in order
The financial analysis you do before you launch can either make or break your campaign. Critical numbers to have in order include the number of rewards and reward combinations you plan to offer, the pricing of the rewards, the number of limited rewards, the number of days in your campaign and, most importantly, the number of people visiting your page on any given day. Do not dilute your campaign by offering too many options or variations of your product — keep it simple! Price fairly, but also remember not to overpromise or undercut yourself because you will have to deliver within your budget and time frame.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.