By Trae Tessmann – COO, Co-Founder of Crowds.io
While running a crowdfunding campaign may just seem like promoting a page for a few weeks, collecting orders, and then delivering, it isn’t as simple as that. From page design and marketing to manufacturing and shipping, there are a multitude of details that can be overlooked, and they will quickly turn your project from seemingly successful to a headache in a matter of moments.
Most crowdfunding campaigns are launched to fulfill the entrepreneurial dreams of a passionate individual. They’re ready to venture out on their own, promote their idea, and serve their new-found customers, all on their own. This independent mentality is great to get you off the ground and motivate you to get to work, but can be costly in both the long- and short-run in more than one area of operations.
You don’t have to do everything on your own, and shouldn’t think you have to. Looking for partners to do what you can’t or don’t want to do is the best choice when looking at how to efficiently allocate your resources, and with the explosion of crowdfunding the past few years, many organizations are tailoring their offering to fit the needs of the crowdfunder, or building their service around those needs altogether.
Consider looking for partners early in the planning process of your campaign for the following:
Make more accurate projections
Setting the price for your crowdfunding rewards and fundraising goal should allow you to at least break-even after your campaign, covering all costs of marketing, operations, production, order fulfillment, and shipping. This aspect of crowdfunding can hold seriously negative implications if your financial projections are off, and you can only make accurate projections if you know who is doing the work and how much it will cost. By finding and approaching those potential partners early on in the planning process, you’ll have better insights into the price points and thresholds you must meet to remain profitable in your campaign.
Improve Quality and Efficiency
Unfortunately, you just won’t have the time or skills to handle all aspects of a crowdfunding campaign, regardless of your commitment to the process, and it isn’t wise to try. Partner companies, for all steps in the process, have built their products and services around a certain focus, and it’s what they do best. They have the experience you don’t, and will provide you with the insight into what you need and don’t need from start to finish. While it may seem hard to fork over your cash to an outside entity, the investment will provide a great return in terms of quality and time-saved for you and your team to focus on everything else.
Stay on Schedule
Your backers want you to stay on schedule. Crowdfunding campaigns are notorious for delays and difficulties during manufacturing and order fulfillment, but many of those issues can be solved or at least partially-prevented through proper planning. Collaborating and working with your partners keeps everyone on the same schedule, and allows for efficient assembly and shipment of whatever you’re delivering to your backers. Compare this to trying to do everything internally, only to stretch your resources too thin and risking the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build, and the answer is a no-brainer.
Build long-term Relationships
Being a crowdfunder, you’re probably starting from the ground floor, and there’s no better time to start building partnerships than at the beginning of your hopefully long-lasting and fruitful venture. Introduce your project to a partner organization early and build it together. When your campaign is done, instead of scampering around, looking for partners to help you scale and expand your operation, those relationships also allow you to seamlessly and immediately bridge the gap to becoming a startup or independent entrepreneur.
As we’ve mentioned, no one enjoys feeling like they have to handle everything within their operation. Even with a small team, there are some things that you just can’t manage and produce in a cost-effective manner with your limited resources, space, or time-frame. Forming a relationship with a marketing studio, law firm, order fulfillment company, etc. gives you the freedom to focus on what you do best and operate with the knowledge that you’re prepared for whatever your crowdfunding campaign brings.
It may seem obvious that you’re going to need help with your crowdfunding campaign, but the secret to making the most out of those partnerships is in the timing. Planning and preparation will prevent many of the difficulties that derail campaigns all around the world. Start looking for partners, explain your situation, form relationships, and make sure you’ve got all of your bases covered when it’s finally time to get to work on fulfilling the promises you’ve made to your backers.
Trae Tessmann is the COO and Co-Founder of Crowds.io, a social network for developing new products.