Getting the Most Out of Crowdfunding
Much has already been written about the various funding options that are available for start-ups and small businesses these days, but many of those articles are too general and therefore of almost no use to entrepreneurs that have at least a few ideas about what all those different options entail. Hopefully, those horizons will be pushed a bit further in this article, which is going to focus only on one of those funding options – crowdfunding – and explore what one might try to do in order to get the most out of it.
First of all, let’s take a look about what you can do in order to generate as much interest as possible. It is not that hard – it is very similar to what you would to in order to attract an investor. However, you will never have to worry about elaborate business plans and contracts. Instead, you will have to be more creative. Try to present your projects by mixing the essentials of your business plan with extra content and friendly advertising. Entice potential backers by offering exclusive rewards – and those willing to give you more money should indeed get more than the rest. It is important to have a good structure when it comes to this, so think things through before putting your project out there.
So, you have managed to get a few backers on the board, but it still is not quite enough. What now? Well, it is time to start investing some time into community building – not only will it generate even more interest, but you may also be able to get some very loyal fans in the process. And loyal fans can be a very valuable asset even in the long term. Don’t just start a community forum and leave it alone – interact with your fans in order to convince to trust your project more. Along the way, you might even get a few interesting and useful ideas!
Finally, you should never forget about your backers. Don’t just take the money and stop communicating with the community. Try to inform them about the progress regularly. Try to mention all those milestones you have finally managed to achieve. They are not investors per se, but they should be treated like ones. And perhaps they deserve an even better treatment than regular investors. After all, they will never try to wrest the control of the project out of your hands or force you into things that you don’t want to do. And they certainly deserve to be rewarded for that!
Crowdfunding is one of the most innovative ways of raising money – and, for many smaller businesses, it is the ideal way of getting funding for some of the more creative projects. The key, however, is to treat it with respect and humility. You should never even think about trying to exploit the community. On the contrary – you should start working even harder after seeing people trusting your company and your projects.