Dark Sides of Crowdfunding a Product

by Joe Donoghue of Leardon Solution

With the funding environment nearly revolutionized by crowdfunding, Leardon Solutions has had the opportunity to work closely with successfully crowdfunded entrepreneurs. In the process we’ve learned a lot. Luckily, we have had the chance to work with a smart group of folks that handled the challenges of successful crowdfunding campaigns with grace but it’s not always easy.

Here’s a list of things that we recommend entrepreneurs take into account as they partake in a crowdfunding campaign.

1) The secret is out : The great thing about crowdfunding is that it’s public, the bad thing is that it’s public. Potential vendors, suppliers, and consultants can get an idea of how deep your pockets are with very little research.

Our advice: Get your quotes and estimates prior to raising capital. This will help you better understand your actual needs and what you will have to secure to bring the project to reality and also allow you to lock in quotes and estimates ahead of time.

2) Successful crowdfunding is 10% show and 90% tell :

Our advice: While a slick looking software or hardware prototype can get people excited, it’s not enough to jump the network effect chasm. You’ll need to pull all the punches to get the word out. Blogs,  podcasts, newsletters, blog hops, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Adwords and paid social media promotions will play a huge role your success. Prepare a marketing battle plan well in advance and make relationships prior to your offering. You will not have much time once you have launched your campaign.

3) Prototype with scale in mind : Folks that have raised their goal amounts with crowdfunding sites sometimes find fulfilling orders to be extremely difficult because the prototype was not designed with manufacturability in mind.

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.

4) Walk the Walk – Talk the Talk : The reality is, if you’re building a physical product, it will likely have to be done overseas due to cost. Entrepreneurs that find themselves learning about cultural differences while trying to manufacture overseas will discover that they are at a serious disadvantage:

Our advice : Partner up with a team that has boots on the ground near the factory where you will be manufacturing, understands the local customs and can perform a factory audit if need be. Native speaking negotiations go a lot farther in many areas of the world. Things rarely go as planned and you’ll be thankful to have someone that can share face time with your vendors / suppliers.

5) Run lean, have fun and good luck!

For questions related to product development, please reach feel free to contact us.

NOTE:  This article provided by Joe Donoghue, CEO of Leardon Solution – A global product development company.

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