Our crowdfunding campaign is live now!!

size-500x500 After weeks of planning, finally, our crowdfunding campaign is live now. We have worked hard, got good commitment from many people and it’s encouraging to see that we are moving faster towards our goal. We would like to thank our early investors who have shown their belief in the idea and team. 

We are confident about the prospects of Planned Departure. We believe that all of us are creating digital assets and these assets are invaluable. 

We have a simple mission. We want to help you organise your digital life and ensure that important information from your life is never lost, locked or abused.

Please have a look at our crowdfunding campaign and invest in us so that we can move faster towards our goals. Please share information about our crowdfunding campaign in your network.

 

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Wait is over – Our crowdfunding campaign will be soft launched tomorrow

 

 

Soft launch of Planned Departure's crowd funding campaign

 

From past one and a half month, we have been working hard to make it happen. Our crowdfunding campaign will be soft-launched to friends and family tomorrow. We are humbled by the support we have got – it will make us work harder and move faster towards our goals.

Thank you and do get in touch if you would like to have a look at our campaign before our campaign becomes public. 

 

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14 steps you should follow in the pre-launch phase of your crowdfunding campaign

power of crowd

The wait is going to be over this week. Soon, we will be in front of the crowd.

From past two months, we have been working on the pre-launch phase of our crowdfunding campaign. In this post, I will summarise the process we have followed and preparation we have done for this campaign so far.

If you ever thought that crowdfunding is a shortcut or an easy way to raise money – Think again. We have already spent close to two months and we are still in pre-launch phase.

Crowdfunding is not easy. It is as difficult as raising money from angle or VC firms. I will write more about why we decided to take the crowdfunding route and why we chose Seedrs some other time.

In this post I want to focus on just one thing – steps we followed in the pre-launch phase of crowdfunding.

We are not live yet and we do not know whether our campaign will be successful or not. But, we are happy with the preparation work we have done and are confident enough to share what we did with you.

If you have already raised money on crowdfunding platforms before, do let us know your thoughts on our approach. If you are planning to raise money through crowdfunding platform, you may find these steps useful.

1. Check all the options and make sure that you are using crowdfunding platform for the right reasons. As mentioned earlier, do not use it or treat it as a shortcut to raise money. It’s hard work.

2. There are tons of crowdfunding platforms, do your research and use the right platform. Check their model, timeline, number of investors, activities, type of campaigns and so on. People will ask you why you have chosen the platform you have chosen and you should have absolute clarity on the reasons.

3. If possible, make some small investments to understand the process. You can be an early stage investor for as little as 10 GBP :-) on most of the crowdfunding platforms. It’s worth investing this amount to ensure that you know what your investors will need to do. Make sure you can answer any question and explain how platform works to your potential investors.

4. In UK, it is important to understand how SEIS works and how it is beneficial for the investors. I have found this video useful to understand and explain SEIS scheme. If you are raising money or wants to become an early stage investor, you should have a look at this video to understand SEIS.

5. Make sure your business plan is ready. As mentioned earlier, crowdfunding platforms are not a shortcut. Moment you start speaking with investors, they will ask you for the business plan. As part of the application process, you will need to answer questions related your business plan. You will need to specify your target market, calculate it’s size and specify the route you will take to capture it. You will need to tell them about your monetization strategy and convince them that you are better than the competitors. Remember, investors on these platforms will invest for better returns. They are not there to help you. They are there to make money and so you need to ensure that how your business will make money is crystal clear in the campaign.

6. Start watching campaigns and grab opportunities to meet people who have already raised money. I met Sonu and Manoj from OwnedIt before my campaign and their suggestions were invaluable. If possible, do meet people and team behind the platform you are planning to use. Tell them what you are doing and how you are planning to run your campaign. Remember, if you do not ask, you will not get. So ask for feedback and help whenever needed.

7. Start application process and plan your video shoot. Remember, these things always takes a bit more time than you think it would take. You will also need to provide proofs of everything you have mentioned in the campaign. It may be a good idea to prepare all the evidences beforehand. Do not show any stats or make any claim if you can not substantiate it with evidences.

8. Keep an eye on the campaigns which are trending or getting funded. Understand how they move, when they move and how they promote themselves. Follow their communication, read their updates and questions people are asking. Do everything you can to make yourself familiar with the platform.

9. Get your video pitch ready well in advance. Think of the visuals, transitions, background music and the message you want to convey. Watch as many videos as possible and make a note of everything you like or dislike about them.

10. Start contacting bloggers, media outlets and influential people from your industry. Create a list of people who write about crowdfunding campaigns. Get in touch with everyone who may want to cover your campaign.

11. Sell your dream and vision to your network and get commitment for at least 50% of the money you are raising. There have been many studies to prove that campaigns which start with 30% commitment are often successful. I suggest 50% because some people might change their mind and may not invest. You want to ensure that

12. Create a schedule, whom will you contact and when. If your platform has soft-launch and hard-launch, make sure you know what you will do in both phases. If platform allows you to set moving goals, make sure you know your goals and activities you will perform. Like any other project, you need to manage this ‘raising investment’ project. You will need to contact many people and you may even need to become pushy.

13. Plan all the events, possible updates, communication on social channels etc. Once the campaign is live, time will fly so you should have absolute clarity on what will happen at every stage. Visualise every milestone and activities associated with it.

14. And the final point – work hard and prepare to work even harder. There are no shortcuts for success and crowdfunding is certainly not a shortcut.

If you are raising funds, hope you find it useful. If you are not raising, wish us best wishes, register on Seedrs and stay tuned so that you can invest in the campaign for Planned Departure before it is too late.. 

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Why choose an SME over an MNC as a career choice

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An SME (Small to Medium Enterprise) are often smaller companies or businesses compared to MNCs (Multi National Corp). MNCs are corporations that have facilities and assets in at least one country other than its home country.

As fresh graduates we often debate with ourselves which would be a better career opportunity as a first job. A Multinational corporation (MNC) or a Small to Medium Enterprise (SME)?

I have a few weeks to go before I graduate from Kingston’s MA in creative writing and publishing programme. I decided to look for a job before completion to reduce the job search burden and process. I read about a job role with a start-up company called Planned Departure. Initially I had not thought about working in a SME. It was all about the big companies for me, after all those were the ones I had heard of while growing up and had read about mostly but I decided to apply.

I was hired as the Social Media Marketing Executive of the company which was amazing.

When I started my job, I realised MNCs have their perks. A good and steady income, a well-established name and brand, security in the workplace, a good amount of people to share your workload, the opportunity to learn from experts who have been working in the field for years and many more.

But working with a start-up is different and better. Here’s why…

Before I begin, let me just say one of my major fears as I started this job was that it might fail or cease to exist in a few months or years. I thought again and realised, nothing is guaranteed in life. Even with MNCs something could happen that could completely change their dynamics and make them cease to exist too – so why not give this a go.

In a start-up everything is new. There is so much you can learn and there is so much room to grow.

As I started my new role, I quickly realised there was a lot to learn. In a few weeks I was responsible for most of the social media channels. I quickly learnt and adjusted to my tasks. With each task I learnt something new. Instead of having a specific role like you normally would in an MNC, I was able to give myself the chance to explore different departments in the company. The freedom to work and learn as I worked was amazing.

At work it’s not just a company but I feel like I am part of a family which I know I could never feel at an MNC.

The employers take time and actually listen to you and guide you through various tasks.

Efforts and skills are recognized easily and appreciated which helps in boosting your confidence and making you proud of your hard work done.

It provides amazing one-on-one learning sessions with the founders and the rest of the team. This enhances the skills and knowledge you already have, preparing you for a bigger role in an MNC. I personally think we should learn to walk before running. If you can survive and succeed in a start-up company or SME, you can succeed anywhere else.

I have learnt a lot that can help me in future for my own business I set up.

With MNCs mostly there’s no personal relationships established which often means no loyalty. With an SME over months and years of working so closely, you build a relationship which often results in the company being loyal to you (sometimes) when it grows bigger and eventually becomes an MNC.

These are a few reasons why I personally prefer SMEs to MNCs. They both have their advantages and disadvantages but it depends on what you personally want to achieve in life that helps influence your decision on which to choose after school. Your goals, aims, income expectations, work – life balance, etc.

It helps in gaining experience so SMEs often tend to give you more than MNCs. This prepares you for starting your own business or joining an MNC for a higher role.

Plan your career, think about where you want to be in 5 years and let that motivate and inspire you.

Make a decision today that your future self will be proud of. Do your research, speak to people and gather as much information as you can, to help you in making an informed decision.

BTW, two more people from Kingston joined Planned Departure with me. This is what they have to say about it -

 Ismail Pervez – Corporate Sales & Operations Executive

“Being a strong believer in only working for a top organisation during my university life,  my choice of decision between an SME or MNC was very stressful as I had 3 job offers, two from well established companies and 1 start-up. But looking at different aspects and aspirations, I made the decision to work in an SME because of an opportunity to turn that organisation into an MNC and the challenge it will bring upon myself to succeed and learn as on the contrary, the established company will train me and follow directions and rules where I would be restricted and not have flexibility to experience other areas or have an involvement for the company growth.  I would recommend each student to carefully choose their workplace, according to the expected outcomes they want to achieve”.

 Nam Nguyen – Marketing Executive

Having worked for both MNCs and SMEs have given me the opportunity to experience what is it like to work in a small and big organisations. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. In a MNC you earn prestige, confidence and connections that can give you a big push for future job applications.

But in terms of learning and skills, SMEs are the preferred ones by me. While working at Planned Departure I have been able to get involved in many activities from the day-to-day running of the business. I have been able to touch on every aspect of the business from – Marketing, Sales, Operations, Lead Generation, Media Engagement and many more for just 3 months. This has given me confidence and knowledge to one day run my own SME.

I would suggest students to not be afraid to join SMEs if they have the chance, because sometimes not everything bigger is better.

Best of luck :)

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What is crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding and it's different models.

Planned Departure will soon launch it’s crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. Stay tuned to see how you can help us build innovative features and reach more people. Thank you.

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