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..