I never knew when I was ready enough to launch my product. But feeling ready and enough is subjective, right? Reality is we just have to do our best to get as ready as possible. Here are 6 things I did to get ready before my crowdfunding campaign that raised over $48,000 to jumpstart my business.
- Do Your Research. Understand who your competitors are and what’s already in the market. Carve a niche for yourself. What’s unique about your product or you? Go in person to stores. Observe people interacting with products similar to yours. What does it seem like they’re looking for before buying a product?
Example: Since I’m in the retail industry, I would go into clothing stores and just people watch. I noticed a lot of people touching the fabric first. Then looking at overall style. Then price. From that, I concluded that how the fabric feels and looks is more important than price at first.
Ask Feedback from Friends. Message friends with photos of your product prototype or something similar. Ask them questions that’ll be helpful to your business. Such as, how often they’d use it, how much they’d pay for it, what they like or don’t like about it. Ask for constructive feedback. You don’t want your friends saying “yea, great idea” just to make you feel good. You want feedback that’ll help you and your product improve.
Example: I created a free survey and sent it to over 20 friends on Facebook Messenger. I didn’t have my prototype done yet so I just chose photos similar to the dress I wanted to create. I asked questions like how much they think that dress cost. How much they’d be willing to pay for it. Would they pay a premium if it was Made in the USA, and other questions I wanted answers to.
Ask Feedback from Strangers. Strangers are great because they have no bias. Ask the same questions you asked your friends but to complete strangers who seem to fit your target demographic. The great thing is strangers exist everywhere! On public transportation, at events, at coffee shops or wherever. Don’t tell them it’s your product. Casually bring it up in conversation to get more honest feedback.
Example: I wore my prototype all the time and constantly asked strangers on trains, planes, buses, and subways about their opinions on my dress. Where they thought I bought it from. How much they think it costs. I also deferred to strangers to help build my crowdfunding campaign page. If I wasn’t sure which photos to use, I’d ask 10 women at the coffee shop I was at. Majority won.
Display Your Product at Events. Test out your prototypes by going to craft fairs, events or shows. Ask people for feedback. Note their reactions. Another great opportunity to get real, constructive feedback on how to improve your product and marketing strategy for your crowdfunding campaign. What words are people associating your product with? Ask people how they could see themselves using your product.
Example: I participated in a side event at New York Fashion Week before launching my crowdfunding campaign to validate my product idea with real feedback. Most people associated my dress with travel. During my crowdfunding, I posted my campaign page in a lot of female travel groups which helped me raise past my original $30,000 goal.
Collect Emails. Building a strong email list is key to crowdfunding. Collect email addresses at events you attend. Get people excited about your campaign and ask permission for you to send them information once its live.
Example: I attended a craft fair and collected about 200 emails from it before my crowdfunding campaign. I stood in the middle of the aisle with my clipboard, paper and pen and asked people who walked by for their email addresses. I also asked every vendor at the craft fair. In my experience, most independent designers and/or entrepreneurs are supportive because they’re in the same boat too!
- Build Your Frontline Army of Supporters. Reach out to close friends. Tell them how important it is to rally their support as soon as your crowdfunding campaign is live. The first 48 hours are crucial to gain momentum.Example: I wanted to launch a Brand Ambassador campaign to help spread the word about my crowdfunding campaign. My original plan failed. I read everywhere how the initial 24-48 hours of crowdfunding is important so I reached out to these amazing women to rally their support by pledging and sharing my campaign page.
Have you done crowdfunding before? What are some things you did before launching your campaign? Help a fellow Boss Babe out and leave your best tips below!