You did it! You successfully reached your crowdfunding goal.
As you already know, this is no easy feat. While you may think now is the time to put things in cruise control, it couldn’t be more opposite. In fact, campaign creators are one group who certainly don’t subscribe to a “business-as-usual” experience. And that’s because crowdfunding is a very unique start for a business.
Instead, now is the time to finesse your production line and processes, figure out a seamless fulfillment plan, and acquire even more customers than your loyal backers. For some campaign creators, it may be time to fine-tune the design and finalize promised features. And, while you revel in your campaign success, you’ll need to consider in which direction you’d like to run your business after a successful crowdfunding campaign.
Option 1: Running An eCommerce Website
This is by far the most common option because it’s fairly easy. All it takes is a simple shift (and a redirect from your campaign) to a website or ecommerce page.
From there, backers, as well as new customers, can view your offering and purchase directly through you. Tools such as Clickfunnels enable you to integrate buying options directly into your website so customers can browse and purchase all in one place.
The ecommerce approach is appealing as it gives you total control over your product, production, and marketing. Along with offering updates for your backers, you have the option to continue to upgrade the product and also simplify your production process as needed. And, because of all this control, you can also seamlessly introduce additional products and accessories to your audience as and when you want.
However, you should also consider how much work goes into the ecommerce approach. Whether you do it all yourself or hire a team, a lot of time, effort, and money does go into managing and maintaining a website. If you aren’t well-versed in the space, it can result in a lot of trial and error due to a lack of experience.
At the same time, along with developing this line of business, you’ll need to continue to hone your brand and marketing messaging. You’ll need to be active on social media, run ads, and possibly hire a team to help you manage it all. Don’t forget that you’ll also be running shipping. To be successful with ecommerce, you need to be on the ball. Falling short with marketing will leave you with too few sales. Falling behind on shipping or production will leave you with negative reviews.
- If you haven’t done so already, make sure your ideal domain is available
- Decide which platform you’d like to use for ecommerce
- Develop and hone your marketing message
Things to consider:
- You may need the help of an online marketer. If so, I can help.
- Don’t forget to calculate shipping costs into your bottom line
- Research fulfillment companies if you need additional help
Option 2: Heading To Retail
I know—reaching as many people as possible and funding your campaign was hard enough.
Continuing that never-ending journey to reach even more potential customers can seem like running a marathon after you just completed a triathlon. If you’re looking to alleviate that stress from your daily workload, you can leverage national and global resellers to stock your product.
Think of retail as cruise control for those who still like to be in control. You can still dictate where your product goes and even help determine the price. You can continue to market your product and redirect buyers to your retail partners. With this, you can remove yourself from the majority of the business process and instead focus on visibility with your target audience.
Of course, there are elements of going retail you must consider. Typically, retail only works if you can produce a high volume of products. Likewise, you’ll need instant access to your product so you can restock shelves as quickly as possible. There is usually an initial purchase from the retail stores, but you’ll need to be prepared for a sudden shift in your production.
If successful, you may need to up your production extremely quickly to keep up with demand. If unsuccessful, you may have over-produced and be left with unsold units. Depending on the retailer, your contract may prohibit you from selling elsewhere or for a certain price.
- Find retail companies that align with your brand
- Fill out the vendor application for the retail company you choose
- Make sure your branding and message are fine-tuned
Things to consider:
- Can your production keep up with demand should it increase?
- Are you willing to sign exclusive resell rights to a retailer?
- You may want someone else to be the spokesperson to pitch your idea if it isn’t your forte
Option 3: Getting Acquired
If your campaign was successful enough to catch the attention of some big players in your industry, there may be an option for acquisition in your future. This is particularly common in the tech space where a new concept may be acquired by a larger tech brand to integrate with their existing product line (see Oculus).
An acquisition could come with a fairly sizable cash-out. And depending on the deal you work out, you may still be involved in the process on some level. If you’re really lucky, the acquiring company could ask you to come on board and join the team to continue to manage the product.
This option is especially ideal for those who aren’t looking to create an entire business (though with a successful campaign, you should already have an established brand). One downside to acquisition is that you may be left without a job. Of course, if the payout is large enough, this might not matter. But it may mean your dedicated team is also without jobs.
If you don’t have the attention for your product just yet, you can still get there. Get started on thoroughly marketing your product, especially on social media. Going viral will certainly grab the attention you’ll need, though you need to go viral for the right reasons.
- Ramp up your marketing, especially on social media
- Hire a broker or a banker
- Streamline your processes so they’re as efficient as possible
Things to consider:
- Brands looking to acquire will need to see your product as filling a gap they currently have
- A bidding war between brands can bring in an even bigger payout
Option 4: The Licensing Route
Depending on the idea, product, or person you are, you may want to consider a licensing approach. For the successful campaign creator and innovator who is already thinking of their next big idea, this one’s for you. Rather than deal with the ongoing production and fulfillment, you can license the intellectual property of your concept or product to other brands.
Of course, in order for this to be considered a great option, you’ll need to price yourself in a competitive yet advantageous way. It is highly recommended to reach out to an experienced intellectual property attorney to explore your options. The right firm should have contacts and an outreach program to help you find qualified (and profitable!) licensee options. If your product or idea is especially popular, you can use this to your advantage and have companies compete for the license.
The benefits of this option are obvious; you’ll have more time to focus on new innovations and inventions while you can still profit from your original idea. Because you own the intellectual property, you can continue to license for as long as you wish. However, depending on the type of license, your concept or product may be drastically modified to fit business needs. You won’t have control in this instance, which may be a hard pill to swallow for some.
In addition, this puts the entire path of success of your product onto the licensee. It’s possible the licensing company won’t put as much care into your product, which could lead to a tarnished reputation for your brand. To be sure your product is in the right hands, it’s important to license with companies and brands who share a vision of your product’s success and future.
- Research qualified IP lawyers in your area
- Determine how you would like your product to be portrayed
- Examine which companies you would like to work with
Things to consider:
- You may lose control over many parts of the production process
- The right licensee can make all the difference in your product’s success
Choosing Your Life After A Crowdfunding Campaign
While deciding which approach to take after your campaign is up to you, it also depends on the market and brands willing to work with you. Should you consider any option beyond ecommerce, consider how much involvement and control you’d like to retain. Figuring this out will help you decide in which direction to take your business after a crowdfunding campaign. And, whichever option you choose, it can help ensure your product’s ultimate success.
So, which path is right for you? Will you stick to ecommerce for total control? Or are you more into licensing because you’re already dreaming up your next crowdfunding campaign?
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