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What is the right time to begin a crowdfunding campaign?

I am wondering if it makes any sense to begin a crowdfunding campaign to get potential customer feedback on how to finish building our product as well as to raise finances for finishing a prototype. The reasoning is to bypass lengthy focus groups and email marketing/survey campaigns.


7 Replies

Michael Brill
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Michael Brill Entrepreneur
Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products
Crowdfunding is marketing.

If you've got a great product (great rewards and/or a really, really, really awesome project) and the bandwidth to promote your campaign then it's worth a shot.

Otherwise it's a time-consuming slog with grim odds.

Paul Niederer
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Paul Niederer Advisor
Founder Raiseworth
Getting potential customer feedback falls in the realm of crowdsourcing and itis a great way to build communityand get input on how to finish building your product. As the product evolves and develops you will increase the size of your community and at that stage you can invite them to contributefinancially to your project.
Bill Lennan
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Bill Lennan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Red Rope Social
I wouldn't go down the crowdfunding road until I was sure I had a product that a customer would pay for.
As Michael said - it's work.
IMHO, that time can be better spent talking to people you think would be good customers to validate your market needs hypothesis
Elise Krentzel
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Elise Krentzel Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO & Chief Creative Officer at ek Consulting, Author
Thank you all for these comments. I have been talking to potential customers and the nature of our customer demographic is so complex as is the product segment as there are literally 10's of variables. I am now thinking of just blogging to create a community where our customers can discuss likes, dislikes, vent etc. in a community environment. Then I can subtly ask questions in blog form and cull information from the answers. What do you all think?
Bill Lennan
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Bill Lennan Entrepreneur • Advisor
Red Rope Social
Hi Elise,
What's common across your potential customers?
What's their pain point that you can ameliorate?

At this point, taking more away and paring down to the core will help you focus and get traction.
Elise Krentzel
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Elise Krentzel Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO & Chief Creative Officer at ek Consulting, Author
Yes Bill. We've paired it down and we still don't know if it is a pain point. That is why I'm thinking to go down the blogging roof where people will interact with one another and discuss those pain points
Adam Pressman
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Adam Pressman Advisor
I've helped a number of folks become millionaires. I'd like to do it a few more times.
Hi Elise, you've gotten a lot of good information here. Especially from Paul Niederer in that the answers you seek are a secondary value of crowdfunding, rather than the first. People who fund a project have different goals than people who want to improve a product or service. Also I don't see that anyone has given you any specific metrics to know when you're ready. We advise clients to have 150 people they know are as committed to the success of the venture as they are. This will bring in people, money, and ideas. If that 150, what we call your tribe, also will pledge 30% of what you need, you're ready to move from getting commitment from your tribe whom you know to a crowd you don't. Our Crowdfund Guarantee, which repays investors or donors if a venture fails, can help assure you that you won't risk hurting your friends and family if something goes wrong and incentivize strangers to consider your venture.
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