Earlier this month I attended a Tech Coast Venture Network event on Crowfunding that was hosted by Howard Leonhardt. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this event, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to go listen to some pointers from someone who has raised over $145 million to crowdfund new inventions and startups before crowdfunding was even cool.
Brian MacMahon opened the discussion with the question,
What makes a great entrepreneur?
Leonhardt explained that somewhere along the way people forgot the reason why we start businesses in the first place. Entrepreneurs become consumed with the idea of making money that we forget that our focus should be on identifying and solving a problem that exists in the marketplace.
The most successful business owners become obsessed with solving that problem and proving that it can be done. Entrepreneurs who focus their efforts on solving a problem to help other people find that the money will eventually work itself out.
Another concept that was discussed was surrounding yourself with great people. The most important asset to any company is not the product they create or the service they provide, but the people that the company employs. “People don’t work for you,” Leonhardt said, “they work with you.”
Leonhardt emphasized that the key to success for any entrepreneur is to work in an area that you love and to choose a profession that has deeper meaning. When you are personally invested in the industry where you spend your time, you build great friendships and relationships with those around you, and your company will grow stronger as a whole.
There are a lot of people that want to give back to their communities and go out of their way to help others. These types of people are attracted to working with like-minded individuals. Creating a team with those who want to give back are the ones that will help you not only get your business off the ground, but flourish.
While you’re in the process of building your business, there is no doubt that you are are going need funds to turn your dream into a reality. Below are 20 tips for successful crowdfunding from the master of crowdfunding himself.
Top 20 Tips for Successful Crowdfunding
- Remember people buy with emotion and justify with fact. Connect with people on an emotional level about the work that you’re doing, then provide them with the information that supports the work that you are doing.
- Crowdfunding is hard work! If you think that you’re going to launch a crowdfunding campaign and then millions of dollars are going to roll in overnight, you are going to need a reality check.
- It’s all about applying peer pressure at the right time. If you can get software that tells you when someone watched your crowdfunding video, follow up with a call, text, or email immediately thereafter.
- Get positive press and get in the news before you launch your crowdfunding campaign! Nothing beats big time news coverage and will be great materials to use to supplement your campaign.
- Get opinion leader support. Make a list of top 50 opinion leaders in your field and figure out how to get them involved with it one by one.
- Remember that what you are doing is much bigger than just creating a product. You are leading are an uprising and movement. Convey that message through your campaign.
- KISS rule. Keep it short and sweet. Have you ever watched the movie “Guilt Trip”? Seth Rogan tries to sell his product by telling potential clients about every detail of the engineering and he loses his audience every time. Remember that people don’t want to hear about every detail of the years of planning you put into your product. Although those details are very important for the internal meetings of your company, the majority of people are not going to find the intricacies nearly as fascinating as you do.
- Dominate your launch at trade shows. Post flyers in bathroom, banner over escalator, put your flyers everywhere, take out an ad in trade show. This is the time to hit the ground running with your crowdfunding campaign.
- Attend as many events as you can leading up to your crowdfunding launch and throughout your campaign. You should set a goal of attending a different event every 2 days.
- Get your pitch in everywhere you can. Talk to as many people as you can about the work you’re doing. How else do expect people to learn about your crowdfunding campaign? You need to tell others about it every chance you get.
- Get your first 50, 100, 150, or 200 supporters to commit to you that they will 3 other people to donate to your crowdfunding campaign. Hold them accountable call them often. Help them feel truly a part of the process.
- Remember you are selling an experience. You are creating an opportunity to feel apart of something special. This is about more than just a product or service.
- Tap into what people already believe in and care about. Craft message to fit in their world, not yours. (Don’t be Seth Rogan! Refer to tip #7)
- Instead of being focused on selling, focus on creating, connecting, sharing and engaging.
- It’s not about “me” it’s about us. Show people how it’s in everyone’s interest to help you succeed in reaching your crowdfunding goal.
- Tell stories that people can connect and identify with about how your company will help others.
- Get top bloggers to support you and talk about your crowdfunding campaign. How you ask? First share the blogger’s posts on your social media pages and show them your appreciation for the topics that they write about by responding in their comments. Later, email them directly and let them know about the work that you are doing and your upcoming crowdfunding campaign.
- Keep it personal. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou
- Preach to the choir. Tell everyone that you already know about what you’re doing. You may think that they already know, but you’ll be surprised by how many people you know have no idea that you have launched a crowdfunding campaign.
- Investors like to follow smart money. This means that people like to see other successful people backing your campaign. Get smart money behind you early, then add that to your pitch.