The world of crowdfunding can be pretty daunting and intimidating to the first time creator. Constant questions and doubts are bouncing around in your head… “Will my campaign succeed?” “Will people like my product?” “What should I do for pledge levels and goals?”
Don’t worry. Every new creator faces the same crowdfunding mountain that they have to climb before they can reach the top and start their new business. And we’re here to help you with that climb. In this series, we will be discussing what to do before your campaign launches. And believe me, there is a LOT. But we’re going to break it down simply and easily for you. Hopefully this will help you feel more confident by the time you’re ready to push that launch button!
Let’s start with product validation. I’m in several crowdfunding, Kickstarter, or Indiegogo related groups on Facebook. All too often, I’ll see a new creator come into the group and ask a timid question or two. Usually these questions need product-specific answers and the poster is too scared to share their idea.
I get it.
Your idea is your baby. You don’t want someone else to steal it. But I’m here to tell you now that hiding your baby from the world until your product is ready on Kickstarter or Indiegogo is a mistake. A big one. Let me explain.
More than anything, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter are proving grounds for products and ideas. The “crowd” will provide the validation with each pledge they commit to your campaign. But you need to validate that idea before you get to Kickstarter or Indiegogo! There are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of campaigns each year that fail to raise more than $1 on crowdfunding platforms. Creators will spend months and years dreaming up some awesome new product only to have it flop because they didn’t do any validation before launch.
But where do you go to get that validation? That will depend on your product… but I can tell you where to avoid getting validation:
Family, friends, and spouses.
Don’t even bother. These people love YOU. Most of them will tell you it’s a great idea and they love it because they love you and don’t want to hurt your feelings or crush your spirit. And that’s good of them. That’s why they’re people we want in our lives!
You need to go outside of your circle. Find people in your niche that don’t know you, don’t care about you, and have no reason to be kind or polite to you. If you’ve invented a sweet new bicycle accessory, go to a random biking Facebook group. Get their opinions. Do they like it? What would they change? Does it solve any problems they run into or make life easier for them in anyway? And most importantly… would they pay money to have it?
Getting validation from outside sources, but sources that are within your product’s niche can make or break your campaign. An outsider’s expert eye can spot an issue you never even thought of. They can give you a suggestion or an idea you never would have come up with. This is all incredibly valuable information.
And finally, these people will not steal your product. Okay, to be fair to statistics and probability and all that jazz, yes there is a chance that one of these people might try to steal one of the thousands of Kickstarter products that are launched each month. But the reality is, 99.9% of those people won’t have the drive to create the product like you have. They won’t have the desire or time to set up manufacturers, get patents, create prototypes, invest in photography and video resources for the Kickstarter, this list goes on and on (as you well know by now).
The point I’m getting at here is that if someone had the drive, creativity, and resources that you’ve marshalled to create your product, they would have done so already. So your product is safe from theft. And more importantly, it should be validated before it hits the market. As an added bonus, when it does hit the crowdfunding market, you can go back to some of those groups and let them know it’s available. Nothing like building your fan base and doing some prelaunch selling efforts while validating your product at the same time, right?
So get out there, get your product out there, get that validation and get ready to rock your first ever Kickstarter. You know that product, now go make it great!