For most Kickstarter campaign creators, crowdfunding and creating projects are the first real foray they have had into running their own business. Most masterful innovators aren’t already accomplished entrepreneurs but rather employed engineers, designers, makers and men and women of creativity, not commerce.
This puts people in a pickle if and when they decide to go to Kickstarter. The unfamiliarity with pitching products, marketing to media and planning manufacturing is plenty tough on even the experienced product creator. Add to that all the other untold stresses of running a profitable project and it gets pretty overwhelming for any aspiring startup.
The Dark Side of Success
There is a another, more glaringly obvious yet all too often avoided angst brought to Kickstarter campaigners that they never prepare for…success. Creating an explosively killer campaign that’s quickly raising big bucks is inspiring, it’s exciting and it draws important attention at an unwanted time.
Through interviewing loads of successful startup founders I have heard plenty a tale of crowdfunding craziness. From Shark Tank calling and seeking a setup to big big brands voicing their interest there is so much excitement in running wild. And this is great. It is amazing in fact.
But it is also not. Now is not the time to get caught up in the hype. TV shows, licensing deals and possible acquisitions are pretty carrots that if not carefully prepared for, can lead you down a dangerous path. You worked for months making your campaign just right, finally ready to launch with your shot to shine. Don’t let unexpected success derail your train.
Do or Do Not, There is No Try
The more you divert your attention the more arduous your journey becomes. Have you ever tried juggling? It is mighty hard. Multi-tasking, switching focus and doing diverse thinking at once is not what are brains were wired for.
The primary reason the big boys reached out is your outstanding Kickstarter success. Ironically enough focusing on the alluring offers only distracts and dampens the power of your campaign. You need to keep pitching. You need to keep trying.
It seems in business and in life it takes a great deal of seemingly meaningless effort in order to finally build momentum. Traction is a terribly difficult thing to create. As you build up the reservoir of success however it is important to ride the resulting wave as high as you can. You have fed the flame, now keep the fire burning bright.
The larger your campaign grows and the more outlandishly you obliterate goals the more press and success your campaign will receive. People love to root for the winning team and joining your mission, even after successfully funding feels exciting. Take advantage of this now. There will never be another moment so amazing so fight for it with everything you’ve got.
Don’t Burn Bridges
Business is built almost entirely upon relationships. Often who you know trumps even what you know. During these times when distributors, producers and even major brands like Apple, Sony and Nike are calling it is oh so important to be respectful. Now might not be the best time, they might try to bully you into deals or intimidate a small startup but telling them to shove it rarely helps.
Instead make sure you catalog the all-important contact information. You will need these individuals in the future. Now may not be ideal time to pursue a painfully long and less than rewarding merger but later on selling your business may well be in your best interest.
Plus with potential distributors the more the merrier is a typical adage entrepreneurs express. By keeping up with possible partners, post-Kickstarter growth is all the easier and allows you to pit prospects against each other to uncover the best deals. Rolodex for a reason.
Better With Age
As your campaign grows so too will the excitement surrounding your startup. From backers to businessmen, reporters to ruthless VC’s everybody loves seeing the little guy succeed. Inevitably too all your old suitors will still be there at the end with a burgeoning pool of new talent interested in getting in on the action.
Your startup, once the pretty eyed girl with the secret admirer suddenly becomes the sought after prom queen every enterprise would cherish a dance with. This is what we like to call a win-win scenario. By focusing wholeheartedly on the campaign and fighting for the here and now you can win in the short and the long term.
Remember this when the Hollywood hails you as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Their goal is only attention, excitement and eyeballs while you truly desire to create something great. Don’t let the praise go to your head and just as importantly stay focused on the mission at hand. Who says now or never?
There are times when throwing caution to the winds and abandoning a successful Kickstarter campaign make perfect sense. Like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates building epic businesses and dropping out of college they are very few and far between so we won’t worry about them.
For most inventors out there maximizing the success and strength of your Kickstarter campaign is paramount to pushing your company forward. More pre-sales whether looking for additional angel funding, bringing on team members or making a killer commerce strategy are always appreciated so standing strong and eeking out every purchase possible is pretty darn powerful during your campaign. More backers, more exposure and a great in-roads into industry will all help hurdle your company over the slippery slopes all startups begin on.
So moral of the story…don’t get distracted during your campaign. Outside forces do not have your best interests at heart so keep executing on your Kickstarter strategy. It is the best way to succeed(need help planning a campaign strategy?).
Thoughts? How many of you have got pitched by big shots as a result of your campaign coverage and success?