“If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.” Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram

Now that you have your million dollar idea (fingers crossed), it’s time to begin preparation. Starting a new project can seem daunting, and turning an idea into a reality is no easy task. The key to a successful crowdfunding campaign is to prepare for what is to come, one step at a time.

Step 1: Solidify your story- Crowdfunding supporters aren’t simply supporting a product, they are supporting a project, a person, a STORY. Before you throw your project out into the crowdfunding world, it is crucial that you know what you and your project stand for and that you are prepared to share that story creatively and concisely. In order for backers to invest in your project they must feel invested in the process, and THAT is where your story comes in. Your project is a lot more than “the World’s first” this or “your new favorite” that, it is a lot of long nights, “no’s”, drafts and more often than we like to admit, tears, all wrapped up into a simple, or not so simple, product. Use your story to explain what your project means to you, in hopes that it will in turn mean something more to potential backers.

Step 2: Decide your crowdfunding platform- There are a handful of crowdfunding sites available to host your project, and “eenie, meenie, miny, moe” is not the way to choose one. When choosing the platform that best coincides with your project there are a few things to take into consideration. Keep in mind your funding goal, target audience, project location, initial following, perks/rewards, and project timeline, to name a few. The platform that hosts your project should not be a spur of the moment decision, it should be a well-researched answer to the question: Which platform will enhance, not inhibit, my project?

Step 3: Research- Running a successful crowdfunding campaign is no cakewalk, it takes hard work, dedication and research. As the creator of a crowdfunding project, it is your job to research EVERYTHING; bloggers in your product field, social media influencers, relevant websites/forums, local papers or news outlets, and the successes and failures of similar projects. The best time to find all of the answers is during the preparation/pre-launch period. What good are your findings during launch if it is too late to implement them? Do the research now in order to ensure your project runs smoothly when it really counts.

Step 4: Ask for help- You cannot do this alone, it is called crowdfunding after all! Do you have a friend? Family? Coworkers? A spotter at the gym? A favorite hair dresser? Reach out to all of them, and think of these people as built in brand ambassadors. By reaching out to your friends, family and personal/social network you are able to gain valuable insight before your campaign even goes live! There is no reason you have to wait until launch day to learn that a similar product already exists, or that your project is not one that your close friends and family feel comfortable investing in, let alone the public. Keep in mind, crowdfunding campaigns receive 20-50% of funding from friends and family. It might be time to call that great aunt you haven’t talked to since Thanksgiving 2011…

Step 5: Create an online presence- Everyone is on social media these days and your crowdfunding project should be no exception. Social media is crucial as you prepare for launch. By creating social media accounts for your project you are exposing your idea to an audience that extends far beyond the typical crowdfunding community. Social media also gives you the opportunity to easily and organically interact with your target audience without coming across as intrusive or sales-y. It has never been easier to answer product questions or concerns while simultaneously establishing a brand and voice for your product, than it is now. Ultimately, social media is the perfect place to tie together steps 1, 2, 3, and 4. Share your story, reveal your crowdfunding platform, divulge your research findings, and acknowledge your support system all in one place.

Whether you’re just beginning the brainstorming phase or you’re ready to launch your own crowdfunding project, Command Partners would love to help make your crowdfunding campaign a success.