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Crowdfunding Can Help You Sell a New Product or Idea

Crowdfunding Can Help You Sell a New Product or Idea

Published: August 11, 2011

<p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.6272402780016461" style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Over the last year, I have watched various funding tools grow in usefulness and popularity. One in particular, Kickstarter, has caught the attention of many companies, new and old. It is an alternative way to get a project or product funded, by way of a hot new trend called crowdfunding. In my mind, this is a creative way to sell -- for the right products or services.</span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Like crowdsourcing -- turning your idea over to a group of people to make minor and major improvements to it -- crowdfunding is about getting individuals to make small and large financial contributions to your idea, &nbsp;&nbsp;your product, or your invention. </span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">While the phenomenon is not new, it is still not a mainstream concept and therein lies it beauty. &nbsp;You can still take your idea for a book, a CD recording, an art project, a consumer product or just about anything to one of these crowdfunding sites and have a chance at getting your concept funded and off the ground. If you&rsquo;re trying to sell a new concept, you could take it direct to an audience that might give you feedback and, essentially, order the product before you make it. </span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Three things to consider for taking your project to the crowdfunding street:</span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">1. &nbsp;Could you test a new idea or product by asking a small group to help fund it. &nbsp;But you have to be able to complete the whatever-it-is because the nature of crowdfunding demands completion.</span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">2. &nbsp;Do you have an audience? If you have a Twitter following or a Facebook fan page already going, or better yet, an email list, then you can potentially jumpstart a crowdfunding project and keep the momentum going (the hardest part).</span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">3. &nbsp;Have you really crunched all the costs? &nbsp;Do you know how much it will cost to make this new gadget or CD or book? Make sure, per point number two, that you can deliver. </span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Crowdfunding isn&rsquo;t a new sales channel, but it can certainly help you test a new idea or product in a short amount of time. &nbsp;You&rsquo;ll still have to &ldquo;sell&rdquo; the idea to this crowdfunding audience, however, most of the people who participate understand that they are helping someone else achieve their dreams. </span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:bold;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">Online Resources to Check Out:</span><br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">If you want to check out a recent Kickstarter project for a new book project that I backed: <span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></span><em><a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/705402671/the-age-of-the-platform-my... target="_blank"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: bold; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">The Age of the Platform </span></a></em><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;"><span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span _fck_bookmark="1" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>by Phil Simon. I was impressed with Phil&rsquo;s previous work </span><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:italic;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">The New Small </span><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">that when I heard about his new book going live on Kickstarter, I contributed. Once there, you can search for other projects and categories that interest you and hopefully will get your creative juices flowing for your own project! </span><br /> <br /> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">For a large list of other crowdfunding type sites, visit this <a href="http://crowdfunding.pbworks.com/w/page/10402176/Crowdfunding " target="_blank">PBwiki page</a> by Michael Sullivan.</span><a href="http://crowdfunding.pbworks.com/w/page/10402176/Crowdfunding"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000099;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:underline;vertical-align:baseline;"> </span></a><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;">This is one of the best resources/lists I&rsquo;ve seen for this burgeoning market. &nbsp;You can also visit an open group on Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/groups/80994042791/" target="_blank">here</a>.</span><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Arial;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:normal;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;"> Last, I would add this great new site for inventor types -- <a href="http://www.quirky.com" target="_blank">Quirky</a>. </span></p>

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