Kickstarter is a rather revolutionary online service that has ‘kicked off’ in a big way over the last year or so. The basic idea behind this service is to enable people to ‘crowdsource’ funding meaning that they can rely on the helpful denizens of the internet in order to raise their money.
In other words then, if you have a brilliant idea for an invention that no one has come up with before, then normally you’ll need some funding in order to get that idea off the ground and up and running. From here you will then normally go ahead and look around for investment from a bank, from an angel or by forming a public company. With Kickstarter however you can simply show off your idea online and then hope that people will get behind it and hope that enough people are interested and offer you funding. In short then, you are asking not one person or organization for a thousand dollars, but instead several hundred individuals for just a couple of dollars in order to see your project become a reality.
Of course though not any old lame idea is going to get funding on Kickstarter, and even some of the very cool ones can sometimes struggle to get backing. The point here is that you need to give the users of Kickstarter an incentive to pledge and to want to help you. In some rare cases if your creation is amazing enough then you might find that people are willing to help fund the project just simply to ensure that it becomes a reality. In other cases though, that’s not going to be enough and they’ll want some more concrete reward for their input.
To this end, most listings on Kickstarter will have a hierarchy of rewards for people who pledge certain amounts – to ensure that they encourage people to invest more but still have an option for those who don’t want to break the bank.
The incentives that these projects offer then can include the following:
Discounted Product: For someone who is interested in buying your product when it’s finished, then paying two dollars toward the construction in order to get a $10 discount later down the line is a good investment and a tempting offer.
Free Products: Of course though for someone willing to pledge the cost of the product or more even, getting one or more free copies of your product or free entry to your event etc. is another good reason to get involved.
Credit: People are innately vein, and love seeing their name in lights. As such then the promise of being in the end credits of a small film or game, or being mentioned at the start of a book or in the ‘special thanks’ in an instruction manual can be enough incentive to get involved.
Tribute: Or even better, imagine that you help to fund a small film production and as a result don’t just get named in the film but in get to name one of the characters, or even get your own name into the film. This can be such a buzz for some people that they’ll be willing to spend large amounts of money.
Involvement: Of course the next step up from that is for the person to actually be involved in the creation. A film or game lends itself perfectly to this kind of incentive because you can get the person to cameo or include their likeness. For a product or gadget though you could give them the opportunity to help decide on the colour scheme or to make a request for a feature. If you can somehow involve them in the creation then they will feel like they’re a part of the proceedings and they’ll probably help to promote the product after launch too.
Profits: This is the final and most obvious incentive – if you are willing to give up a percentage of the profits then of course this then offers a business opportunity for people online who fancy themselves as Dragons and this can get you a large contribution if they believe in your idea.
About the author: Sara Brown is a sucessful business author and contributes numerous articles on manufacturing ideas for small businesses. She provides some of the most interesting facts about manufacturing products on the mentioned website contract manufacturing bay area.