Kickstarter's mission as a crowd funding platform is to bring creative projects to life. While the business model, which offers rewards to people who back Kickstarter campaigns, has been used for many years, it's become far easier for people to learn about and support these creative projects.
In theory, it sounds fantastic: You have an idea, but don’t have the funds to get started. Most people think that if they just had the money they could take their product to market. Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. Many projects on Kickstarter have received full funding, yet never seen the light of day. This percentage is high, actually.The reality is, it takes more than money to get an idea off the ground. It takes planning, knowledge and experience.
Here are five qualities your business idea or invention needs to successfully launch on Kickstarter and get to market:
1. It is easy to demonstrate. There are so many distractions online. Your idea needs to stand out from the clutter. The best way to do this is to very clearly demonstrate its benefits. People need to get what your project is about quickly or they may lose interest. If your product requires a lot of education, it might not be the best fit for Kickstarter.
You have at most a few minutes of video to explain what it is you want to do, not to mention that you have to get people to be willing to press play on your video in the first place.
2. It offers a solution to a problem many people have experienced. Because Kickstarter is a crowd-funding tool, it will be difficult to attract the funding you need if your product does not relate to consumers on a broad level. Make sure there’s a large market for your idea. Otherwise, Kickstarter might not be the best platform.
3. It is easy to manufacture. This is probably one of the biggest reasons products that are funded never actually get made. It is so important to do your research. Can this product be made? At what price point? Do you know how much money you actually need to raise? All the cash in the world won’t make your product sellable if you can’t manufacture it cheaply.
4. It's a reasonable size. Smaller products cost less to produce and are easier to manage. Inventory and shipping is also much easier. Your first time out the gate, I don’t recommend working with electronics unless that is your background or with a product that has a lot of moving parts. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to have a successful product and Kickstarter campaign.
5. You have a clear business plan. It doesn’t need to be long, but you do need to have one. You need to know what all your expenses will be, your cash flow and your budget. Making enough products to reward the people who donated to your campaign is one thing, but running a business is another. If that’s what you really want, you need to consider how you’re going to do that.
Most people underestimate how much money it’s actually going to take to start a business and get up and running. Do your homework and find a mentor who can help guide you through the process. We all know we can be a bit more reckless when it’s not our own money we’re spending. Be critical about what you really need to get your product off the ground and you'll have a lot more luck on Kickstarter.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.