Today's Woman to Watch is the founder and CEO of Modern Sprout, Sarah Burrows! Here, she debunks five of the biggest myths about crowdfunding.
Someone will steal my idea. I need a patent first.
In general, the mentality of thinking everyone you tell is going to take your idea and turn it into a full-blown business is irrational. I say that with confidence now, but before launching Modern Sprout, I was leery of sharing too much. Starting a successful company is so incredibly hard, and 99 percent of people aren’t willing to commit the necessary time, effort or capital and can’t stomach the risk. You need to tell people your idea because you need to get their feedback, get connected to someone they know or get advise based on their area of expertise. Most people will have something to offer that will help advance you forward.
If you build it, they will come.
Due to the low barrier to entry, crowdfunding sites are oversaturated, and mostly with mediocre campaigns. Even with a strong campaign, it’s hard to stand out. You’ll need to drum up interest through social media, by pitching press, investing in advertising, forging strategic partnerships, etc. We created flyers with free seed packets and placed them in more than 50 coffee shops around Chicago, and we had a few backers reference them. If you don’t have marketing experience, find a boutique agency and hire them. Marketing is arguably the most important factor to running a successful campaign. (Disclaimer: As a former marketing professional, I might be bias).
You need to have a huge social-media network.
You don’t. We didn’t. I could hardly stand to look at Facebook when we launched our campaign. You do have to put yourself out there, and you will have to engage your family and friends (which was probably the hardest part for me). We sent emails to our personal and professional contacts and asked them to help drive awareness throughout our campaign. We made it easy for people to help us by providing bulleted emails with preformatted images, copy points and relevant links.
You need to have the perfect product first.
I think some of the best entrepreneurial advice is to fail fast. It’s not realistic to have everything perfectly in place before you launch; your product will inevitably evolve and you should be prepared to pivot if need be. Unlike securing capital through traditional channels such as loans or investors, the beauty of crowdfunding is that you really just need a solid idea and killer marketing.
You have to spend a lot of time building a strategy.
You don’t because you don’t need to start from scratch. There’s a ton of advice available online and even step-by-step crowdfunding hacks. Google it!
To access your special On The Dot discounted rate of 10 percent off on Modern Sprout’s fabulous offerings through June 28, 2018, use this code, ONTHEDOT2018, upon checkout on the Modern Sprout website, www.ModSprout.com.