Bristol is not short of entrepreneurs looking for funding but often access to capital investment can be a challenge. Crowdfunding can certainly be an effective way to secure investment but also test the market potential of your product, service or initiative.

We invited Oliver Mochizuki, CEO of crowding funding and business finance platform Fundsurfer and Chairman of the global investment program run by the Diplomatic Council to share his thoughts on ‘How to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign’ …

People won’t invest in a bad business idea, so you need to do your homework. Preparing a viable business case and knowing your numbers is critical before launching even the most creative campaign. Preparation will help you scope out how much you’re looking for, what you’re prepared to give away, timings and what you plan to do with funds raised.

Once that’s in place, then you can start to build up your crowdfunding campaign and this should look to include the following:

  1. Develop your story – people will want to know about who, what, why and how. It helps to break this narrative down into specific areas, including setting the scene (an explanation of the problem), why your project helpsor fixes the problem, what your credentials are to make it happen and how the money will be spent. This preparation will help you create your story and importantly stand out from the crowd and attract attention
  1. Choose a good project name. Keep it short but descriptive (it’ll be used across social media platforms). Think about how you could use a hashtag once you go live
  1. Set your funding goal – ask yourself how much do you really need to fulfill your project? How much will it cost to fulfill your rewards? Understanding how big your existing community is will give you an indication to what you need in place
  1. Campaign duration – at Fundsurfer we suggest 30 to 45 days for Fixed projects
  1. Choose a funding model – not all crowdfunding platforms are flexible, so you need to choose one that suits your needs. This could be a Fixed (only taking funds if you hit the funding target) or Flexible (take everything you raise)
  1. Build your fan base – think about your existing networks (friends, family, colleagues, groups) and start planting the seed with them ahead of the campaign launch and request for funds. Then, start thinking about how your campaign can appeal to everyone else and start creating an email list of all your contacts. Think about how you can build gratitude through rewards. Put in place social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
  1. Choosing rewards – list four to eight rewards that you could offer. Take a look at other campaigns to see what their most popular rewards are. Could you take inspiration from this? Digital rewards are cheaper than physical ones. Try to make them unique and personal (rather than generic)
  1. Media & influencer contacts – one of the areas that often gets overlooked by crowdfunding campaigns is PR. You’ll need to get noticed and that’s something that doesn’t just happen when your campaign goes live. Good PR is critical to a successful campaign so make time to build up journalist contacts, bloggersand engage influencers and useful networks who can share news of your campaign. Also you’ll need to prepare a newsworthy press release about your story and your campaign quest to share
  1. Pictures – presenting your campaign through quality, compelling images is as important as the wording you use. So, make sure you have a good selection of images that you can use on your campaign page, social media and email activity
  2. Videos – taking time to plan your video in advance will save you time in the long run. Videos are an important part of a crowdfunding campaign and can be shared with all your target audiences. Keep it short, make it clear rather than being overly clever and remember to show yourself. People will want to know who they’re investing in

Putting in place some of these Top 10 tips for launching a successful crowdfunding campaign will certainly help get your business or project in the right place to go live. Then, extensive support should be given while the project is active such as regular emails to your database, posts to social media, stories to local media and updates on your website platform. And, of course follow up once the project has finished funding as you might be looking to run another fund raising campaign in the future!

Fundsurfer is one of the leading crowdfunding and commercial funding platforms, providing crowdfunding and access to a range of funding options for projects and companies worldwide.