Got a great idea bubbling away in your head but no money to take the plunge and get it off the ground? Well then, you need to take a look at Kickstarter.
One of the biggest and most well-known crowd-funding websites, Kickstarter has been responsible for 30,000 projects across America receiving the money they need to get started. They’ve raised more than $350 million so far.
And it has now opened up to those living in the UK, giving Brits the ability to write a brief pitch about their idea and put it out there onto the internet for anyone to invest in or contribute to.
Those providing cash can’t expect a financial return on the investment. That is not allowed on Kickstarter although some crowd-funding websites do run in this way.
Instead you must offer the likes of free goodies or an early look at newly-released products they’ve paid for.
But some people will donate just to feel warm and fuzzy in the knowledge they’ve supported an idea or project they believe will do some good.
So as Kickstarter launches in the UK, here are 10 things you need to know about it.
Find local projects
There is no specific UK Kickstarter site. Instead all the projects for this country can be found mixed among the main website.
However, you can search via city if you want to see what’s happening around your own area. Just type it into the search box and see what comes up.
Seek funding worldwide
Anyone around the world can pledge money towards UK-based projects and ideas.
So if you’re thinking about launching a page on the site, it could be worth considering a way to make them appealing to those not living on these shores in order to raise your funding level faster.
Kickstarter allows projects to fall within a series of creative categories – Art, Comics, Dance, Design, Fashion, Film, Food, Games, Music, Photography, Publishing, Technology and Theatre. And it has to be a “project” with a clear goal and outcome. You can find out more about what is allowed and what isn’t here.
Have realistic expectations
Raising money is not easy. You obviously need an idea that will appeal to people, enough to make them take a risk and part with their hard-earned cash. But to make things a little less risky, you only get the money if all the funding you ask for is raised. So when setting your financial goal, be realistic.
Less than half of all Kickstarter projects achieve full funding so it will be tough, but it can be done.
No support, No money
You don’t pay anything to Kickstarter unless your project is funded successfully. If it does achieve full funds, then you give them five per cent of the amount raised as a fee.
It could be more attractive than giving away half of your business to an investor Dragon’s Den-style. There are also pledge payment processing fees to be taken into account too, which will also eat in to the total amount you raise.
Offer a great offer
Think carefully about the offers you will be giving back to the community who fund you.
It could be as simple as a special T-shirt marking their backing or a limited-edition product. The better the offer, the more likely you are to receive investment but always ensure you can see the promises you make through.
Use your backers for moral support
Having funding from a group of people who really care about your idea is also a massive bonus in the long-run.
Straight away you have a core of potential customers who will talk about your idea and do word-of-mouth marketing for you for free. So creating an idea that appeals to a niche group of people is just as good, if not better, than one that tries to catch all and appeal to everyone.
British projects are live
Already dozens of eager British inventors and those hoping to bring their idea into reality can be found on Kickstarter.
The site had let those from the UK build their pitch pages ready and today (October 31) they went live. Many are already attracting funding too, which just goes to show there’s an appetite for crowd-funding among UK consumers.
All UK-based projects are listed in pounds sterling.
Be social and spread the word
When it comes to raising support for your Kickstarter project, social media is your best friend. Using Twitter and Facebook to attract potential investors is one of the quickest ways possible to spread the word.
But as Kickstarter advises, ‘Do not spam’, because all you’ll do is turn people against you and turn people against the idea of crowd-funding too.
If you can’t have fun with your business and ideas then what’s the point. If at first you don’t succeed with an idea and it doesn’t reach funding, then you can always try again another time.
Just remember though, you are legally obliged to see your project/idea through if you raise the required funding.
And if you’re looking to back a project or idea on Kickstarter, then remember that you cannot get a refund directly from the website.
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