Image Source: Yanko Design
Crowdfunding (i.e. funding a project/venture by raising money from people on the Internet) is one of the fastest growing ways for entrepreneurs to finance their fledgling companies, projects or dreams. How does it work? Just ask Alan Tran, co-founder of FLUXMOB, a revolutionary portable phone charger. Alan gave me the inside scoop on how his online business success is partly due to his success with crowdfunding.
From a young age, Alan had an entrepreneurial spirit and contributed to the family business, an auto body repair shop. He washed cars, prepared estimates, helped with repairs and did just about every car job imaginable. He also worked in his uncle’s import and export business – working in the warehouse. These early lessons in entrepreneurship, prepared Alan for his later success as an online retailer.
Below are three ecommerce best practices for other online retailers, based on Alan’s personal experience with FLUXMOB.
1. If You’re Going to Crowdfund, Do It Right
To get funding for FLUXMOB, Alan ran a very successful crowdfunding campaign. How successful? FLUXMOB was 205 percent funded in 10 days.
What’s the secret to his success? Alan and his team did a lot of research before starting their campaign: They learned all they could about how to best raise money via crowdfunding, and they took the time to build a very big list of crowdfunding supporters.
They reached out to everyone they knew – including family, friends and everyone in between. Once they began outreach, the list of contacts grew organically through word of mouth. Popular blogs also picked up on Alan’s Kickstarter campaign which further gave it visibility. The campaign even received a boost by Kickstarter. All of these things helped FLUXMOB reach a large number of people to fund his venture.
Alan explained to me that it’s also important to communicate to your campaign supporters. He ensured that campaign funders knew what to expect and when to expect it. People don’t often get angry about details or challenges, but when businesses fail to communicate or set expectations, that’s when folks get upset.
2. Cultivate Your Relationships With Manufacturing Partners
A manufacturing partner is so important, which is why Alan went to China to visit the manufacturer of FLUXMOB. When working with a partner, especially one in a different country, with a different language and culture, it’s important to get to know them as best you can. To ensure successful manufacturing, Alan spoke to the manufacturer daily – communication is critical.
After the campaign was over, Alan had to create the product and work hard to sell more of his chargers beyond the campaign.
3. Beyond Crowdfunding: Boosting Sales via Online Marketplaces
One solution Alan found to boost sales even more was selling on eBay.
Alan explained that eBay is not just a platform for old collectors’ items, but a powerful partner for innovators and entrepreneurs. EBay’s Innovator’s Collective page features sleek and modern gadgets from successful crowdfunding campaigns. This resource further helped FLUXMOB boost sales and keep their momentum. FLUXMOB was so successful, that in the first day of being on the eBay Innovators Collective page, the company sold 500 units.
Selling online is not easy – it takes orchestrating many moving parts – shipping, customer service, manufacturing, marketing and sales. Thankfully, there are many tools and services available that allow businesses to get off the ground. Crowdfunding is just one of them.