Brightpearl customer, Roccbox, had incredible success in raising money for their retail business through crowdfunding so we asked them to share their advice and crowdfunding checklist.
When we were ready to bring Roccbox to market, we were in a position that many young businesses find themselves in; we had a product that was ready for market without the capital to fund our first productions. Whilst looking at various solutions, crowdfunding kept entering the conversation and we quickly realised that this was the best option for us. It allowed us to raise the funds we needed much faster than traditional methods would allow and gave us an opportunity to reward those who had followed Roccbox’s development, patiently waiting for us to bring it to market.
A phenomenon in recent years, crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of individuals who share an interest in the project whom in return are rewarded,should the campaign be successful. In our case, we offered Roccbox itself as the reward, with a discount to the RRP applied. The contribution is then invested into the business and for us, kickstarted the production of Roccbox.
Roccbox is a portable wood and gas fired stone floor oven that was designed by our founder and CEO, Tom Gozney. Tom already owns and runs ‘The Stone Bake Oven Company’ and ‘Gozney Ovens’, providing high quality pizza ovens for domestic and commercial use. However, he identified a gap in the market for those instances where a full sized, built in pizza oven is not financially or physically viable. Being available at an affordable price and weighing in at just 20 kg Roccbox can be put in the back of your car and used almost anywhere.
We decided to use Indiegogo for our campaign and had two main reasons for doing so – the support they were willing to give us and the funding structure they provided. We were fortunate enough to have some of Indiegogo’s team both in the UK & the USA mentor our campaign before we launched, giving us advice on the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, regularly reviewing the project and generally keeping us on track to launch.
In our experience, the key to a successful crowdfunding campaign is the combination of an engaging campaign page, a strong social marketing plan and a sensible target. Our crowdfunding advice would be to give yourself as much time as is practicable to prepare your campaign page, it’s purpose is to engage your audience and essentially convince them to want to support your project. We utilized absolutely every resource and skill we had within the Roccbox team to create a campaign page that was the very best it could be on little to no budget. It was extremely hard work so be prepared to work long days and nights in the run up to your campaign launch but the reward is worth all the blood, sweat and tears!
A willingness to voluntarily contribute any amount of money to a venture with an inherent risk doesn’t come easily and your potential backers need to believe in your project and your vision. Everyone knows the power of social media in today’s society and how you use it could make or break your campaign. If, throughout the development of your project, you’ve had a presence on social media and have gained some followers, or even some non-monetary pre-orders, make sure you share your crowdfunding plans with them by posting regular (but not too frequent!) updates as you get closer to launch, encouraging them to share and shout about your project. They will become the ambassadors of your project and are invaluable. More traditional means of getting the word out can also get you great exposure. We distributed press releases, contacted local press and worked with a PR agency on a short term basis with the very small budget we had to get the word out there.
Finally, we gave careful consideration to our retail crowdfunding goal. Having too little a goal might not be interesting to potential backers whereas too high a goal could be seen as unachievable, meaning potential contributors won’t have confidence in your success.
In the end, we aimed to raise $100,000 in 30 days. We hit this goal in less than 9 hours, made $430,000 within the first 72 hours and went on to hit the $1,000,000 mark just before the 30 day mark.
If you’re looking to raise money for your business, check out this retail crowdfunding checklist below which is full of great advice to help you create a successful campaign!