Crowdfunding has been a topic of interest for quite some time now as it has allowed thousands of small businesses and individuals to gather the capital they need to fund their growth, idea or product/service development. That being said, the landscape of crowdfunding is quickly changing. New crowdfunding platforms are entering the market to fulfil the demands of various niche and industry-specific groups.
With ample opportunity to create the next great crowdfunding software, there remains one question: how do you get in the game now before it’s too late? And what are the steps to build, scale and start your own crowdfunding platform?
1. Create an Implementation Strategy
One of the best practices for building your own crowdfunding platform is to create a structured plan for its implementation. This will help you set goals and stick to them. Use the information you already have in place (e.g. your buyer persona) to establish what is necessary for your site to offer a fulfilling user experience for your target audience. This will produce the best conversion results.
2. Partner with a reputable vendor
Whether you want to build your own crowdfunding platform from scratch or use turnkey crowdfunding software and solutions – a partner who knows his craft is essential. Be sure to compare the basic benefits and drawbacks of each crowdfunding software available to make an informed decision about what would work best for your business model. It is far easier and efficient to create your own crowdfunding platform with a white-label solution than to run a custom software development team.
3. Consider the legal and regulatory implications
Because of the nature of crowdfunding platforms, you will need to make sure the platform you are trying to build will be secure and, most importantly, compliant with international KYC and AML standards. One of the main reasons crowdfunding platforms fail is because they fail to seek consultation on issues related to technical security, user experience and legal compliance.
4. Build a team
Crowdfunding requires planning, social media skills, technical skills, networking, and time. While some companies choose to bring fresh talent from outside, others prefer to simply redistribute the roles within the organization. The latter can be done both for financial reasons as well as to maximize efficiency since these people already know your business model inside-out. It’s important to work with a network of stakeholders (management, staff, investors, regulators) to get an objective view of the process you’re looking to implement before you even start to build your own crowdfunding platform. This will give you immediate access to talent, know-how and best practices information in implementing a new technology.
5. Don’t get stuck in development stage
Getting the back-end infrastructure of the crowdfunding software up and running is important, but so are other aspects of the process. For example, you should pay close attention to both reporting analytics and industry trends to make effective decisions. You need to know the wants and needs of your user base. You can take advantage of the services offered by companies like Katipult to gain an understanding about which features will work best for you.
6. Design a marketing campaign
When you’re thinking about how to start a crowdfunding platform it is important to think about the marketing side of things. Spreading the word about new platforms to the target user base and the crowdfunding community as a whole will make or break your project. Most companies have developed their media presence prior to building their crowdfunding platform, but the new campaign should be targeted towards new investor acquisition as well as complementing your offline marketing strategies.
7. Be realistic
As part of the process to create your own crowdfunding platform, you need to have realistic expectations. There is a learning curve and a certain period of trial and error to be expected. Some campaigns will drive significant traffic to your site and others may not perform well.
8. Work with your users
Running a successful crowdfunding platform is all about collaboration – you give people the appropriate investor tools and they, in turn, spread the word about your service. Make sure you offer support and detailed FAQ to assist them with any questions or issues they may have.
9. Brand the right way
Always put time and thought into your branding – it’s what separates you from your competition. You already have a good name, logo, and website design, but it’s a good idea to check every now and then if they are up-to-date and still appeal to your target audience. The moment before you start your own crowdfunding platform is a good time to re-examine your branding and whether it makes sense to launch it under the same or a new brand.
These are just a few tips and best practices to help you start your own crowdfunding platform. It all comes down to creating goals and sticking to them. People who want to build crowdfunding platforms have a passion for their purpose. Now, you just need to communicate this passion to the people who would be willing to invest in your platform. You can achieve this on your own or use the services of a crowdfunding software company like Katipult, which has vast experience in developing crowdfunding websites and platforms.