While working at Starbucks it was obvious to me that, when it came to their product offering, there was a disconnect with customers. Many weren’t “getting it.” I felt that the disconnect could easily be repaired with a book. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that millions of people are crazy about their lattes.
As I explored ways to launch my book project I came across an article that told of an entrepreneur launching their venture with Kickstarter.com. So, I looked into it. What I found was a fantastic concept for garnering pre-sales while allowing your customers to get more involved in your project. The opportunity seemed too good to pass up. I had nothing to lose by giving it a shot. And thus, Inside the Cup: Translating Starbucks into a Drinkable Language was born. Here are the four benefits that I found too enticing:
1. Capital. Kickstarter offers a portal to raise seed money with pre-sales. That means you’ll need a smaller loan if you’re financing with debt or less investment capital if you’re financing with equity. In my case, like most ventures on Kickstarter, I’m simply trying to finance with only pre-sales.
2. Customer Involvement. It gives friends, family, and anyone who is crazy about your concept an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way. Not only do they get to donate to your project financially but they get in on the ground floor and get a unique reward for helping you in the process.
3. Marketing. It’s just one more place to start spreading the word about your product or service. This was the reason that I couldn’t pass it up. Especially without any upfront costs? Why wouldn’t I jump at that? What did I have to lose?
4. Test Offering. It provides a good platform to begin testing your offering. Your project will certainly need some tweaks before you crank your marketing engine into full gear. Soliciting pledges with pre-sales is a good way to do that. It’s a soft launch of sorts for your product and website. It’s also a nice way to test some of your marketing plans on a smaller scale before committing large amounts of money to particular avenues. This might be the most valuable benefit of using Kickstarter.
All in all, I’ve had a very positive experience with Kickstarter. It’s useful for different objectives, not just for raising capital.