A Guided Tour of Our Creator Guide, #1: The Quick Start Guide

We’re going to dust off our blog (sorry, it’s been a busy summer) with a new series featuring content excerpted from our Creator Guide. It’s a guide to how things work at Crowd Supply that we’ve been working on and adding to for the last year or so. There’s an awful lot of stuff in there now, so we thought sharing some highlights from the Guide here in the blog might prove helpful.

To kick the series off, we’re going to start with a look at the Quick Start Guide (QSG). If you’re a creator with a great project you want to bring to the world, and you want a brief overview of how Crowd Supply can make that happen, you’ll want to start with the QSG. Similarly, if you want to know what a creator has to go through before they can launch the awesome hardware you want to support, scan through the QSG. You might be surprised at how much effort is required before that box full of shiny new hotness shows up in your mailbox.

The excerpt below shows all the steps needed before a campaign can even launch. If you want to see the whole story, including the tasks needed during and after a campaign, take a look at the Quick Start page in the Creator Guide.

Before Your Campaign Starts
  1. Get in touch. It’s never too early to talk to us about your project and get feedback on your plans. We have years of engineering and product experience, which we’ll use to help you avoid early and costly mistakes. Start by filling out our project submission form. We accept projects from creators anywhere in the world.

  2. Create a “Coming Soon” page. This is a pre-launch page on Crowd Supply’s site used to build excitement and collect email sign-ups for the upcoming campaign. The pre-launch page will turn into your campaign page when your campaign launches. Check out some the projects launching soon at Crowd Supply.

  3. Develop a manufacturing plan. If you haven’t already, develop your testing and manufacturing plan. Your suppliers, manufacturers, and collaborators should be lined up well ahead of launch, along with a functioning prototype. Our Provider Directory is a good place to start. Reach out to others who are building similar products.

  4. Set your funding goal. You need to set a pragmatic goal that covers everything you will need to deliver your product to your campaign backers.

  5. Develop your marketing plan. Your public relations and marketing plan can include reaching out to media outlets with a press kit, engaging reviewers and other influencers with your product, and activating your own network.

  6. Develop a backer communication plan. Determine how often you will communicate with your backers, and what content and milestones you will share. You may wish to work with a professional writer if you don’t have these skills yourself. Crowd Supply can provide some editorial assistance.

  7. Create a project timeline. Note significant dates, past and future. At minimum you should include:

    • Estimated start and end dates of your campaign
    • Date of first prototype or other product development milestones
    • Start date of first manufacturing run
    • Ship date of the first unit off the production line
    • Ship date of the last unit off the production line
  8. Develop a fulfillment plan. Determine how you will physically get your finished product to your eager backers. You can use Crowd Supply’s fulfillment services, a third-party fulfillment provider, or do it yourself. Don’t forget to account for things like packaging, documentation, and other collateral you’ll be including with orders.

  9. Create a campaign page. Crowd Supply will take care of building and hosting the page, but you’ll need to provide the content that helps potential and current backers learn about, pledge to, and stay up-to-date with your project. There’s a detailed checklist of all the content we’ll need from you to assemble the campaign page.

  10. Build your team. Larger (but not too large) teams generally see greater success than solo efforts. With multiple members you can better build a team around individual strengths.

And that's "all" there is to it. If nothing else, you can certainly see that doing running a campaign the right way is a non-trivial task. Stay tuned to the blog as we explore more parts of the Guide and, soon, share some exciting changes and additions.