CrowdFundingPlanning
  SMBs, Startups, Entrepreneurs and Investors
Your Complete Solution for CrowdFunding


FAQ

Why did you develop Crowdfundingplanning.com

If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door”. Like you, we had and have many good ideas and needed to know are they practical ($) or useful for humanity?

We looked for twenty years to find the best practices, the road map and the recipe. We documented our process and with the help of Google apps and its business solution (Google collaborative applications), we organized and digitized our research an Intranet website. Then we made the "door " with fabric of  Search, imagination, effort, risk and Google (innovation is built in Google DNA)

We also made it to be "Wiki" style since we believe on expert sourcing and the power of the "crowd" using internet network (or " the cloud").   

We believe "open systems " crowdsourcing  and cloud-sourcing  will allow innovations to get to a higher level and to reality.  We  invite you to join our membership and collaborate with us to add more relative updated  content  and collective of our experiences and knowledge   to make Crowdfundingplanning.com to be the  "door" that opens up  and leads SMBs, Entrepreneurs and Startups to  success and prosperity.

Why do I need to prepare for Crowdfunding now ?


When we look at successful individuals, or companies that achieve market share beyond their initial dreams and plans,  you can quickly see that Timing is Everything. This is even more true about CrowdFunding.

CrowdFunding is an avenue for entrepreneurs,  startups and SMBs to solicit Working Capital from non-accredited investors. The CrowdFunding provisions of the JOBS Act (H.R. 3606 Jump Start Our Business Startups Act) allows companies to raise up to $1 million in capital per year via crowdfunding platforms from individual investors without the requirements to registering with the  SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission ).  Many investors will come from, family, friends ,Venture  capitalistss,  Entrepreneurs’ preexisting networks, mentors, andf former colleagues.

Clearly, There are many unknowns as the SEC completes the development of the functional details and related regulations of CrowdFunding Platforms by January 2013.  

However, there are many steps that small businesses can take to get ready. You need 3 to 6 months ahead of Crowdfunding campaign to:

  1. Build and develop your business concept and your " business plan "
  2. Build your virtual office, communication and collaboration suite in the cloud (web 2.0) 
  3. Start building the "Crowd" as early as possible for your "crowd" funding campaign. As you see Crowd comes first before funding.
  4. Protect your idea while your project is posted in Crowdfunding campaign for all the world to see One answer might be  “File a provisional patent application" as soon as possible.


Why do I need to plan my Crowdfunding now?

As an entrepreneur, startup and SMB, you have a specific goal. and " A CROWDFUNDING  WITHOUT PLAN IS JUST A WISH ". 


What happens if I try and fail in my first Crowdfunding campaign ? 

Crowdfundingplanning brings SMBs, Start- ups and entrepreneurs more than money! “We've learned that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.”

SMBs, Start- ups and entrepreneurs (fastest growing category) can use Crowdfundingplanning.com to  get some valuable insight about how to promote and run their businesses. By going through the steps, videos, and work sheets. Communicating and collaborating with our experts , You can;


  • Get proof of concept and receive Idea validation 
  • Learn what potential customers really think 
  • Get valuable lessons in sales and marketing 
  • Know the size of your costumer base 
  • Get organized early on 
  • Learn how to protect your idea 
  • Learn how to "Crowdsource" resource needed to develop your idea cost efficiently. 
  • Learn how to build "your network" / "crowd "(your main asset) 
  • Access to network of professional services experts. 
  • Access to network of professional CF consultants. 
  • Get ideas for future projects. 
  • Learn Google apps and build your own virtual office in the cloud. 
  • Learn how to leverage with Google business solutions (new paradigm, competitive advantage). 
  • Get level playing field to compete with large enterprises and well funded idea and competitions 
  • Learn business intelligence, data mining and competition analysis. 
  • Learn web and content development.
  • Learn SEO, SEM and SMM. 
  • Learn social media campaign building and leveraging your networks. 
  • Learn how to make use of your affinity networks. 
  • Learn how to receive free marketing and free press. 
  • Learn how to get valuable Feedback. 
  • Learn how to Monetization. 
  • Learn how to gain street credibility.

Why we are asked to get a Google Apps Premium account ?

In order to be successful in Crowdfunding planning, campaign, and managing the business, you need a powerful Information technology engine. Google is the engine of innovation and you be able to leverage every accepts of your business and Crowdfunding campaign with Google Apps and Google business solutions. You will get the same technology platform Google uses to manage its daily business . Google Apps is a solid foundation for your ideas and your business. 



GOOGLE APPS FOR BUSINESSES
Google Apps is heavily recommended because of service integration with other Google services including Docs, Mail, and Sites, Youtube, and other.  Every Google Site we create is through Google Apps and other online tools:

  • Email, IM, voice and video chat
  • Each user gets 25 GB of email and IM storage (50 times the industry average).
  • Anytime, anywhere access to your email
  • Gmail is securely powered by the web, so you can be productive from your desk, on the road, at home and on your mobile phone, even when you're offline.
  • Sync with Android, iPhone & BlackBerry
  • Get the benefits of Apps on leading mobile platforms

  • Search and find emails instantly
  • Spend less time organizing email and find emails quickly with Google-powered search for your 
  • inbox.
  • Get less spam
  • Powerful Gmail spam filtering helps you stay focused on what's important. Postini filtering lets you customize your spam protection.



Services Include:

  • Google Reader: Brand and competition monitoring, lead generation.  Reduce cost of marketing research and new brand, service and product development.
  • Google News: Boost marketing and advertising and press releases.
  • Google Places: Boost local product and services marketing.
  • Google Apps / cloud computing: Reducing office IT expense more than 75% ( no back up , no software purchases, no server, no service / maintenance device contract) , Improve documents sharing and collaborations.
  • Google Apps (email, Calendar and contacts): Improve mobility and reduce operations expense.
  • Google Apps (Video): Reduce cost of training and improve communications and marketing.
  • Google Apps (market place): Reduce cost (time and staff) related to project management, accounting, marketing, and sales. Increase operations and project deployment velocity, improve quality to seamless communications.
  • Google Apps (sites): Reduce market cost by developing ease to use websites and lead catcher tools.
  • Google Postini: Reduce cost and improve (Message Security, Discovery, Continuity and Automatically encrypt email messages to manage regulatory compliance)
  • Google Analytic: Web site performance monitoring and right sizing
  • Google Web Master: Reduce cost of Search engine optimization and web site performanceGoogle Voice: Reduce direct CKT and long distance call monthly expense.
  • Google YouTube: Exponentially improving local and national marketing and lead catching
  • Google Search (Customized): Reduce cost of business intelligence research and new products and services development in short amount of time .
  • Google Books: Reduce cost of research and training
  • Google Chrome: Web 2.0 browser advantage (i.e. Extensions, incognito, business customization)
  • Google Adwords: Reduce marketing cost and find new clients
  • Google Adsence: Earn revenue with company website
  • Google Boos : Reduce marketing cost and find new clients
  • Google Picasa: Improve Marketing and sales Picture, video sharing engineGoogle Map: Improve local marketing and deployment logistics
  • Google Android: Improve mobility and computing (cell phone, tablet and chromebooks – windowless PC)

CrowdFundingPlanning process assisting Entrepreneurs, SMBs and start ups  ?


Stage 1- Discovery : 

We meet listen to an Entrepreneur's ideas, business concept, goals, and the needs. We work based on a road map that has over hundred direct relevant questions and share knowledge through  brainstorm . We  develop and deliver a unique business development  program that would be most successful, always keeping a budget in mind. These are the steps we cover on our discovery phase: 

a- Organize  your business information ;

  • Key Information
  • Organizational Readiness
  • Leadership and People
  • Marketing and management Consulting Experience
  • Audience
  • Key Forms of Communication

b- Your goal:

  • Concept development
  • Business Development
  • CrowdFunding
  • Market Study
  • Timeline
  • Monetary goal

c- Concept Discovery:

  • Your Idea / concept
    • Idea
    • Business concept
    • Market need
    • Your Solution
    • Business Model
    • Value proposition
    • Competitors
    • Concept / idea Potential
    • Strategic product and service development
          • Competitors
          • Your Industry
          • Prototype
                      D- Your Structure
                      E- Risk Mitigation
 F- Your Business plan ( short version )

 G- Your Marketing

  • Your Message
    • Design

    • Production
    • Results
  • Your  Identity
    • Name
    • Tagline
    • Logo
  • Website
    • Overview
    • Navigation
    • Design
    • Content
    • Features
    • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Events
  • Social Media
  • Video and Visuals
  • Email marketing
  • Donor Management
  • Fund Raising / CrowdFunding
  • Membership
  • Business and office Technology supporting your project and campaign
  • Monitoring
    • Email Marketing Metrics
    • Social Media Metrics
    • Public Relations Coverage Metrics
    • Search Engine Marketing Metrics
  • Business Intelligence


Stage 2 - Analysis and Research:

Using Information gathered in the discovery phase, we analyze and research the overall concept and each of the main categories outline in the Concept definition. This phase involves building on the data from the Discovery phase, bringing to bear practices, Crowd building methodologies, standards Into a reference frameworks and best practices.

Stage 3 - Communication / feedback
We solicit your input after completing our detail analysis and research to make sure we are aligned with your vision,  mission and goal . 

Stage 4 - Recommendation
Recommendations are then made on each of the identified applicable items in detail.  This includes the breakthrough road map and results analysis of your current “Crowd Assets”. We look at the competition, market needs and trends and  project  if the direction of the new product , service and  business is strategic and financially viable .

Stage 5 - Collaboration 
You can choose to use our research and recommendations to achieve your goal &/or secure the assistance from our Mentors and Consultant to help you to build your business and Campaign. Consultants can help you on each specific subject and as mentors can guide, analyse and recommend actions through Campaign Building Process.

We create a plan and schedule based on PMP method and we  measure success every step in our mutually agreed plan . We work with entrepreneur and start up  and provide them with fortune 500 Information technology infrastructure,  Crowd and relationship building engines , Business process outsourcing and business process CrowdSourcing to reduce cost and focus on raising the seed funding needed .

From ideation  to revenue, we have the team and the tool to get you to the next level! 





CrowdFunding project and campaign video best practices 


Questions which we are asked :

We are making video for our crowdfunding campaign through CrowdFunding portal , but we have limited funds. We are  wondering ;

  1. Is video important in CrowdFunding ? and why ?
  2. What video does for CrowdFunidng
  3. The best practices for making a high quality video ?
  4. How to make video for free or very cheap?
  5. What is the best strategy?
  6. What is the best practices ?


Present Your Ideas and story the best way possible

Considering that you are presenting your ideas to tens, thousands or million potential investors , clearly you need to present your idea the best way possible  considering your budget .

The number of pledges, donation and arwad  that you receive is entirely dependent on how well you pitch  and deliver your story and concept. Though you may have a great idea, if it is not presented  the best way well, it will not make an impression and build the trust you need on the audience.

You can use various tools such as videos, picture sequences or animated slideshows, whiteboard presentation even prezi  to pitch your concept.

Main goal is  produce a very compelling and engaging video ( and not enough budget  may be an  slideshow) to appeal to the broadest  to largest  spectrum of crowd possible.

Do you know YouTube  is the 2nd largest search engine  and  Do you know why ? Reality is you and people like watching than reading . In CrowdFunding Planning we advocate  making the best video you can, “show them, don’t tell them “  


Your video does not have to be Hollywood quality but its story better be as good . Hire professionals  taping  and editing your idea and story proposed wire frame of the invention, its value/utility and who you are and the passion you have for your invention.

Budget for 2 to 3 minutes of video . This means ( at 3 minutes ) you  can display 800 pictures and communicate 510 words .

In CrowdFunding video is the best way to communicate your content . You would have heard the old saying, the medium is the message



Before you start thinking about the video content

Very Clearly answer the following question, even ask  your Friends knowing about your campaign  do the same. Remember you can not say ‘everybody “, you can not be a tenet for every one , you do not have the budget to tailor make your message for everybody

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Why are you communicating?
  3. What is your message?
  4. What is your urgency?
  5. How much money do you have?

Your answers will likely point to type of video you need to produce.


CrowdFunding  video is best kept short , sharp and even funny

Remember audience and viewers can and will ;

  1. Easily spot weak content and production
  2. Easy to find, download and watch
  3. Loss  attention.
  4. Like Honesty ,  illusion of spontaneity.

The secret:

One of the best kept secret in CrowdFunding  is the  CrowdFunding  campaign  for movie  and film projects  . As you see, it is the highest and most successful CrowdFunding  project categories among the other projects and campaigns




The reason is simple, filmmakers own the camera, lights , editing and know how to make a compelling story  better than others, then their success is higher.

What is a roll of project video in CrowdFunding:

In crowdFunding reward and donation based there is no business plan or bank manager or VC to award or approve the fund .  Crowd is the investor / donor .

You see why the word “crowd” comes first in CrowdFunding. Crowd wants to know you ,your product, service, your perks and also above all, they want to trust you .

Your interface with them is through  campaign web page ( The content ) , Your video ( Pitch, business plan, story , idea, your personality ,......  ).

You know picture is Worth a Thousand Words, Then a Video Worth a Million . Then, in three minutes project video you can deliver  more than;

  • 510 words
  • 4320  frames ( 1440 frames per minute )
  • 800 pictures ( human visual system, can process 10 to 12 separate images per second)

Video  is one the most important and powerful ways to influence the investors / donors. An effective video could deliver :

  • Short pitch ( twitter length )
  • Main Pitch ( the elevator message ), and;
  • The Long pitch  ( the business plan )
  • Past and future
  • Facts and fictions
  • Emotions’
  • Values and more

Just imagine you are making a business pitch to thousands or million of  investors. Do you want to be in a shark tank ( Tv program )   delivering your business pitch to sharks ( few people )  or in the Ocean ( internet )  delivering your pitch to thousands or millions ?


Then you need to get creative, learn  and come up with a budget .

Low budget

If you  have less than a thousand dollar budget , then  you need to be the  producer . Think of your video as a story. All good stories contain certain elements. When creating your story keep in mind the 5 W's; Who, What, When, Where, and Why. This will help you fill in the main body of your story. Additionally, there are some general terms that you should be familiar with; protagonist, antagonist, plot, setting, turning point, dialog, introduction, conclusion, narration, and points of view.

There are two main styles for laying out your story:

  • a storyboard
  • a script.

They each have their pros and cons. Continue on to find which one best suits your needs or use a combination

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65_3bq_0eSY

The storyboard and script methods should be used in conjunction with one another. Creating a storyboard allows you to refine and examine the overall story-line. Once completed turn the storyboard in to a script. The final script will provide the detail required for the actual shooting. It will also allow the talent to view and rehearse their lines


You  can  use an a HD webcam , and editing and mixing  software  such as :




Project Video , upir script  and CrowdFunding Success

You know by now  how important video is to increasing conversion in online sales, but the exact same is true of crowdfunding. According to Kickstarter, “projects with videos succeed at a much higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%). Crowdfunding pitches with video content raise 112% more than pitches without videos.
There are no rules when it comes to video, which is part of what makes it intimidating to some people. If you’re looking to get some ideas  you can watch  these twelve videos .

Those videos are interesting and some even amazing  – and a big part of why their campaigns were successful – but your video can be as simple as you sitting in front of a web camera and telling your story.

On the other hand, some campaigns call for a professionally produced video. Pebble’s video  and Jumpshot clearly has extremely high production values, but don’t let that intimidate you. What makes their video effective isn’t  only the quality of its production; it’s the quality of its message that really matters.
Watch it below and then I’ll walk you through why it works so well.

Project Video best practices:

  • Make a compelling story format that engages the viewer
  • Visually appealing and entertaining

  • Message that really matters
  • Filmmaking is about storytelling,
  • Filmmaking is visual storytelling
  • Be Smiling, Specific, Psyched, and Sympathetic
  • BE HUMAN - Have the founders speak or be involved in the video
  • Team speaking about product
  • Founder telling story with pictures of her holding cards with text
  • Founder telling story with pictures and music:
  • Tell  who you are.
  • Tell the story behind your project.
  • Where'd you get the idea?
  • Showcase the product and service and how it is used
  • What stage is it at now?
  • How are you feeling about it?
  • Come out and ask for people's support
  • Explaining why you need it and what you'll do with their money.
  • Talk about how awesome your rewards are, using any images you can.
  • Explain that if you don't reach your goal, you'll get nothing, and everyone will be sad.
  • Thank everyone!
  • Good audio is essential.
  • Cameras work better with LOTS of light
  • Edit it right
  • Make it short 1 minutes to 3 minutes max
  • Depending on your project, build  humor or action shots
  • Build trust, build trust and build trust in your video content, action and delivery
  • If the project has a facility make sure to showcase it in the video
  • Audio is as important as video
  • Editing is more important than audio and video

Getting technical

Step 1: Choosing a Camera

Choosing a camera is the first step on your way to making videos that you can share on Vimeo. There are a lot of options to choose from including camcorders, simple point and shoot cameras, and nowadays cellphones with built in video cameras. Where do you even start? Check out the video below for a quick run down of your various movie making options.

http://vimeo.com/17853047


Step 2: Shooting Basics

So you bought yourself a camera or maybe you borrowed one from a friend, cool! Um, but how do you use it to make videos that look good? Shooting video well is a skill that takes time to develop but with a few simple tips you'll find yourself on the path to movie magic. Take a peek at the video below for an introduction to those tips.

http://vimeo.com/17853099

Step 3: Editing Basics

Editing video clips together can be really fun, especially once you master a few basic features in your editing program. With a bit of patience and experimentation you'll be producing smoothly edited videos in no time. For an overview of what you can do in a standard editing program watch the video below.


http://vimeo.com/staff/video-editing-basics

Step 4: Recommended setting

  • H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 format
  • 640x480 (SD) or 1280x720 (HD) for 4:3 & 16:9 aspect ratios.
  • Frame rate should be the same as original video
  • Sampling rate: 44.1KHz for MP3/AAC audio
  • Your source video needs to be ideally high resolution. For instance: MOV or AVI file, NTSC 720x480, HDV 1080i, 720p or VGA 640x480.
  • It's very important that you keep an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9, otherwise the quality of your video will be degraded. Flash 7 codec performs best when the frame width and height use multiples of 16. This is optimal for video playback.
  • If you want to fit the player perfectly, encode at these 16:9 resolutions:
    • 1080p: 1920x1080
    • 720p: 1280x720
    • 480p: 854x480
    • 360p: 640x360
    • 240p: 426x240

Step 4: Watch some of these

How to videos:  

http://www.howcast.com/guides/12-Filmmaking-101


Funny and extremely successful

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdWZ8WVv6qk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-CyD3R_glXY

  1. Comedy is drama in disguise: you need conflict in your plot to create good comedy.
  2. Be original, but don't be afraid to parody or to borrow concepts.
  3. If you need to get your brainstorm going, think of an absurd "what if" and run with it. Awkward social situations make great comedy fodder.
  4. Pick an issue or a facet of society, and mock it in an astute or absurd way.


CrowdFunding project and campaign Crowd Building best practices 


Questions which we are asked :

Who is our Crowd and how to build our crowd to maximize our crowd Funding ? 

You Crowd is consist of two categories, if you build them strategically and do it well they will trust you and when try trust you they will particiapte and want to be part of your dream and CrowdFunding . You Crowd included:

  1. You, your family, your friend, your colleagues and whomever you can physically see or talk and can share your story with 
  2. Your virtual crowd, this include people you contact with or  people  that  contact you  via Internet .This include social Media , web site forms, blogs, email ...etc. We call this your virtual crowd that usually  participate , donate or invest  to most of the  funds.
As a general rule of thumb for crowd-funding websites, it is advisable to attempt to raise %30 of funds from family and friends.  (first category) , statistics shows once your past this stage your virtual trust you more and you can reach your funding objective  


Following are the best practices when it comes to Crowd Building :

  • Build your social Media accounts, link them and make sure they are present in your website and all your communications
  • Manage your social media accounts using a management tool 
  • Be Social: Monitors Twitter, Facebook and the entire social Web every day, and helps you use social media to attract customers
  • Create Buzz:  Make sure you get  alerted when writers need a source like you for their news stories, helping you generate publicity and buzz for your business.
  • Get Found: Create easy, online news releases that get you right in front of Donor, investor or investor on search engines like Google in addition to CrowdFunding web portals 
  • Grow Fans: Get  help from CrowdFunding Planning to make sure  you stand out on Facebook, increase your fans, generate interest with offers and products, and turn fans into customers..
  • Track Results: You should be able to see your success and track your increasing fans, followers and visitors and instantly see what's working and how to do even better.
  • Use it Anywhere: Grow your CrowdFunding  while before  , during and even after your campaign is ended .
  • Manage your Public relation campaign by:
    • Reach the right journalists, bloggers and influencers for your industry
    • Earn media coverage and social media mentions
    • Send press releases that earn publicity and improve your search rankings
    • Monitor the news for mentions and publicity opportunities
    • Generate reports and analysis for management
    • Spend more time on strategy and less on tasks