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众筹金额过多令人头疼的原因

众筹金额过多令人头疼的原因

你在Kickstarte和Indiegogo上为自己的项目开展众筹,如果出现了疯狂似地众筹过度现象,项目创始人会觉得很棒,是吗?通常来说,确实会这样,这可能是他们经历的最好事情,但却产生了很多问题。

当我们刚开始在Indiegogo上为我们的硬件项目筹资时,我们希望能达到自己的目标甚至超越它。然而,当我们的活动以近130万美元的众筹金额结束时(成为当时Indiegogo上金额最高的欧洲众筹项目),我们震惊了。我们从未想过会有这么大的成功及由于太成功而导致的问题。

在我们亲身经历了众筹金额过度所导致的问题后,从中得出了7个事实:

1.硬件生产是艰难的!

尽管硬件项目都是发生在硬件制造的世界中,而且硬件制造如今也有3D打印和大型制造商开始向年轻的制造商提供必要的帮助和支持,但归根结底硬件设备最终是需要被制造的。无论是采用注塑成型的工艺来制备,还是在最终批量生产开始前PCB也需要得到验证,亦或是对产品进行很好的包装,所有这些都需要项目团队来处理。而且,任何设计和包装上的改变将会使制造过程重新开始,毫无疑问,这需要耗费许多时间和资源。

2. 准备不充分

因为你的项目获得了人们过度的资助,你之前所做的所有准备都会大规模地改变。因此,你不得不重新计划整个行动和交货方案。

3. 要维护众多投资者

为了让你的投资者和赞助商和你合作愉快,你需要让他们知道你们项目的进展,回答他们的问题,解决他们的担忧。我们不能对他们说:"谢谢您的投资,我们一年后准备好见!"

和投资者建立联系并实时地回答他们的问题,对那些有更多资源的大公司来说都很难做到。所以,对于一个年轻的公司来说,要客服这个问题有着很大的阻碍。此外,众筹是一种新的融资方式,一些人认为资助了这个项目就意味着他们完成了一次标准的预订。

4. 你一无所知!

凡是都有第一次 — 而第一次你一无所知。当众筹活动结束后,不管你现在在想什么,之后你得学会所有事情:生产、招聘、完工、客服等,这样的例子还有很多。你需要在几个月前就开始计划,而这么提前地做出预测和计划是很难的。这也是出货时间经常跳票的原因之一。拿生产环节举例:通常情况下你并不了解什么是确切的开发和制造的价格,也不了解什么是要素成本。这意味着你的产品没有那么高的利润,尤其是当你把早期支持者的折扣考虑在内时。和普遍观点相反的是,大多数资金确实进入了生产环节,所以众筹金额过度的硬件项目不会让你发财,也不能让你比预想的获得更多。

5. 质量标准浪费你的时间

由于大多数项目创始人都是完美主义者,他们的首要目标是要生产出不同凡响的产品。而且他们愿意倾其所有来实现这个目标,而不是向人们交付有些看上去一般的产品。当你的众筹活动结束后,你意识到自己仅可以关注时间、预算、质量中的两个方面。你可以选择按时交货并把费用维持在预算之内,但产品质量可能很糟糕。反之,你按时交货并达到之前承诺的质量,但成本会大大增加,这在一定的资源限制下不是一个好的选择。最后,你有机会在预算范围内生产出高质量的产品,但要晚于承诺的时间才能发货。在大多数情况下,这仅仅是最好的选择,尽管它不是最理想的

6. 你将需要找一位新的制造商

由于不知道你将要生产多少产品,所以几乎不可能提前选定制造商伙伴。即使是适当的合作关系,在一个过度筹资的项目里,可能会立即需要一个更大规模的制造商。这个过程可以和融资过程媲美-不管是通过众筹还是风投,这都需要时间。

7. 不听劝告

事情经常比你预想的要花费更长时间。不管有多少人告诉你要留下能犯错的资金,你可能都不会听劝,或者至少不会完全听从。聪明的做法是要为生产的设计、工具、生产本身、质检、运输和招聘留出缓冲区。但我知道你们不会听我的。

Why over-funded crowdfunding campaigns can really suck

You put your campaign up on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and it's just been overfunded like crazy. Great, right? Well, yes, it's the greatest thing that could happen. But it comes with a lot of problems.

When we first set out to raise funds for our piece of hardware on Indiegogo, we were hoping to reach our goal and we dreamed of surpassing it. However, when our campaign closed at nearly $1.3 million (becoming the most funded European campaign on Indiegogo at the time), we were shocked. None of us had expected such success, or the delays that come from being too successful.

Here are seven things we learned the hard way about over-funded campaigns:

1. Hardware is hard!

Even though a lot is happening in the world of hardware manufacturing, with 3D printing and big manufacturers that are starting to offer their help and support to young makers, hardware still needs to be physically created at some point. Whether it's tooling that has to be made for the injection molding, the PCB that needs to be certified before final mass production start, or packaging that unboxes nicely, all of it needs to be created. Moreover, any change in design or packaging requires restarting the manufacturing process, and that, of course, takes time and a lot of resources.

2. Your preparation goes out the window

You can't prepare for being massively overfunded, because all the preparations change at scale. You therefore often have to rewrite your entire action and delivery plan.

3. You now have tons of funders to keep in the loop

In order for your funders and backers to stay happy and excited for you, you need to keep them in the loop, answering their questions and addressing their concerns. Saying: "Thanks for your contribution, see you in a year when we're ready!" is not an option.

Setting up support and answering everyone in near real-time is something even bigger companies with way more resources have difficulty doing. So for a young company, it can be quite an obstacle to overcome. Moreover, crowdfunding is a very new financing form, and some people think it means that they have made a standard pre-order.

4. You know nothing!

There's a first time for everything - and the first time you don't know squat. After the campaign is over, no matter what you think you know, you actually have to learn EVERYTHING: manufacturing, hiring, fulfillment, customer service, and the list goes on. You need to plan months ahead, and it's often very hard to predict and plan everything at such an early stage. This is also one of the reasons the schedule often slips. Take manufacturing, for example: You often know very little about the exact development and manufacturing prices and component costs. That means you often don't have that high of a margin on your product. Especially when you take early bird discounts into consideration. Contrary to popular belief, most of the funds do actually go into manufacturing, so an overfunded hardware project doesn't make you rich or capable of doing more than initially expected.

5. Your quality standards cost you time

Since most founders are perfectionists, the number one goal is to deliver something remarkable. And they're ready to sacrifice everything to achieve that rather than ship something where people just say: "It works."

When your campaign is done, you realize you can only focus on two of the following three things: time, budget, or quality. You can choose to deliver on time and stay within your budget, but odds are the product will be of awful quality. Alternatively, you can deliver on time with the promised quality, but then costs go up considerably, which is not an option given limited resources. Lastly, you have an opportunity to deliver a high quality product that stays within the budget, but later than promised. In most scenarios that's just the best option, even though it's not optimal.

6. You'll need to find a new manufacturer

Choosing a manufacturing partner beforehand is nearly impossible, since you don't know how many units you'll need to make. Even if the partnership is in place, with an overfunded project, an immediate need for choosing a much bigger partner arises. And that process can be comparable to raising funds - whether that's through crowdfunding or from VCs. It takes time.

7. Entrepreneurs don't heed warnings

Things always take longer than what you expect them to take. And no matter how many people tell you to leave a margin for error, you probably won't, or at least not completely, since your optimistic nature kicks in and takes over. The smart thing to do is to leave buffers, for design for manufacturing, tooling, the manufacturing itself, certification, shipping and hiring. But you're not going to listen to me. I know I didn't.


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李婷婷 | 未央团队特约译者

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