Failure is not an option
Very often, a successful business is defined by its strategy, leadership and purpose. Perseverance often does not make it to the list. However, we at bB, have found 'perseverance' to be one of our key qualities that has seen us through our short three year existence.
It was recently proven during our Kickstarter campaign which we ran to fundraise for our WeatherHYDE tents. The project had so many unknowns and had no set of rules to follow, that we went ahead to the best of our judgement. We soon realised that much of our understanding turned out to be wrong.
Throughout the 50 days of the campaign, we stuck by it, we didn't give up, we kept a positive attitude and applied numerous fall back strategies. These fall back strategies showed results, and we miraculously reached our goal with few hours to spare. See the image which reflects how nervous we were for the large part of the campaign and how breathtakingly exciting it was towards the end. Failure was never an option.
Here are the most important learnings and take aways from our experience:
1. Nerves of steel/ persistence - always be prepared for a whirlwind ride of a lifetime; get your health insurance in place if you can't handle the 'feeling of free falling'.
2. Create a product that people understand - especially if you are campaigning globally with a product that is contextual. WeatherHYDE, our homeless shelter was (literally) seen by millions of eyes. Some saw it for themselves, some for their own country, some for another country, and for all sorts of uses. It made our job of enticing customers to pledge equally hard and we had to shift the focus of our campaign midway.
3. The right platform - This is one which you will see a lot on google searches. Each platform has its own audience, trustworthiness and ease of use. We used Kickstarter, the biggest of all, and since we used their Singapore platform, many from the US could not trust the pricing shown in multiple currencies. Our support base in India had no knowledge of it, and Singapore had too few people to empathise with our product.
4. Have friends and lots of them - not only to back the campaign, but to emotionally, psychologically and maybe even physically support you. This did wonders for us, as I went to connect with friends from over two decades ago. On the last day, we had mini fundraisers happening in over 7 cities in the world and countless prayers coming our way.
5. Listen to yourself, and not so much to the consultants - The moment you start a campaign, hundreds of crowdfunding experts show up. They are all experts in google searches and knowing what other experts have said and written. They believe in a crowd funding formula that works, take no responsibility for results and want a lot of money to tell all that is wrong with you. They forget, that people like us may not have the knowledge, but we have the will to do it, which can make all the difference. And it does.
Are you ready for your ride of the lifetime?
About the author
Prasoon is Co-Founder and CEO of billionBricks. He has a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi. He has worked in India, USA, Hong Kong and Singapore over the past 10 years on architecture, master planning and regional planning projects.
He enjoys long distance running. His wife, Meenkashi is an architect too and they have two sons, Ruhaan and Rishaan