#1. Bunch O Balloons

How many of you have come across Bunch’O Balloons? I bet you must have seen them and probably used them on a sunny day.

They sell $100M a year! How did they start? A simple Kickstarter campaign asking for $10K. They eventually got a whopping $926K in pre-sales. The good thing is they delivered on time too. They are extremely successful today, but here are the 3 main things they had it absolutely right:

  1. A sure-fire product, proven a little in the market already, with a patented design
  2. Genuine campaign content with clarity on timelines of delivery: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bunchoballoons/bunch-o-balloons-100-water-balloons-in-less-than-1
  3. Post-campaign commitment delivered

Ssh. They used an agency to get all this right 🙂

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#2. Pebble

Pebble is the pioneer of smartwatches wave well before iWatch. They shot off the roof after their Kickstarter campaign where they asked for $500K and got $20M!

They lost their glory now, but by then their success was huge and inspired a wave of startups.

Is it good for small startups only?

Absolutely not. Crowdfunding campaigns will be hugely positive to be used as a launch strategy as well as a scaling strategy. Many companies like Swytch Bikes have used crowdfunding to bootstrap their designs, whereas companies like Pebble used them to catapult their market share.

In the right hands, crowdfunding campaigns can provide you a loyal base of committed customers.

Join us in the next webinar with Jes Bailey from Crowdfund 360. We will discuss more on this.

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Remember Google Glasses?

Your team has designed a new product, but it is not selling on your traditional sales channels.

Or as a new business, you have a brilliant product idea, or have a prototype done, but you do not know how to go about selling it to the masses.

You think you are alone? No. Feel at home. Even Google struggled (still struggling) to launch Google glasses.

Launching a new design is like walking on the tight rope. You need to take the risk with enough practice guided by people who has already done that, leveraging on today’s hot platforms. Here we list the top 5 platforms that can help you reach out to your ideal customers faster and cheaper (relatively!)

#1. Amazon

Not surprisingly, this is option #1. Almost 70% of the people look for what they want directly on Amazon. If your product has a search term that is commonly sought by your ideal customers, Amazon is a great deal. This platform allows you to quickly set up a listing and test the waters. It needs proper analysis of the market in Amazon, budgeting, and a careful incremental approach to manage stocks. Use our consultants, if you have not launched before.

Unfortunately, if your product is so unique that it will not be sought by general terms by your ideal customers, or if you are short of marketing budget, you are out of luck on this platform. Read below for further platforms.

#2. Crowdfunding

Did you know there are 75+ crowdfunding platforms just in the UK? The key platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo has proven successful for many big brands. Remember Pebble smartwatches campaign. Success stories galore, but the hard reality is that 90% of the campaigns fail to deliver.

In these platforms, people buy people, not just products. As a business owner, you should stand in front of your brand, have an interesting backstory, and proof that you are a real deal.

People are paying to get their products probably next year. Trust and communication is important. Nowadays, there are exclusive agencies for crowdfunding campaigns charging starting from £5000 😳. There is work involved indeed, and if done well, the benefits are huge, as you end up creating your amassed customer base in quick time.

Join in our webinar with Jes Bailey from Crowdfund 360 to listen more on how well to leverage these platforms.

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#3. DIY

“Build a website and a facebook page. Customers will come flocking. Your product is just plain awesome”, they said.

It does not work like that, unfortunately. Today’s customers are inundated with choice. You will need to go through a ladder of:

  1. KNOW: My potential customers can easily discover me and my brand
  2. LIKE: My visiting customers have enough reasons to truly like and be surprised about my brand
  3. TRUST: My liked customers have enough reasons to trust that I will deliver my promises in my product

Each step takes time, money, and effort. Building a social media page and great following does not warranty that they will buy. It is like a movie star asking his fans to vote for him in an election.

If you have deep pockets to support yourself and the business for 6-12 months, including paying for agencies and freelancers, it is worth the pursuit.

#4. Angel investors

This is the least sought out option, but the most plausible. If your product has a universal appeal to scale globally, certainly seed investors will be interested in investing a little money to bootstrap your idea. The bootstrapped money could be used for creating a crowdfunding campaign or social media campaign. What is more important is that the relevant investor will be bringing great advices for your industry. Use a platform like F6S or AngelList to network and find the relevant investor. It does not cost money, but meticulous time.

#5. On the road. High street, may be!

You think I’m joking, but not. This is the easiest means to test your products with potential customers. You can directly get feedback from them. Many malls and councils provide very low cost pop-up shops. Utilise them especially during festive seasons.

If you think, some high street brand can stock your products, and if you have the budget to acquire and distribute stocks, you can approach them directly. Listen to Al, a director of Coconut Merchant stocked in the likes of Tesco, in this video on how to go about approaching them.

That is not the end of the list. Be creative and find ways to reach your customer. Either a bazooka or a sniper-shot approach. It is your choice to find them, but plan with people who have done that, to save your peace of mind. Good luck with your launch.

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Excerpts from this section of the meeting:

Zamir: We are in a lockdown at the moment? Are you still on a lockdown in China?
William: The lockdown has been lifted. We are very free to roam around now.

Zamir: What is the situation of manufacturing right now?
William: Compared to 2 months ago, now it is a lot better. 80% of manufacturing is back to normal.

Zamir: Of that 80%, are they all manufacturing the same goods as they did before? (Is there a shift in the kind of products?)
William: 70% of the manufacturers are overseas manufacturers. They are all producing the same goods definitely.

Zamir: Has the demand reduced?
William: Yes, the demand from clients has reduced, but we are in full capacity. We are asking workers to stay at home. So it is a bit of a challenge to get more orders. So, it is the best time for businesses to go look for a supplier.

Zamir: Are you able to travel freely to acquire samples and visit factories?
William: For 3 weeks now, it is all open.

Zamir: Have you noticed any restrictions on exports?
William: We have not noticed any restrictions. It is all the same as before COVID-19.

Zamir: In summary, things has returned back to normal and positive.

William: The only problem at the moment. The logistics are delayed and costly.
Zamir: Just after this, we are speaking to Westbound Global logistics, and we will bring this up to see what their opinions and thoughts are.

Meeting coordinated by: Premkumar Anand
Meeting designed and hosted by: Zamir Cajee

Sufia, one of our star members explains how experimenting helped her find the right product to start with. It is especially important for beginners to embrace experimenting to avoid disappointments later in their business journey.

Listen to Daniela Margoi and Vik on their individual eCommerce journeys leveraging on Amazon FBA.

Daniela Margoi focuses on a sports niche based on Germany market. She is marching towards EUR 400K revenue this year and looking forward to double that next year. Listen to her speaking about the balance she has now between family life and the business.

Vik has a fantastic back-story of how it all started reading a book on a long flight. He has built a business mainly focussing on Amazon US with just 2 products and brewing more than $10K revenue per month.