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From Crowdfunding to Shipping - Think Make Sell

TMS 034: From Crowdfunding to Shipping. A Follow-Up with James Olander

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Special thanks to Thomas Borowski for this follow-up interview on thinkmakesell.com

 • Follow the link to listen to the interview. 

Takeway Points

  • Try to figure out your “tipping points”, e.g. how many units you need to sell to make buying expensive equipment make economical sense.
  • Once a Kickstarter campaign ends, you cannot modify the campaign page anymore. So be sure to put a link to your website or store in early on.
  • Figure out early on what you’re going to do if any of your product’s parts get delayed.
  • Consider having backup manufacturers in place for standard parts.
  • Never assume manufacturers will meet their delivery time estimates.
  • Delays within one step of your manufacturing chain will have a ripple effect on all the steps that follow.
  • Not every one of your backers is going to be familiar with how Kickstarter works. Be prepared for negative feedback by less experienced backers and consider communicating with them separately from the others any doing some “handholding”.
  • Figure out how you’ll deal with orders of multiple items by a single customer. Partial shipments, especially to international customers, can be a hassle.
  • Doing the fulfillment yourself can make sense when you start out. But as your order volume grows and your focus moves from making to marketing, it’s probably more efficient to outsource.
  • Fulfillment companies need to inventory your product, they won’t work as a “pass-through” of single shipments.
  • It can make sense to ship SKUs with lower order numbers yourself while outsourcing your fast-moving items to a fulfillment service.
  • Ideally, you’ll want to keep manufacturing in line with demand so you don’t build up too much inventory.
  • A crowdfunding campaign won’t always turn a profit. Its primary purpose is to break even on starting your business.
  • If manual labor is part of your assembly and/or fulfillment process, be prepared to continuously optimize.
  • Instead of paying just a fixed salary to your workers, consider paying a lower base salary and incentivize performance.
  • If you’re not “going it alone”, be prepared to use your soft skills (if you have any).
  • Incentivizing group instead of individual performance can be beneficial to team building.
  • Instead of micromanaging people, give them permission to find their own solutions.
  • Make sure everyone on your team knows that they’re all working towards a common goal and they’re making something together.

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More: Building The Roost with James OlanderDenver Post Best of 2013 • #ERGOEXPO • Fitting Guide

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