Crowdfund Investing For Dummies
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Even even though you missed your crowdfunding target, you likely still believe that your idea is a great one, and you want to keep pursuing it. Validate your beliefs with others to determine where the disconnect exists between what you believe and what others see and believe about your company, product, or service.

This exercise may be uncomfortable, but if you truly believe that your idea is worthwhile and you want to pursue it, you need to have this series of conversations.

Your goal here is either to refine your idea or your approach or to “pivot” to a new way of thinking. Essentially, pivoting means that you were going to approach the market from one direction, and based on what you’ve discovered, you need to pivot to another direction in order to be successful.

Does pivoting sound like a copout or a concession? Consider this story: One of the most famous companies to pivot was originally known as Odeo. It was a podcasting company started by a couple of ex-Googlers. They had gained significant professional investors and a staff of 14 when, in 2005, Apple launched podcasting through iTunes, which made Odeo’s product irrelevant.

The founders and staff frantically began working in teams to create a new direction (a pivot) for the company. A couple of the engineers became interested in a technology to provide real-time updates from individuals out to the world. “Status updates” was the concept.

They used their experience and talent to pivot their product to offer a way to update the world in real time, in just 140 characters. In 2006, Twitter was born, and we all know how that has turned out.

Many successful companies have had to pivot — some radically. Pivoting doesn’t ensure success, but it shouldn’t be a source of shame.

How do you begin to determine whether subtle refinement or a radical pivot is required?

  1. Talk with your supporters.

    Find out why these people wanted to invest in you. Specifically, ask whether they would’ve invested if they hadn’t known you. (Your mom may have a hard time answering that one.) If so, why? What aspects of your company, product, or service most appealed to them? Also ask about what didn’t appeal to them — any concerns they had about the product or service, for example.

  2. Talk with a few friends or family members who chose not to invest.

    Try to identify people who will be brutally honest with you. You need to hear the negatives, the concerns, and the objections.

  3. Consider whether the main problem was your pitch or your product or service.

    If the pitch was the problem, you likely can accomplish a lot simply by refining your presentation. But if the substance of the offer is the issue, you may have a pivot situation on your hands.

  4. Test-drive your new ideas.

    Whether you refine or pivot, seek input before you try to move forward. Ideally, get input from people who hadn’t signed on to support you before. Find out if you’ve addressed their concerns and if they think they’d be more likely to invest now.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Sherwood Neiss, Jason W. Best, and Zak Cassady-Dorion are the founders of Startup Exemption (developers of the crowdfund investing framework used in the 2012 JOBS Act). They deeply understand the process, rules, disclosures, and risks of capital formation from both the entrepreneur's and the investor's points of view.

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