One of the most popular ways to fund small businesses and other creative projects is through crowdsourcing. With more than 50,000 successfully funded projects and $844 million in total financial backing, Kickstarter is currently the biggest crowdsourcing platform on the planet. While the steps to launching a campaign are well covered on Kickstarter, what happens if you actually get funded? Here are four tips to streamline the crowdsourcing process, simplify your life and keep your backers happy.Project management

1. Find a Manufacturer

Assuming you have a product, you will need a suitable manufacturer to produce it. Ideally, you will perform some research on this matter before you actually reach your Kickstarter goal. If not, you will need to scramble to find a manufacturer to fulfill your obligations as soon as possible. Because of the minimal production costs, many businesses go overseas to China. Manufacturing thousands of products could be done efficiently with a favorable profit margin with outsourced production. Global Sources provides an extensive list of manufacturers for most industries that can point you in the right direction.

2. Find Shipping

The next step in crowdsourcing is to find a professionally run company that’s capable of transporting your finished products to their intended destination. There are several options with some being better than others. To prevent being scammed or simply avoid incompetence that could put your reputation in jeopardy, Fast Company suggests going directly through the UPS instead of a middleman. Some benefits of using UPS include:

  • UPS delivers faster to 17 percent of major Asia Pacific cities than FedEx
  • UPS delivers early to U.S. business 5 percent more often than FedEx
  • UPS offers Quantum View Manage to carefully monitor a shipment’s status

It takes a bit of research to familiarize yourself with the policies and find the best option, but this should ensure that your products are delivered safely and on time.

3. Manage Data

Just like any other type of business venture, a Kickstarter project will result in plenty of data that needs to be stored, organized and backed up. One of the biggest issues is keeping all of your backers’ information, such as mailing addresses, so it can be reviewed later. You also will want to record data concerning your manufacturer, shipping and taxes, so that it can be conveniently accessed.

While businesses in the past have often used platforms like Microsoft Word and Excel, and saved information on DVD-Rs and USBs, using a cloud-based platform is ideal. Not only does this provide more storage, but it ensures that your data will be kept safe and secure. By utilizing multiple servers, cloud storage is virtually accident-proof and can be accessed from almost anywhere in the world with Internet access. You can even use mobile devices like tablets and smartphones for added convenience. A popular platform for businesses across a variety of industries is Dropbox.

4. Develop Your Brand

A key ingredient of most successful companies is developing a unique brand that consumers can differentiate from competitors. Some great examples are Apple, which is known for its quality tech products and minimalist aesthetic, and Red Bull, which is often associated with extreme sports and adventure. Branding your business will rely on creating a logo and/or slogan that matches your philosophy and company culture. You must then use many channels to get your message across to consumers. Some possibilities include social media, search engine optimization, blogging and business cards. You also could send Overnight Prints postcards to build deeper relationships with backers and customers.

Janelle Connelly

Janelle and her husband advocate small businesses by sharing their expert insight on business sites and blogs.