10 Mistakes That Cause Kickstarter Projects To Be Delayed

Crowdfunding can be incredibly thrilling, right?

You’ve been dreaming about something for months, maybe even years, and now you finally have a chance to bring it fruition. And so you carefully put together your Kickstarter campaign, estimating how much it will cost and when you’ll be able to ship it.

Hold on. Don’t take it live yet. There is something you need to know.

A huge number of Kickstarter projects are delayed:

study in 2012 found that a whopping 84% of Kickstarter’s top 50 projects shipped late.

Before you launch your project, you need to know why so many projects ship late so you can know how to avoid those mistakes.

Here are 10 common problems that cause Kickstarter projects to ship late.

 

#1 – You’re Way Too Confident

 

Why so many crowdfunding projects get delayed

 

When you’re in the initial stages of creating a product and preparing for your Kickstarter launch, it’s hard not to be excited. Confident. Thrilled. You’ve seen the early results and know that you’re onto something big. You can already see that this is going to change things.

When you’re in this state of mind, you usually feel incredibly confident. Confident that you can make everything work. Confident that you can get the product to market in time. Confident that you can navigate all the challenges.

But when you actually get into the process of turning your initial idea into a mass-produced reality, you suddenly realize how complex everything is. You have to deal with supply chains and backorders and power outages.

You have to figure out how to ship everything to your backers as well as stay on top of any issues that arise. A single break in any of these links can cause your Kickstarter project to go off the rails. Before you know it, you’re delayed weeks, maybe even months.

 

#2 – You Didn’t Price Your Rewards Correctly

 

You might think that pricing is easy.

You simply add up the cost of the materials, assembly fees, and any other obvious fees.

But when productions actually begins, you may find that you didn’t leave enough room for yield losses (example: damaged products that didn’t make it the whole way through the assembly line) or design changes.

When complications arise, you usually only have two options:

  1. Eat the losses
  2. Delay shipment

It’s hard to stomach these types of losses, which is why many creators choose, or more often are forced by their circumstances, to delay their shipments.

 

#3 – You Sold Way Too Many

 

Sounds like every creator’s dream, right?

You hoped to sell 1,000 and end up selling 10,000. And while this certainly can be exciting, it almost always leads to significant delays.

Several reasons for this:

  • Problems are discovered when producing initial large batches, which then need to be scrapped, which then eats up money.
  • Supply chain issues arise because you didn’t anticipate the volume of parts needed.

Speaking of his own experiences with Kickstarter, Triggertrap creator Haje Jan Kamps writes:

[Some companies can’t handle] the adequate orders of magnitude: A company that is an expert on designing a product that will be manufactured in a quantity of 30 units at a price point of around £1,000 is not necessarily good for a production run of 1,000 units at £30: They are completely different skill sets.

Ideally, you’ll be able to start a bit smaller and then ramp up as all the problems get ironed out. This will allow you to ship on time.

As CNN noted:

Over and over in our interviews, the same pattern emerged. A team of ambitious but inexperienced creators launched a project that they expected would attract a few hundred backers. It took off, raising vastly more money than they anticipated — and obliterating the original production plans and timeline.

The timeframe you estimated for shipping during your campaign was based on a smaller order volume, it normally takes more time–often a lot more time–to process larger orders. In many cases, the factory you talked to during your initial planning won’t be able to handle the larger order and you’ll lose time finding a new manufacturer.

 

#4 – You Over Promised

 

One of the great temptations with crowdfunding is to promise too many features.

You’re excited, and you can’t wait to show people what your product can do. And, you really want to get people on board with your campaign. This often leads to promising way more than you can actually deliver.

It’s far better to start simple and make sure you can deliver.

Start with your core, most powerful features, and then slowly expand over time. With each iteration, you can add in something else. Rather than promising everything at the start, promise one great thing.

Yes it’s cliché, but you can better ensure your Kickstarter success when you underpromise and overdeliver.

 

#5 – It’s Difficult To Scale Your Prototype

 

Challenges of Scale when Crowdfunding Successfully

 

Many prototypes are made in homes. You create your own mold, buy some supplies, and figure out how to do everything yourself. It hardly costs you anything and doesn’t take a crazy amount of time. You then estimate overall costs and delivery time based on your very small efforts.

However, when you start to scale, you realize that there is no way you can mass produce your product using your original process.

Suddenly you need to bring in experts and factories and large suppliers. Costs rise, production time increases, and all your initial estimates go out the window. Your only option becomes delaying shipping.

 

#6 – You Encounter Cultural Barriers

 

When you outsource some or all of your production overseas, you may find yourself encountering unexpected barriers.

Communication challenges can cause confusion, different expectations can create tension, and a lack of knowledge about importing and exporting can seriously delay things.

In order to avoid this, do research about the manufacturing process in the specific country your product is being made.

Know what you’re getting into so that you properly estimate the ship date.

 

#7 – You Underestimate Lead Times For Components

 

The “lead time” is how long it takes for component manufacturers to actually get the components in your hands. It’s incredibly easy to underestimate how it will take to have components delivered.

When it comes to securing the components, you usually have one of two options: go straight to the manufacturer or use a distributor.

If you’ve done your research and know the lead times involved for you product, you can usually use a manufacturer, which will be much cheaper than going with a distributor.

When you use a distributor, you’ll be able to get the components much more quickly but will end up paying more, which can quickly burn up your cash.

 

#8 – Your Scope Keeps Getting Bigger

 

Idea Plotting Crowdfunding Plans and Tips

 

What happens if you are shooting for $10,000 and end up raising $150,000?

Sounds like a dream, right?

You’ll probably start adding on stretch goals and hire more people to speed things up.

But adding stretch goals means you have more to deliver and hiring more people means you have a bigger staff to manage. Both of these things can end up significantly delaying your product.

Even more, with more options available for your backers, the complexity of your shipping compounds:

For example, when you have customized items for each backer–a common stretch goal perk–and/or multiple different sized rewards that will all be shipped in the same package because then your shipping price may increase unexpectedly beyond your estimates due to things like volumetric/dimensional weight rules that most shipping carriers enforce.

 

#9 – You Hire The Wrong People

 

Sometimes you hire people who are completely wrong for a job. You contract a manufacturer who makes big promises, only to completely drop the ball. This happened with the Kreyos Smartwatch, which raised $1.5 million out of a $100,000 goal.

Creator Steve Tan wrote of the manufacturer:

What I don’t understand till now is, with the success of Kreyos, and the amount of money we paid him, why didn’t Pro [CEO of Viewcooper Corp] invest in talent or hiring the right people. The total amount of people working on Kreyos from his end was only around 4 people, some of whom we realized are just working part-time. We wouldn’t have minded him pocketing so much money if he at least delivered something that we can fix for our backers and customers and continue selling for a few more months until we conceptualize a new and improved version.

Tan’s mistake ultimately ended up killing the entire project.

 

#10 – You Run Out Of Money

 

Sometimes, despite all your best efforts, you simply run out of money.

You run into massive production problems or encounter cross-cultural assembly issues you never expected. Maybe you discover a design flaw and have to scrap a large batch. You’re only option is to throw money at the problem and try to fix it.

When you have to throw a lot money at problems, there’s a good chance you’ll burn through all your raised funds. In that case, you’ll have to look for outside funding if your project is ever going to ship. The best case scenario is that you get those funds and ship late. The worst case is that you have to scrap your entire project.

 

Conclusion

 

Kickstarter is an amazing platform that allows creators to create amazing projects.

However, it’s also a swamp that is full of potential pitfalls. Successfully taking a project from prototype to being shipped takes skill.

  • Do your research.
  • Ask the right questions.
  • Figure out what some projects are delayed and then plan for those types of delays.

In the end, when you do things correctly up front, you’ll be spared innumerable headaches down the road.

 

Related Crowdfunding Fulfillment Tips

 

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How Your Business is Losing Even More Money Than You Might Expect

It’s essential to be able to budget in business. Having some form of predictability in your finances is essential for those future plans you’re going to make. Yet, besides the regular expenses and income, you will often find you have less money than you thought. And why is that? It’s because there are expenses you’re not thinking to account for. Here’s how your busy is losing money right under your nose.

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Be more resourceful

Every business should expect little one-time costs that come as a result of the passage of time. A piece of furniture might break, a piece of equipment might need a repair. They might be negligible costs in the moment, but they will build up if you’re not taking proper care of your equipment. Extend the life of your furniture by investing in higher quality and protecting it with materials like laminate. Have a proper preventative maintenance schedule for your hardware. Use your resources more wisely.

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Hold onto those employees

Even more expensive than having to replace a table is having to replace an entire person. In fact, some studies say that you could be paying over £30,000 when you replace an employee. From the labour lost while you wait for a replacement, to the hiring process and training involved, it’s not too far-fetched to see how you could get to that number. So do your best to keep your employees. First, focus on those who don’t do too much job hopping and show signs of looking for a reliable long-term career with you. Then make sure you’re going the extra mile to retain them, like making sure their job engages and motivates them.

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Get your money

If you run a business that offers payment options besides immediate transfers and cash, then you’re probably doing a lot of your accounting based on projections. Yet, late payments and unreliable customers can cause you to deviate a little too much from those projections. If you’re invoicing, make sure that you’re firm with setting and following deadlines. If you have any kind of credit options, then it’s a good idea to use services like a credit recruitment agency to get people on your side who can help you see whether or not a potential borrower is reliable enough for the business.

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Get more done

It can be harder to measure, but you need to think about how much work you’re getting done for the amount of time spent in the office. If you’re not getting a return on investment for each of your employees, then you will be losing money without even recognising it. Instead of having to let them go, see if you can’t help them get more productive. For instance, teaching proper time management and improving communication with workflow software can see you get a lot more done in the time you have.

You can never truly predict your finances to a level of 100% accuracy. But what you can do is eliminate the risks of hidden costs by taking the times to identify where they might arise from. Hopefully, this article helps you do that just a little better in future.

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PC Gaming Tech Just Got Serious: Here’s Why

For years, pundits have been prophesying the death of PC gaming. It’s too expensive, they said, and with the rise of mobile platforms, there simply isn’t a market for it anymore. And for a time, it appeared as if they were right. PC sales plunged, and continue to do so, and mobile form factors, like tablets and phones, took off.

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Wikimedia Commons

 

But in 2016, things looked a little less rosy in the mobile space than most imagine. We reached “peak smartphone” meaning that the market was mostly saturated, and tablet sales actually fell slightly. Meanwhile, the PC, long considered to be dead, was actually going through something of a renaissance. We saw the rise and mainstream adoption of some fabulous PC gaming technologies, including things like Adaptive Sync, high refresh rates, 4K and low-APIs, all making the experience on PC far superior to any other platform, including the consoles. PC gaming is the Rolls-Royce of gaming, and although console owners would never admit it, something to which they aspire.

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According to CNET, PC games sales are expected to reach a whopping $29 billion dollars this year, eclipsing the $28 billion worth of video game sales in the console market. And if the trends are correct, that gap will continue to widen further. It seems as if we’re looking at the end of the era in which people play certain games on certain platforms, as this list of PC games like Clash of Clans makes clear. People want to be able to access players across platforms, including the PC, in order to play with their friends online and to have the experience of their choosing. Why should users be forced to play a game on their tiny mobile screen, just because it’s a “mobile game” when they have an enormous gaming monitor sitting in their study? And why should people who shell out for VR systems be cut off from the rest of the gaming community in special VR areas? This isn’t what gamers want, and the industry is listening.

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Flickr

 

The problem for developers at the moment is the proliferation of the many ways in which people can play games. Just a few years ago, there were consoles and PCs. But now there’s VR, streaming TV devices like the Steam Machine and Nvidia’s new console, as well as all the mobile devices you can imagine.

 

Brian Blau, a researcher from the research giant, Gartner, says that this has played into the PC’s hands. He points out that often the only way to play the latest titles at high fidelity is to play them on the PC. The PC isn’t limited by size or space, unlike tablets, and so there’s physically more room for the high-end components to run games like The Witcher 3 and Ashes of the Singularity.

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The PC is also the only platform on which to have a pleasant VR experience. Consoles simply don’t have the horsepower to deliver what we might call “presence” in virtual reality. It all means that PC gaming is getting serious again, and we might be about to go full circle, from PC to console and back to PC.

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Creative Office Design Tips To Give Your Business A Boost

For many, business success lies in the art of creativity. If you have a creative mind, you can do things that others don’t do. One way to be creative in business is with the design of your office. Below, I have some office design tips that will help improve your business on the whole:

Office Windows

Windows play a huge role in the design of your office. It’s important that you get as much natural light as possible. Why? Because natural light always enhances the look of every workspace. And, it has positives for other sides of your business too, namely the financial side. If you utilize natural light, you can save loads on office energy bills. Consequently, you reduce your business expenses. My advice is to get some blinds that match the overall look and feel of your office. Blinds are great for determining how much natural light you want to allow in at different times. It can create a good atmosphere in your office workspace.

Office Doors

I find that office doors are often left neglected by businesses. You don’t give them a lot of thought, but, they can be very important. Your main office door will be the first thing people see when they visit. It sets them up for what’s inside and must be a reflection of your main office design and brand image. You want the door to look impressive and have a high-quality finish to it. I’m sure you can find some roll coaters out there that will provide a great finish to your office door. Now, it looks sleek, shiny, and very impressive. The color should also align with the main color scheme inside your office. If you’ve gone monochrome, then I say a black door will be good. If you have a vibrant color scheme, then pick a color that goes well with it.

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(Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/nFA9cg)

Office Layout

I think the best and most productive offices are ones with a very simple layout. When you cram desks and cubicles together, it can feel very cramped. It doesn’t inspire worker productivity when everything is tightly jammed. If things are more spacious, with just a few desks in a large office, then it’s better. Not only does it look better but people can work more productively too. The desk and chair type will again depend on your overall office design.

Office Walls

Finally, we arrive at one of the most important aspects of your office; the walls. Wall design is crucial for building an image and helping your staff work better. The popular idea is to have creative murals on the walls. These can make your office look incredible, and also serve a purpose. Murals can include inspiring quotes that motivate your workers. Also, the color of your walls serves to set the main color scheme of your office. It’s very important, and you must give it plenty of thought.

With these tips, you can give your business a real boost. Designing your office has a huge impact on the success your company enjoys. Get creative and make an office that’s a joy for everyone to work in.

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If You Could Only Live In One Country, Which Would It Be?

Every year, websites all over the internet release lists of what they believed to be the best countries to live in the world. Here we’re going to take a look at some of the countries that regularly make it to the top of those lists. Let’s take a look.

Switzerland

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Switzerland is famous for being neutral and independent. Perched high up in the Alps, it didn’t take sides, even in WW2. Now the country has something of a reputation for offering a great standard of living for the people who live there. The population of Switzerland is around 7.2 million. It has one of the most stable economies in the world, thanks mainly to a stable monetary policy. As a result, investors flock here, spending their money on new projects in the country.

Metropolitan life here is also safe, fun and clean. Major cities like Bern, Zurich, and Geneva has exceptionally low rates of crime. They’re also beautiful cities. For instance, Geneva runs along the giant Lac Leman, a lake that runs for miles out of the city.

Canada

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Wikimedia Commons

Canada is considered to be one of the best places to live in the western world. This is because of its historically low rates of crime and the overall happiness of its citizens.

It seems as if many more people are looking to get a visa for Canada. Spending on tourism in the country is a good proxy for whether people want to move to the country. Spending has increased to more than $81 billion in the last year or so, demonstrating intent.

Health and longevity is good here too. On average Canadians live to 81 years of age. That’s more than four years longer than the average in the US. Canada also has a low unemployment rate, thanks to some rather clever trade policies and an economy based on services.

Ireland

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Pixabay

Back in 2009, the future for Ireland looked bleak. Its banks had been ravaged by the global economic meltdown. And it was on the brink of bankruptcy. Not anymore. The economy here has been turned around considerably since the last decade. There are genuine opportunities to settle down and make a living here.

There’s also ample opportunity to explore the beautiful landscape. Ireland has vast areas of wilderness, thanks to its low population density. It also has many of the best golf courses in the world, if you’re interested in that type of thing. Finally, Ireland is a treasure trove for history buffs. The island is littered with castles and forts. In fact, Ireland boasts the greatest numbers of restored castles and forts anywhere in the world.

New Zealand

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If you’re an animal lover, New Zealand is the place to be. Only 5 percent of the population here are people. The other 95 percent are herd animals, sold for export.

The main city of Auckland plays host to the Sky Tower. The Sky Tower is a little bit like the observatory in Toronto. Visitors can look out over the city of Auckland from a height of more than 1076 feet.

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