It’s difficult to start a conversation on any important topic without reflecting on how it relates to or is affected by the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis. In the case of entrepreneurship, there is an optimistic sentiment. We have not yet seen the worst interruptions of global supply chains and business relations, but they are coming. What’s going to happen to the world economy currently dominated by major corporations?
And this is where entrepreneurship has the upper hand – in agility and fast reactions to changing supply-demand and market situations. There is a significant opportunity on the market to establish new players, especially local ones who don’t require extensive global supply chain support and massive operations.
Can small local brands from Asia become more global during this time of crisis? The only thing they need is a platform to do it on and a process that’s going to make them successful.
Entrepreneurship as Economy Engine
Entrepreneurship has always been the key to economic growth. Several international reports and studies have shown the correlation between economic growth and development/innovation.
Innovative entrepreneurs quickly find open fields of opportunity and new markets, exploring them and creating value by attracting capital to what are potentially the most profitable new segments of the economy.
Korea and Singapore are at the forefront of global product innovation (number 2 and 3 respectively, as ranked by the Global Innovation Index, 2020). This leadership does not guarantee market domination because in order to be commercially successful, the innovation needs to be coupled with a strategic go-to-market plan, aimed at finding the right market, creating and marketing a product that is appealing to buyers, and building a brand.
How can they build on product innovation and translate it into going global, supported by brand building, all with limited resources? The answer is: with crowdfunding and the For Creators By Creators (FCBC) community.
Crowdfunding: A Stepping Stone to Success
Crowdfunding is the easiest way to build an enterprise with small starting capital and in times of crisis. Established crowdfunding platforms offer good exposure, a reliable way to collect payments, and a tried-and-true venue to reach potential customers before you have invested into actually producing the product. Crowdfunding reduces the risk of failure for good ideas and weeds out bad ideas that are not commercially viable: anywhere between 70-90% of solicited products fail to reach their fundraising campaign goals.
Brands we all know and love like Peak Design (camera bags), Oculus (VR gaming goggles), PopSockets (phone grips/fidget) and FidgetCube (a toy that helps enhance focus) all had their humble beginnings in crowdfunding, exploding with millions of dollars collected on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and an abundant customer network.
Crowdfunding can even lead to profitable collaborations and acquisitions after successful crowdfunding campaigns: Pebble Time, a smartwatch company, was sold to Fitbit in 2017 for $23M, and Ouya, a video-game system, was sold to Razer in 2015.
Crowdfunding is not just a path to success for small companies. Large enterprises also use it to strategically introduce new products and to enter new markets, especially as foreign entities on their target market. For example, Rodmi Tech, a subsidiary of Beijing Xiaomi Technology, Inc, is a company with an almost $40 billion market cap. It consistently uses crowdfunding to successfully launch its new consumer electronics products.
In search of the “next big thing,” large crowdfunding platforms have come to Asia where the culture of crowdfunding is just developing and has high growth potential. Backing crowdfunding campaigns has yet to go mainstream in Korea and neighboring countries in Asia but in the past seven years, local, country-specific crowdfunding platforms have been flourishing.
However, platforms are just that: the place to fundraise and trade. Finding backers, buyers, and building a brand doesn’t come with it. Any new crowdfunding creator will tell you that creating a campaign promotion page and video, building interest, finding backers and so on—all need to be done now by professionals—and it’s an expensive and overwhelming task. What can a small entrepreneur do to enter and win the crowdfunding game?
Crowd is Good. Community is Better
Matt Higgins, co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, a Guest Shark on SharkTank, FCBC speaker, and pitch competition panel judge explains, “Crowdfunding can be important in obtaining approval from your customers before you are ready to launch your next product.”
However, crowdfunding is only the first step of the process and even with a great idea for an amazing product comes the daunting task of promoting the brand, attracting backers, and the pains of designing, producing, packaging, shipping, and delivering the product. For new entrepreneurs, running a business like this and being successful in all aspects can be very challenging, if not impossible.
For small entrepreneurs to avoid the 90% chance of failure, they must learn complex and comprehensive skills of running an enterprise. At first, it usually comes from outsourcing partners; when the company can prove its viability, it hires internally for all necessary functions. Survival long-term will largely depend on smart strategic planning before and after the campaign, as well as the flawless execution of the strategy.
Later on, becoming successful, especially on a global scale, will take an enormous amount of know-how and a community of a variety of experts. A team of skilled managers, trusted suppliers, and partners is needed. Where can entrepreneurs find them all quickly? And how can they afford all these experts when they are just a startup? Where can they learn everything they need in order to succeed in crowdfunding? That’s exactly the problem For Creators By Creators (FCBC) was created to solve.
For Creators By Creators (FCBC) Movement and Collaboration Community
|“FCBC is a crowdfunding-centered movement and community that connects people, helping entrepreneurs, and sharing the knowledge, experience, and resources to make them successful. At FCBC, creators can learn from the most successful crowdfunded brands, well-known experts, and FCBC founders how to create a successful business with a long-term horizon, prepare and run a successful crowdfunding campaign, and use it as a stepping stone towards achieving a bigger goal—global brand growth. The FCBC slogan, “Exhibit, Sell, Grow – Crowdfunding Going Global Made Possible” means that we provide the most needed resources and opportunities to crowdfunded businesses.” FCBC Co-Founders, Jay Kang, CEO of We The People, and Suzy Im, former SVP of TribalVision Worldwide & Founder of Business Development & Marketing Transformation (BDMT) Global.|
FCBC was founded in 2018 to be a global movement and collaboration community of crowdfunded entrepreneurs and resources that support them. FCBC was created by two groups of entrepreneurs dedicated to and passionate about helping international startups grow and enter new markets: We The People (WTP) and Business Development & Marketing Transformation (BMDT) Global.
WTP is the world’s only multichannel crowdfunding retail chain and Global Crowdfunding Product Accelerator from Singapore with retail stores in multiple Asian countries and the U.S. The team of co-founders includes former crowdfunding entrepreneurs Ryan Sim and Joel Liew creators of Kisetsu, a company that makes slim, leather, RFID-protected wallets, and Nison Chan, the creator of Talking Toes Socks, which designs and sells bright, inspirational socks. Sim, Liew, and Chan see their mission as beyond growing sales, though this is an important part of WTP and what Jay Kang, a successful businessman from Korea and co-founder, oversees. Kang, the CEO of WTP, sums it up, “Creators are in need of business support along with a way to link up around the world. We are excited to provide exclusive comprehensive opportunities and support for creators to connect globally.”
BDMT Global, an FCBC co-founder, is company headquartered in Boston, MA that combines the best of a digital growth skillset with their unique expertise in global expansion to help international (especially Asian) entrepreneurs break into U.S. markets. BDMT Global leads entrepreneurs in planning and succeeding beyond one campaign and one product. BDMT Global is widely recognized for helping growing companies with the comprehensive development & implementation of go-to-market strategies, global marketing outreach, digital transformation, and new market/new product launches. BDMT Global is the FCBC Community’s brand and growth strategist assisting FCBC brands with global expansion.
Source: Fortune Korea, April 2020