Do not get lazy at this late hour. Show your idea. Quick 3 tips!

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Getting into crowd funding, a saleable concept is only the first step in a many-step process. Now, there is plenty to worry about once you actually reach your funding goal, but before that point, you need to think about how you are going to attract contributors in the first place. So, how are you going to do it? Do you have a plan? Or are you just relying on the uniqueness and the natural charisma of whatever product it is that you’re pitching? You might have the best product all month, all year even, and if you don’t set up your crowd funding campaign the right way, it is entirely possible that you never get anywhere. It is possible that you not attract a simple contributor, that your campaign ends belly-up, a failure, and you’re left off right where you started, but worse, because now you’ve wasted a big chunk of your most precious resource of all: your time.

How do you get around this? The answer is simple, in a way, simple to think about and very complex when you try to put it into practice. You need to market your concept. You need to get people thinking about what you’re selling as something that they want, even need. There are a few concrete objectives that you can pursue to this end.

First, get some high-quality graphics. This includes pictures and videos. If you have a prototype of your product, take a picture of it with a professional camera so that you produce pictures that are on the quality that newspapers would accept. After all, you do not want to hold yourself back. Maybe a big newspaper –actually will pick up your crowd funding campaign and do a feature. It could happen, so plan for it.

Second, hire a professional writer to pitch your product. Don’t take this on yourself. Instead, write a rough draft of your own thoughts and then send them to someone who cleans up writing for a living. You want to stand out to your audience for the right reasons, not for something like an awkward word choice or a grammatical error.

Third, come up with rewards that will get people talking about your campaign. There are endless possibilities, and often, the key to drawing in a lot of contributors is thinking up the right rewards. Include big options and small options so that you don’t miss out on anyone.

The success or failure of your crowd funding campaign is largely in your hands. You already have a winning concept. Now, it’s just a matter of execution. Do not get lazy at this late hour. Show your idea, and your team if you have one, some respect and some justice and get the job done right.

Collext will receive your products/rewards, package them and ship them to your backers. Ideal for crowdfunding campaigns such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo

Importing Your Kickstarter Rewards from China sucks — Follow These Easy Steps

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Assume that your rewards are ready at the Chinese factory and for arguments sake it is of a size suitable for shipping by seafreight — say a part load shipment (LCL) which is perhaps the most common.

1) Ask your supplier for an FOB price — This means they will arrange to get the crowdfunding rewards to the China port of export and will almost certainly be the cheapest option in the long run.

2) Get a quote from a UK based freight forwarder such as ourselves at Collext from FOB Port to delivered door UK. This will ensure no unexpected costs.

3) Should price be acceptable, confirm the booking with the freight forwarder. You need to advise them that you accept the quote, provide confirmation of weight, cube and number of packages, type of goods. Give them contact details for your supplier including name and address, contact number/email and contact name along with any references required.

4) Ask the forwarder for details of their agent/office at the relevant place of origin.

5) You also need to decide at this point whether you want the goods insured — Ask for a price for this and again confirm in writing that you require this if acceptable.

6) Provide the supplier with the forwarders agents details and tell them that they will be in touch.

7) At this point behind the scenes the UK forwarder will get in touch with their overseas office, who in turn will make contact with the supplier. Once you have paid your supplier they will deliver goods in to the forwarders warehouse at the port of origin.

8) Goods will be loaded into a container, put on a Vessel and will be on their way.

9) A bill of lading is issued by the China agent, which shows the confirmed shipping details. This is a very important document as the ‘holder’ of the original bill of lading has legal title to the goods. There are two choices here that you and the supplier have that you need to agree between yourselves.

a) Have the original bill of lading sent to you in the UK. The overseas agent will issue the originals — (usually three of them) to the supplier. The supplier (once all costs have been paid to them) will post these to you. You will need to present one of the originals to the UK forwarder for them to release/deliver goods to you.

b) Ask your supplier for a telex release/express release. This simply means that the supplier will inform the agent that they do not require the originals as they have been paid. In this case you will not need to present the originals to the UK forwarder but you should still ask for a copy as it shows the shipment information.

10) So now the goods are on the sea you need to consider getting them to you. Whether you are VAT registered or not, you will need to apply for an EORI number form HMRC, which effectively allows you to import. You need to complete a fairly simple application form that can be downloaded from HMRC website. It will ask for you and your trading details and details of the shipment in question. The form can be emailed to the EORI team at HMRC and they will process and issue this within 48–72 hours. I would recommend doing this a week or two before goods due into the UK. Please note you can only reclaim import VAT as input tax if you are VAT registered — An EORI alone will not allow you to do this.

11) You may receive a notice of arrival from the freight forwarder a week or so before the goods due into the UK, confirming the arrival details and often asking for your information for customs clearance. Please note that it is not a legal obligation to send out notice of arrivals so you should not rely on this alone — if you know goods are due in imminently call your forwarder and ask for an update.

12) Provide them with your EORI number, the commercial invoice, the original bill of lading (if required) and the customs tariff code for the goods. The tariff code is a ten digit number that refers to the exact product you are importing and will show what Duty rate you are to pay on the goods. The forwarder will often be able to suggest the right one for you but it is your legal responsibility to ensure this is correct — I would always recommend ringing the HMRC classification department who will provide this over the phone — 01702 366077.

13) Back to ‘behind the scenes’ now. The Vessel has arrived, the container has been unloaded and more than often the forwarder will move this to their customs warehouse to unload and carry out customs clearance.

14) The forwarder should then issue you with a sales invoice covering the shipping costs as quoted (Check it matches the quote — if it doesn’t, ask why). You will also get a Duty/VAT invoice for those costs which the forwarder will have paid to HMRC. Here you might see a cost you were not expecting called a ‘Deferment Fee’. This will usually be something like £50 minimum or 5% of total Duty/VAT. The reason you might not have been quoted this is that you do have the option of paying HMRC direct, although its usually easier to let the forwarder handle it and given the time constraints often a CHAPS is required which can cost more than the deferment fee.

15) Pay the forwarder. Credit arrangements are rare nowadays unless you are a very established importer so you will need to pay the invoices before they will book delivery. Payment methods vary but usually BACS/CHAPS or internet bank transfer are the most common methods.

16) Rent charges — This is something you need not worry about as long as you do everything in time. You will usually be given seven days free of charge from the date the container was unloaded (called the devan date) to get goods delivered to you. After this date you will incur daily rent costs, hence the need to be slightly on the ball and not delaying payment, etc.

17) Confirm delivery. Check payment has been received (don’t wait for them to contact you if you know payment has been sent and received as they may handle thousands of transactions a day and they can get lost in the system) and ask when you can have delivery. Depending on location this might be next day or 2/3 days afterwards. The forwarder will usually only be able to give you a rough indication of when it might arrive (i.e. late AM) but you can usually request an AM/PM or timed delivery for a small additional cost.

18) Unloading. You will need to unload goods from the vehicle as the drivers are not insured to do this for you. Bear in mind factors such as restricted access and restricted parking and be sure to warn the forwarder of these in advance. If it is a large/heavy load, you may need to consider the need for a forklift.


4 Quick Tips – UK Kickstarters NEED to ship to USA

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When chatting with successful UK Kickstarter campaigns, one thing which kept cropping up was the amount of US backers that pledge with some having over 50% backers overall from America.

We would always encourage to open your crowdfunding campaign up to the world and don’t be put off if you lack experience in logistics.

Customs, Clearance, Duties & Taxes

When sending stuff over the Atlantic all yours sales must go through customs to be cleared. You will need a custom invoice for your shipments. This will decide how much tax & duties YOU will need to pay. So ensure it is completely correctly and clearly.

Bonus Tip: Describe each item in the package. Don’t be vague like containing ‘Clothing’ write ‘Trousers for Men size 32′

NO duties and taxes if total package value below certain thresholds:

  • Gift value is under $200
  • Formal threshold is $2500 (if shipment over $2500, it will go through formal clearance)

Packaging Your Goods

You will need to ensure packaging arrives in the condition they were expected. Easy rules to follow

  • When sending fragile goods, invest in double corrugated cardboard for the outer packaging
  • For more protection, you can buy triple corrugated box to be extra cautious
  • Use bubble wrap for internal packaging. Fill the gaps with left over bubble wrap, newspaper & foam.

Know the Hidden Shipping Costs

When a UK based Kickstarter ships a tshirt from Manchester to London, there is a single shipping rate. But send that same t-shirt across to the US and a whole new set of duties and taxes apply. Understanding the total cost of sending an order internationally is referred to as the “landed cost” and it is important that Kickstarter campaigns understand this cost before sending an order.

Envisage what a customer may do if there is suddenly a $50 duty added to an item when it arrives at their door. They might reject the shipment, and the campaign will have both lost the sale and the cost of freight.

Fortunately, major carriers offer tools or APIs that make it possible to calculate the landed cost and integrate shipping tools into a merchant’s eCommerce platform.

Use Fulfilment Services

Lastly, it is possible to take the headache out of shipping internationally, simply hire a fulfilment service like Collext to manage your USA Kickstarter pre-orders.

In most cases, the crowdfunding project will pay a flat fee per order and the fulfilment service will manage packing, labelling, shipping, and monitor all of those annoying rules and regulations.

Don’t Kill Your Own KickStarter Campaign

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Right now the crowdfunding sector is doing extraordinary things. Kickstarter & others are helping these awe-inspiring innovators to get their idea/products to market. At a time, when it’s challenging for startups & small businesses to obtain funding from the banks. BIG high 5 everyone!

People would love their projects unexpectedly to have 1000% funds pledged & 10000 backers. Potentially the dream could become a bigger one but knowing your numbers when it comes to getting the rewards delivered to your backers is extremely important & will only help make your idea an reality.

First question I always ask Kickstarter campaigner is ‘What is your shipping strategy?’ Majority of the time the replies are very vague or nothing at all *shrugging shoulders

The shipping strategy needs to be applied the same way as marketing which is an valuable part of any crowdfunding project. Both can kill campaigns if not done correctly. It’s just that the shipping does it later & slower. Leaving you with upset and angry backers.

Warning: Sad Story Below

One UK Kickstarter project had $50000 funds pledged by 2000 backers OVER 100%+ more than they expected. Amazing! A great product which people wanted clearly.

BUT they set WORLDWIDE reward shipping at the SAME low rate of $20 regardless wherever the backer was without realising that carriers have variation pricing to different parts of the world.

1000 backers were worldwide deliveries. On average they undersold by $10 each = $10000 negative! RIGHT THERE.

The project was put on hold for 18 months to obtain further funding. It was killed off soon after.

By not having a good shipping strategy and hike of backers every cost grew from marketing to manufacturing. They couldn’t sustain the forever increasing cost & $10000 logistics loss.

Invest your time, researching into the logistics process & get your numbers correct! If you do this & be amazing at everything else, you will have a successful Kickstarter campaign.

We want you guys to succeed & our small part is by offering a FREE 30 minutes logistics/shipping consultation to anyone who needs any help and advice.

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