I am opening a Drive In theater in my hometown and require $400,000 in total startup capital. I will be seeking debt and equity investors as well as a crowdfunding campaign to secure initial funding as well as generate community interest.
From my experience, crowdfunding is hardly/if-ever effective as an actual fundraising tool for the vast majority of entrepreneurs (particularly if there are actual goods being manufactured and delivered.) But what it can be used for effectively is a tool to gauge and show interest in your business product/service. So if you can get people to participate at a certain level you can take those "pre-sales" to your potential investors and show some level of possible market validation or interest. so I'd leverage crowdfunding more for that "community interest" piece, rather than actual funds being raised.
"Involving" this is keyword, you could crowdfund dog crap would you find the correct way to deliver the msg. So ask for professionals in communicative arts ( no Marketers) you usually have 1 to 2 minutes maximum to deliver an emotional message. So be involving
Congrats on getting this rolling. Hopefully you’ve already done enough market validation to determine that it’s the right time and place to open a drive-in theater in your hometown.
As for a crowdfunding campaign, as JC mentioned, it will likely be most useful to you as a “community interest” piece — a way to demonstrate likely customer support.
So specifically to your timing request, it should occur before you reach out to potential lenders or equity investors. Then when it’s successful, you can point to a likely business base and some startup capital.
Some key elements to consider:
* a robust contact list is essential before you start — start building your list of names now and really focus on those who will visit the business once it’s open
* be realistic about your fundraising goal here — a percentage of your outreach at $x per commitment
* think through some tiered premiums (4-pack, season pass, free popcorn all summer, etc.) to give people good, varied options to get in
If you wish to discuss, send me a PM through Clarity for 15 free minutes.
Crowdfunding is best as a pre-launch strategy for products. For a drive in theater, you could leverage it indeed to create awareness and offer pre-launch tickets at interesting rates.
A bigger question would be in my opinion if investing in a drive in theater is a good idea considering the booming of streaming.... But I'm sure you are offering such an amazing and unique experience that an investment of 400k is justified.
Crowdfunding is not for everyone; if done correctly you can use it to sell anything. The key benefits of doing a Kickstarter project is being able to use the campaign page as a marketing asset to show future investors, potential clients, and distributors/wholesalers (if it's a physical product). The vast majority of top Kickstarter projects and most of the successful projects are all physical products (tech, fashion, boardgames, etc) because of the the inherent nature of Kickstarter being more like an ecommerce store, where visitors browse for new toys and gadgets in exchange for their 'pledge' money. In the case of community projects like yours, it's more challenging to raise a higher amount of funds because your project is not as easy to scale from a marketing perspective; the 'ecommerce' aspect is more challenging because it'll be difficult to offer value to people online who won't be able to visit your Drive in Theatre in person. You can still use Kickstarter to raise funds (I predict most of your backers will be local), and then use the campaign page as a marketing asset to show investors.