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Crowdfunding from the Inside Out

 

At Crowd Hydrant we help startups and entrepreneurs leverage crowdfunding for financing and to market their products and services on consignment. We also help businesses use crowdsourcing to drive innovation and reduce the cost of labor-intensive processes. We work with our customers to develop the project, pitch and rewards for these initiatives. We also provide logistical support, helping our clients deliver on their promises.
 
I‘ve spent most of my 20+ year business career in or around commercial printing and lately, everywhere I look, I see an industry in decline. Nearly every application for print has been affected by digital technology. Need to read a manual for some device? Google it. Want to see your latest phone bill? Visit your carrier’s web site. Want to read a book or magazine? Grab your tablet. Need to advertise your business? Unless you’re sitting on a big budget, search engine optimization, email, online ads, and social media – all digital technologies – are the most effective tactics.
 
A few years ago, I became intensely interested in 3D printing and recently I came to two important conclusions:
1. 3D printing is like 2D printing (the production processes are similar and both are being sold and produced online, at retail, and in-home via desktop devices)
2. 2D printers could create a future for their businesses by offering 3D print
 
As I looked around I didn’t see many people talking about this idea, so I started a blog to help evangelize 3D print in the 2D print world. 3D4printers.com was launched about 3 months ago and has been an early success. The site has had a lot of traffic and one of the articles I wrote for the site was published on TechCrunch. With that validation and momentum, I felt this was the time to seek out even more opportunity with 3D printing, which brings me to the reason for this post.  
 

Why Did You Call it Crowd Hydrant?

Why’d you call it Crowd Hydrant? It’s a question we’ve heard more than a few times. There were several reasons. In part, because both the web address and business name were available. But, we brainstormed a lot of available names and it was our top pick. Most importantly, because it best describes our business model - supporting innovators with crowd funding, sourcing, and marketing services.

The idea for our company stemmed from a recent experience we had submitting one of our new business concepts to a couple of different startup incubators. As we went through the process of developing the content and creating the team and product videos that would support our application, it occurred to us that other people with great ideas might need help getting them to market. We also began to question why we were chasing venture capital when we could take our concept directly to the crowd.

 

Salute Your Solution

Do you want your website to help build awareness of your brand, generate leads, and help you close more business?  Who doesn't, right?

I've worked with a lot of B2B services who want to sell solutions to their clients.  I'm still amazed when I ask what they mean by "solution" and I get the deer-in-the-headlights look, followed by an overly complex answer.

Simply put, a solution is a unique combination of the products and services offered by your firm.  The best way to determine what solutions your customers will buy is to uncover their needs using a consultative sales process.

Rarely will a customer sit you down and tell you about their every requirement.  In many cases they don't even realize there is a better way to build their mousetrap.  Their needs are implicit, not explicit and it's your job to bring their pain to the surface.  Once you've done that, it's time to present your solution!