With digitisation disrupting the global financial system, ICO (Initial Coin Offering) has emerged as one of the most attractive methods to raise funds for startups. The funds can be used for different projects or kept as a reserve for future expansion.
Companies launch a digital coin or token which has a specific value assigned to it and sell the same to investors in exchange for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
➼ Preparation phase - This stage consists of setting up all the internal processes properly.
➼ Pre-ICO - This phase involves an official announcement of the ICO and marketing it efficiently.
➼ ICO - Selling of tokens to investors and building support for the venture occurs in this stage.
➼ Post-ICO - Efforts on developing a robust product to be hosted on the blockchain and permitting exchanges to list your tokens would happen at this stage.
• Develop an idea that is feasible for an ICO - Every firm must understand the needs of its target market and offer a solution that is better than its competitors. Effort must be devoted to making the idea as global as possible. The product must be unique enough as there are so many coins offering different benefits to investors. It must attract the attention of the audience immediately as high demand for tokens is needed initially. Clear thought is necessary for determining the funds to be raised and forecasting the value of the entire offering.
• Preparing the Whitepaper - It is a technical document that must explain all the important aspects of the project. Information about the firm’s vision, distribution strategy for tokens, description of the team members, legal implications, terms and conditions must be explained clearly. Utmost importance must be given to transparency in the Whitepaper. The ultimate aim must be on generating maximum investments. Additional information on the benefits to be received, statistics regarding market conditions, and development strategy can be mentioned. A professional writer must be hired to prepare the Whitepaper. Multiple drafts should be prepared before releasing the final version.
• Forming a team - Make sure to develop a diverse team who are well-versed in different areas. Include experts in marketing, accounting, product management, and software development. Verify beforehand their experience in different projects before hiring them. An experienced team would attract investors and also help in the quick launch of the project.
• Obtain insights from legal advisors - Due to the intense competition in the market, it is ideal to consult legal experts who have adequate knowledge of the processes involved in different countries. Explain all aspects of your project clearly to them. Having a good legal advisor would help in the smooth sale of tokens in markets where ICO’s are accepted and recognized.
• Set up a website - Launch an interactive website with different sections explaining each aspect of your project. Make sure it is created on a good hosting system and loads faster. Indulge in developing an innovative layout that is different from the competitors. Try to include an introductory video, photos and infographics to grab more attention. Have a separate page mentioning your Contact details to build a better relationship with your audience.
• Crowdfunding - Firms unable to raise the minimum amount of money needed for operations can resort to crowdfunding by approaching a few market players. Disclose details such as the business plan, token strategy, maximum fund target to achieve, and duration of the campaign. Inform your contributors about the status of unsold tokens. Try to offer attractive rewards to investors for their service and aim at gaining more traction.
• Publicize your ICO - Announce your ICO in the market on top listing websites which are frequently visited by investors. Get more traffic to your website by implementing paid advertising and email marketing campaigns. Create awareness about the utility value of the token to be offered.
• Develop a Proof of Concept - A Proof of Concept is nothing but a display of the feasibility of your project. It involves a theoretical build-up where the project is explained in the form of case studies, a prototype that shows the working model after several tests and showcasing the minimum viable features to verify its functioning in different conditions.
• Roadmap of the product - It should include timelines for different stages such as Alpha release, Beta Release and Public release. It must be tested thoroughly by internal and external teams before officially released in the public sphere.
• Token creation - Tokens are the critical component of successful ICO’s. The firm must possess clarity on the number of tokens to be created, distribution strategy in each stage, and the choice of platform for developing it. Include a Smart contract system that monitors the sales of tokens and transfer of digital assets.
• Security - Invest in top-notch security practices to protect yourself against threats from hacking and phishing. Top priority must be devoted to safeguarding user’s data and their funds.
• Public relations and marketing - Promote your ICO across various social media channels and leading forums such as Bitcointalk. Tools such as Google Ads can drive more traffic. Reach out to investors through press releases and regular news updates. Clients can also be tapped by sending newsletters through e-mail marketing. Make sure to be constantly connected with your investors by answering their queries regularly.
• Crowd sale - The company should create a sign-up option for interested investors to purchase the tokens. Get more exposure by establishing lucrative reward campaigns for investors. Deliver regular updates about ICO to potential clients.
• Community support - Once the ICO has been opened up, there would be a huge inflow of inquiries from investors. Start a dedicated helpline number that is functional 24x7 to answer all their queries. This would help in creating a dedicated community who would be attracted to your project.
• Develop a product - Manufacture a product that works well on the Blockchain. It should be secure and scalable according to the company’s operational requirements. Create a positive buzz around your product launch to increase the eagerness of investors.
• Introduce your tokens on other exchanges - Through good networking, the company’s token can be launched by partnering with well-known exchanges. Create an attractive logo, short description of the token, link to the official website and pay the required compliance fees.
Follow all the above guidelines with due diligence to launch your ICO grandly in the market. Reach out to potential investors successfully over a period with consistent marketing efforts.