• Joyce Yang

Crowdfunding May be the Key to Kickstart Your Dream

It is not an easy path to turn a business idea and realise it into an actual business. Numerous entrepreneurs face the same challenge – not having enough funds to kickstart their business ideas. Therefore, crowdfunding is often the solution for entrepreneurs to assist them to take the first leap through the power of people utilising social media channels and crowdfunding websites.



“Crowdfunding the is the use of small amounts of capital from a large number of individuals to finance a new business venture. Crowdfunding makes use of the easy accessibility of vast networks of people through social media and crowdfunding websites to bring investors and entrepreneurs together, with the potential to increase entrepreneurship by expanding the pool of investors beyond the traditional circle of owners, relatives and venture capitalists” (Smith, 2020).


To explain the concept of crowdfunding more straightforwardly, Dresner said that “Crowdfunding, simply put, is pooling the financial resources of many individual to convert an idea into a project or business. Instead of relying on a few large donors, it requires many small ones.” (Dresner, 2014, p.3)


One online retailer in particular that had experienced entrepreneurial pitch and crowdfunding success which has a popular Instagram presence caught our attention and spawn our interest to look closer. It has an attractive brand name, Passion Planner (Passion Planner | More Than Just A Planner‎, 2020).


When you go online to Passion Planner’s website and Instagram account, your attention will instantly focus on the amazing images and the inspiring quotes. Their slogan “your paper life coach” is so catchy and hard to forget. We are drawn to the outlook and the inner meaning of the brand from this online retailer which is concentrated on selling one thing only – paper-based planners.


Passion Planner has a very humble start. Back in October of 2013, the first Passion Planner launched on Kickstarter, a global crowdfunding platform which is focused on creativity projects. Within a month, Passion Planner had raised $48,000 with the help of 2,000 individuals. One year later, the Passion Planner Compact received $650,000 of funding. Since then, Passion Planner has evolved from an idea to a team of 28 motivated employees and a global community of over one million people (Our Story | Passion Planner, 2020).


Image from The Balance Small Business

Why is that a seemingly unremarkable paper-based planner in a digital world became such a huge success? It goes back to the anxiety of not knowing what to do in life that Passion Planner's Founder & CEO, Angelia Trinidad who is a 29-year old entrepreneur faced after graduating.


Passion Planner started with a key problem to solve at heart and most of us face this problem one way or another in our life journey. The problem is the uncertainty about what to do in life and the unsureness about what the next step is. This is a vigorous common ground for Passion Planner’s target investors through Kickstarter. Furthermore, leveraging on the simple and classy design of the paper-based planner, it created a sense of control and certainty for its users. As stated by Jurgen Appelo, “As an entrepreneur, founder or creative, Product Vision is necessary.”(Jurgen Appelo, 2019, p.3)


We can clearly see Passion Planner’s strong and inspiring product vision from the very beginning. From Jurgen Appelo,“It describes the essence of an innovative product: what is aims to achieve for its users and customers.”(Jurgen Appelo, 2019, p.3)


Passion Planner is an online business-to-consumer (B2C) business with targeted digital marketing strategies. Passion Planner is digitally savvy from day one. This is another reason why their entrepreneurial pitch on the crowdfunding site was victorious. Its passion and dedication about corporate social responsibility also adds another significant layer for brand recognition and for investors and consumers to resonate with their brand and products.

When it comes to digital marketing, some might think it's easy. Little did they know, developing effective digital marketing is much more than just building a website and running social media posts. Targeted digital marketing strategy needs to be planned so that the activities carried out will translate into brand success. For a start-up, digital marketing is critical as it can scale up a new business with limited funding. Passion Planner maximises their potential through the digital and social space.


Passion Planner has a user-friendly website. It has an easy-to-use online paying platform with multiple commonly used paying methods. It has an active online community and its content rich blog offers creative ways to use their planners. Their planned email marketing and orchestrated social media channels make their digital marketing landscape well rounded.

Currently, the official social media accounts on various platforms of Passion Planner accumulated over 700,000 followers. Among these social media channels, Passion Planner’s Instagram is the top performing channel which has over 410,000 followers, ahead of Facebook which has 212,000. These social media channels create and foster a global community of followers who are later on converted to paying customers.



Passion Planner also created and continue to promote the #PashFam to encourage their customers to share their user experience with other users. They now have over 1 million people who have become members of a global community that pride themselves as users of products from Passion Planner.


First, Passion Planner identifies the customers’ needs – a commonly shared problem of the uncertainty about what to do in life and the unsureness about what the next step is.

Second, Passion Planner anticipates the demands from customers and creates products that helps itself form and rollout e-marketing strategies.


Third, Passion Planner satisfies the customers through the electronic channels, including website, blog, e-mail marketing and social media channels that create an engaged online customer community.


And along the way, Passion Planner convinced the investors on the crowdfunding site to back their idea and this allowed them to grow into a functioning business.

The concept of entrepreneurial pitch is well demonstrated through Passion Planner’s entrepreneurial journey and their digital marketing landscape. “Digital marketing can be simply defined as: Achieving marketing objectives through applying digital media, data and technology” Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2019, p.9)


We would like to highlight the technology aspect. With more than 3.8 billion active social media users around the world (Kemp, 2020), no business can overlook the importance of social media marketing.


Looking at this case as an entrepreneur, Passion Planner utilises the social media platforms to become one of its most powerful digital marketing channels and assets to cultivate customer relationships and enhance customer experience of their brand. Passion Planner’s entrepreneur journey is an inspiration and a success case study for future entrepreneurial pitch. And its product vision helps customers to easily visualise what value will be delivered to them when they make the purchase as if they’re seeing their own lives being organised and they can take back control and feel less overwhelm by uncertainty in life through the paper-based planner from Passion Planner.


Passion Planner的CEO是一個29歲的女生Angelia Trinidad,2012年大學畢業後她因為對未來的迷茫和不確定,得了憂鬱症,在這個時候,她在找紙製的筆記本,希望可以更好的幫助她規畫生活,但是,市面上的紙製的筆記本都沒有達到她的要求,所以她決定自己做。


Angelia自己設計了一個紙製的筆記本,並把它放到募資平台Kickstarter,30天內,2000個人的支持,Angelia募資到美金4萬8千元,大概是140多萬台幣,第2輪募資,她獲得超過美金65萬,近台幣2千萬。


現在,這個以紙製的筆記本為主的公司,擁有28位全職員工,全球超過1百萬社群的品牌。


千萬不要小看任何一個夢想,只要你去做了,全宇宙都會來幫你。


References

  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019). Digital marketing. 7th ed. Pearson United Kingdom: Harlow, England New York Pearson, p.9.

  • Dresner, S. (2014). Crowdfunding : a guide to raising capital on the Internet. Hoboken: Wiley, p.3.

  • Jurgen Appelo (2019). Startup, Scaleup, Screwup: 42 Tools to Accelerate Lean & Agile Business Growth. Wiley, p.3.

  • Kemp, S. (2020). Digital 2020: Global Digital Overview. [online] DataReportal – Global Digital Insights. Available at: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-global-digital-overview [Accessed 7 Sep. 2020].

  • Passion Planner. 2020. Our Story | Passion Planner. [online] Available at: <https://passionplanner.com/pages/our-story> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

  • Passion Planner. 2020. Passion Planner | More Than Just A Planner‎. [online] Available at: <https://passionplanner.com/> [Accessed 6 September 2020].

  • Smith, T. (2020). Crowdfunding. [online] Investopedia. Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/crowdfunding.asp [Accessed 7 Sep. 2020].


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