What you really need to know before you start planning your ICO
So you ended up on this page because you want to run an ICO, correct? Well...congratulations! You are about to start a pretty awesome journey, where you will learn a great deal and hopefully get all the support you need to develop and succeed with your project.If you are serious about running an ICO and you have never done one, you must have many questions. If you don’t...something is wrong with you! Joking aside, while ICOs are a big hype and it looks like everybody is doing one, the truth is a bit different. Most people don’t even really get started, many drop off somewhere along the way and quite a few raise the money and never deliver.We can’t make sure you deliver after your ICO - if so, trust me, we’d charge you a lot for that - but we can give you enough info to help you getting started and not dropping off. How does that sound? Deal? Deal!
Can you run an ICO?
This is an easy one: yes, you can! You can totally pull this off and raise good funds. Even if you didn’t write a white paper proposing an alternative to Bitcoin when you were 19 years old (every reference to Vitalik Buterin is purely coincidental), you can still succeed in getting lots of support from the crypto community. Guaranteed.Needless to say, you can’t go ahead with any idea that crosses your mind and run an ICO. You must base your project on the blockchain and generate a token, which is what you are going to sell before and during the ICO.So if you are not a tech entrepreneur but still feel like you have an ICO-worthy idea, make sure you run it by someone that understands the blockchain and can help you to give it shape and present it to the world.
Is it easy to run an ICO?
This one is also easy: nope, ICOs are not quite the walk in the park. This is why:
High budget: with the growing hype around ICOs, all token sale-specific services have become pretty pricey, with marketing and legal being the most expensive ones. With that said, if you manage to surround yourself with talented and skilled people that are happy to help in exchange for tokens, hey, it looks like your ICO will be some hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper!
Diverse skill sets needed: planning and running an ICO campaign involves a number of talents and you simply can’t succeed if you are missing one. Then the question becomes: to hire or to outsource? Again, that depends on budget and your leadership style.
Willingness to work hard: if that hasn’t struck you already, this is hard work! The future of your project depends on a few months of work and so much can go wrong - e.g. your bank account can get frozen, SEC or whomever else can come after you, your investors’ money can get stolen by a hacker - so you will want to work long hours to make sure stuff like this doesn’t happen.
Where to start planning your ICO
So where are we? Now you know that you can run a killer ICO but that it won’t be a cup of tea. Cool. Now let’s take a look at the must-knows to get started:
Scope of the ICO as a project: a token sale has a clear start and end, and it takes in average between 3 to 6 months of work. You start out developing your idea, then you continue putting together your team and advisors, later on you need to take care of all the legal aspects while you start doing heavy duty marketing and engaging your community, to finish finally off with all the technical aspects related to the actual execution of the sale (smart contracts, wallets, landing page, security, etc.). More about this coming up in the following article.
Main activities involved in the planning and execution of the campaign: you and your team (or project partners) will need to cover areas such as programming, project management, marketing and PR, legal, compliance, design, fundraising, finance, etc. So get ready for a true 360° experience!
Enough detail about each activity so that you will make well-informed decisions and increase your chances of success. You don’t need to know it all. What you need to do is to stick around and read this series of articles.
In How to run an ICO we won’t tell you how to code a smart contract, or how to write T&Cs for your landing page. For that you should hire specialists - or become a programmer and/or a lawyer yourself, if you have the time. We will, on the other hand, provide you with information about topics such as smart contracts and T&Cs so you will feel confident making educated decisions when you need to cross those bridges.And if you are not in the reading mood, in each article you’ll find a handy Ds&Ds (dos and don’ts) section to quickly check what you are messing up or totally nailing in regard to the article’s topic. So...are you in?!? Let’s get started!