- Staring down the ICO rabbit hole: the real scope of work
- Write the white paper
- Put together your team
- Start developing your prototype
- Develop project landing page
- Get legal documents and opinions
- Incorporate legal entity/entities and get a bank account
- Lay out PR and marketing strategy
- Start talking to exchanges
- Sort private, pre- and public-sale technical aspects in your ICO platform
Staring down the ICO rabbit hole: the real scope of work
Welcome back! It seems like the first article didn’t scare you away from entering the ICO journey - that’s good! It is indeed an unbelievably hard but absolutely brilliant way to raise funds and create a community around your project, so we are happy you are sticking around.Last time we mentioned briefly the different aspects that one needs to take into account when planning an ICO, namely: legal, compliance, PR and marketing, design and development, finance, HR, programming. In this article we’ll cover in a bit more detail each area and suggest a possible - but not the only - order in which you could tackle the looooong to-do list you’ll soon have in your hands.
You can expect that a lot of it will have to happen concurrently and you’ll find yourself outsourcing big chunks of work.So buckle up and keep reading - and please keep in mind that we’ll elaborate on each of the aspects below in separate dedicated articles.
ICO SoWLet’s cut to the chase and check out your to semi-high level to-do list:
Write the white paper, which you can only do after you:
Study the market
Figure out the product
Outline token economy
(WARNING - very important point coming up) Define business model!
The white paper is by far one of the most important aspects of your ICO. Consider that based on how good, solid and well-thought through your WP is, you will attract not only investment (let’s face it…that’s what you are looking for!) but also team members, advisors, partners. The times when you could sketch an idea on a napkin and get money for that are over…sorry bro. Also, keep in mind that you’ll be interacting A LOT on your WP, so this is not a one-time job.
Put together your team (and start looking for advisors)
A strong core team is absolutely essential. You want whoever join this journey with you to be committed, determined and fully living the vision of the project.It’d be a plus if the core team covered different areas of expertise, ideally a tech co-founder (pretty obvious, yes?) combined with a partner experienced in the field the project is about - e.g. an insurance expert would be good to have as a co-founder if you want to move insurance policies onto the blockchain…for whatever reason.
Start developing your prototype, which includes:
We know we’re repeating ourselves here but… THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! The day WP on napkins died, something else died too: idea-only based projects are soooooo 2017! Going out there with something you can show, even a puny version of it, makes a world of difference. With a prototype, you’ll be taken much more seriously as that shows that you have done work, invested time (and money) and thought through things such as UX and use cases. Of course: a fully working and already live product (centralized and non-distributed, I mean) would be the best possible scenario.
Develop project landing page, which needs to include - sooner or later -:
Whitelisting (your KYC provider will become your best friend here)
This is the first thing everyone is going to ask you for when you start telling that you are doing an ICO. So you need one. And please…make it look decent! No need to start with fancy animations and videos from the beginning but at the very least get a designer to put together something slick, from a branding and design perspective. People smell scams already from the landing page…so let’s make sure you don’t look like one!
Get legal documents and opinions, which include:
Legal opinion about the token (in English please!) and best jurisdiction for legal entity incorporation
Legal entity incorporation
Other agreements (partnerships, employment, etc.)
The whole legal aspect of running your ICO can be compared easily with taking your car to the mechanic: you can be sure that he’ll fix things you don’t think are necessary and that it’ll be expensive. But guess what? That might just keep you from possibly crashing…hard.
Incorporate legal entity/entities and get a bank account
In a world that can’t figure out whether ICOs are good or bad and how to manage cryptocurrencies, choosing the right jurisdiction for your(s) legal entity(ies) and bank account is pretty vital. It all comes down to how much paperwork and rules you are willing to abide by in order - again - to look legit and avoid problems in the future.
Lay out PR and marketing strategy, which includes:
Listings on token sale listing/review/rating/audit sites
Ads (if they’ll be allowed anywhere anymore at all…)
Community management (everywhere necessary)
We might need a separate book for this topic only. Today, in the world of ICOs, you are not going anywhere without marketing and PR…that is unless your private network is so strong and solid that you can manage with minimum efforts.
Start talking to exchanges
What are you going to do with a token that is not listed?!?!?! Not much. So while this is not the first thing you should think about when you start planning your ICO, make sure you don’t wait too long to start investigating exchange listing options and establishing relationships with exchanges.
Sort private, pre- and public-sale technical aspects in your ICO platform:
Lock up period
Various dashboards on your website
All of your planning and execution efforts to build and promote your project, eventually come down to this: get the funds safely, distribute your tokens properly, put your and your investors’ interests first - always. If you don’t have in-house competences to take care of the sale and token distribution, find a reliable and efficient system that fits your needs to do the job.
- plans are worthless, planning is everything. Remember these words when you get started. Plans will change for sure, but as long as you keep on planning, ongoingly,unforeseen challenges will take you less by surprise s your mindset will be flexible. So consider all the aspects above and start with a healthy dose of planning!
Think of your project as if it was a start-up:
- well, we can argue that it is a start-up after all. The only difference is that you are raising funds by selling your token. So in everything you do remember to think the start-up basics through problem-solution, business model, use of raised funds, team, token economy, roadmap.
- team members, advisors, partners…get to know as much as possible who you’ll be working with and sign agreements with them - verbal contracts are good, but written are better.
Save up for marketing/PR and legal:
- it’s not a matter of if…these activities will be expensive. So make sure you have room for these in your budget.
Try to do it on your own:
- no one can trust us. So get ready to embrace close collaboration, outsourcing, partnerships, and teamwork.
- unless you have a specific reason to do an ICO within 2 months, don’t try that. Allocate at least 5/6 months, depending on nature of the project and prototype development efforts - remember how important it is to have one?
Underestimate legal, compliance and security:
- as boring, uneventful and expensive these matter can be, they are so important. And you might just pay a much higher price later on if you don’t address them early and well enough.
Wrapping it up…That’s it for today, folks. We hope you got a better idea of what’s waiting ahead in your ICO journey. Like we said before: hard work, fun, challenges, successes, failures, and great opportunities. Stay tuned for our next article: Your ICO’s bible: the white paper.