Promoting an ICO is exhausting work. It requires focused attention for months on end, and it’s capped with a period of emotional turmoil, as investors essentially vote on the viability of your idea. After it’s all finally done, the instinct is to take a well-deserved rest — but that’s the last thing you or your company should do. The period immediately following an ICO is when reasonably successful companies become actually successful, differentiating themselves from flash-in-the-pan projects and establishing their brand as a reliable investment for the future. It won’t happen by accident, however. Preparing for this post-ICO period is crucial for your company’s development, and as such, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your needs and market best practices.
Keep the Hype Going
Over the past year or more, you’ve done everything right: You released a detailed and approachable white paper, put user-value forward, and patiently built your brand into a name with real power. Don’t stop now! Your ICO can be the single best marketing event you ever hold, but only if you continue to invest in outreach, even after the all-important initial sale. Partly, this practice keeps new investors coming in, but more than that, it keeps your company from being dismissed as the infamous flash-in-the-pan. There are plenty of cautious users and investors who try to avoid such boondoggles, and you can distinguish yourself in their eyes by staying laser focused on your company’s core value and deliverables.
Make Sure To Use Fully Mature Tech
Many startups choose to rely on a highly developed service from a company like Amazon and Microsoft — but for lower pricing, more advanced features, and the simple value of ownership, many also choose to make their own tech from scratch. This decision can carry a lot of cache in the tech world — but not if your software gets a reputation for bugginess and unreliability. Beyond simply making and releasing stable code, it’s crucial for the public to see that you’re updating your tools, thus ensuring any lingering issues that do exist will be resolved soon enough. Remember that you’re not just competing with these large corporate products, but large corporate customer service as well.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
Not everyone can be Telegram. As such, an ICO isn’t always enough to ensure financial success, and even after a successful round of tokenized crowdfunding, it can be helpful to look elsewhere, as well. Until your company has a steady stream of revenue keeping it afloat, you should still be actively courting everything from angel investment to more typical crowdfunding campaigns. It’s important not to seem desperate, but a diversified list of funding sources is basically required if a startup is going to have anything like security in the modern, volatile post-ICO blockchain market.
Focus on Compliance
Tech companies have a bad habit of getting caught up in esoteric projects, creating a standard that may very well be superior in a vacuum, but which is all but useless in the real world. The cause is very often the same: standards and compliance. Remember that your users are members of the generalized global software ecosystem, and that they need your product to interact with that ecosystem as quickly and easily as possible. The utility of your tokens (if any) must be clearly defined, with an easy-to-use system of interaction with the outside crypto-world. Your use of standards should indicate that you know the legal space in which you are operating, and that you’re already compliant with any standards that could affect the usability of your product.
Don’t Let Existing Users/Investors Feel Ignored
After a successful ICO, many startups begin to treat their users and/or token investors as though they’ve become superfluous. Now juiced into the system, these people’s well-being is basically linked to that of your company — but don’t think that will last forever. If these people start to cash out en-masse, or even just grumble to their investor friends, it can undo all the hard work you’ve done.
Get a Lawyer
In the lean months or years before their ICO, many blockchain startups will choose to do without a professional legal adviser. That’s a risk at any time, but after the ICO has been completed is when you need to bring legal expertise into the fold. Your company is now responsible for a portion of the wealth of, potentially, thousands of investors and users, meaning that your conduct will now be subject to legal scrutiny like you’ve never experienced before. Beyond saving you on potential legal penalties, a lawyer can sign off of policies and pieces of communication in advance, allowing you to move forward confidently.
Keep Aggressively Advancing Your Brand
The quickest way to get branded a scam is to give people, even totally uninvested outsiders, the impression that you have checked out of your own project. The soundest business model in the world can look like a honeypot, if its blog has been abandoned for months and its outreach ceased just as soon as some money came in. Pre-ICO hype has to do with the potential for a company to act in a certain way, but post-ICO hype is all about how you have actually acted. Though it might not feel like it, outside scrutiny is often higher after an ICO than before it — so make sure that people see an active, successful company when they look.