ICO consulting firms often offer a combination of technical advice, legal counsel, marketing guidance and customer acquisition strategies. Depending on the service you need, it is likely that you will come across tens, if not hundreds, of companies, all vying for the business of your startup. There are, however, a few key factors that should skew your decision towards, or away, from a particular firm.
1) Marketing prowess
Different consultancy firms will be able to offer their own unique spin on your ICO marketing strategy. Depending on the skills and resources at their disposal, it may be the difference between reaching out to a few people and the better half of the cryptocurrency community.
It is also important that the firms demonstrate how they will deliver your brand to the audience at large. With the effectiveness of token sale advertisements on the decline, any firm offering advertising alone is probably not worth your time.
2) Emphasis on legality
In their current state, laws and regulations related to initial coin offerings vary wildly from country to country and sometimes, even between states. Thus, to reduce the compliance overhead, many startups often fail to give due precedence to the finer legal details. A firm consultancy company, however, will make sure that there are no loose ends.
Even in the event that your ICO was completely successful and raised copious amounts of money without any hiccups, it is possible that you will attract the attention of regulators after the fact.
3) History of working with previous ICOs
Considering that initial coin offerings deal with large amounts of money, sometimes in the range of millions of dollars, choosing a team with some amount of experience is always a good idea.
More importantly though, it does not matter whether or not the consultancy firm has extensive legal or marketing experience outside the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The only relevant expertise they can bring to the table for your company is their history with other successful ICOs.
4) Private sales, internal websites
In case you wish to launch your ICO to only a small group of investors before the public token sale, you will need to set up a proper infrastructure with whitelist capabilities. Furthermore, bonuses and promotional offers will require a change in the offering’s terms and conditions, all of which can be handled by the firm without the need for you to hire more staff.
Referral programs are a similar story, particularly as they are classified under the marketing umbrella. Automation of the entire sale, regardless of who the investor is, should be offered by the consultancy firm you hire.
5) International outreach
Given that a significant percentage of all ICO investors come from Asian countries, including Korea and until recently, China, it is important for the consultancy firm to have a local presence in these regions too.
At the very least, they should be able to provide you with rudimentary essentials such as translators and contacts with local publications.
6) White paper guidance
For any blockchain based company issuing tokens through an initial coin offering, it is absolutely imperative that they also publish a white paper on their website. Simply put, it is a document detailing the economics of the token, the role it plays in your company’s future platform and lastly, the modus operandi of the entire operation.
Several other details can be added to the white paper, both technical and otherwise. However, since it represents a professional summation of your business model as a whole, it is perhaps best to not be too verbose. For that reason alone, it is likely a better idea to leave the task up to the consultancy firm.
7) Handling audits
As with any business generating a large amount of income, your company will be subject to any relevant local taxation laws at the end of the ICO period. A huge influx of capital through cryptocurrencies may sometimes raise red flags with a government inexperienced with initial coin offerings.
As such, book keeping and book running services offered by consultancy firms are worth their weight in gold as they shift the burden from you to the professionals instead.
8) Technical prowess
The liability of a consultancy firm is hardly restricted to the aspects of marketing and legal counsel. Given the nascent nature of blockchain technology, getting a second opinion from a group of talented developers is always recommended.
Furthermore, given that your ICO will need to use smart contracts to facilitate payment and token delivery, getting those audited is also the responsibility of a consultancy firm’s technical team.
9) Customer support
At the end of the ICO, it is essential that the customers of your company are treated with utmost priority. No investor, after all, wants to be left in the dark once the token sale has ended.
A reliable consultancy firm should be able to set up proper communication channels with the entirety of your user base, either through chat apps or an email newsletter.
10) Social media expertise
While social media exposure is important, serious cryptocurrency discussions can hardly be found on Facebook or Twitter.
A consultancy firm that understands the reach of platforms such as Reddit, BitcoinTalk and Steemit is your best bet. Adding to that, if they already have experience setting up bounty programs, it can be considered an added bonus.