Continued from last month's newsletter...
Congratulations! Your solution, then an invention, is now a product. The market responded and demands the product. Are you in business? Maybe. The answer really depends on your financial situation and skills related to the running the business you want to be in. Prior to XIKAR, my career experience included sales and marketing management, and new product launches for several top consumer products companies. Scott's included sales, relationship management, factory management and of course a lot of product design. We were well suited to start and run XIKAR on our own.
Had we not been good candidates for our own jobs, I'm not sure that would have stopped us! Please heed this warning I have come to realize: inventing a product and running a business are completely different. Getting a new product to market carries both financial and business risk (a lot more on that in a later article). Inventors who are not prepared for both stand to lose their finances and their market space as the business overwhelms them and the market competitors pass them by.
Business startups can be boot-strapped. We did it; we did it with a unique, patented product in a marketplace that was booming at the time. And, I gave up my salary and home (moved my wife, two young children and two beagles in with my mother in law) for two years. I like to say that not all entrepreneurs have to give everything up, but they have to be ready to!
Partnerships with existing brand marketers and distributors provide a great alternative for most entrepreneurs to launch their products and enjoy immediate market penetration. Sales and profits that correspond with that far outweigh the startup years of a solo effort. Sure, the inventor gives up a portion of the profit. But often the economics are still better - for the speed of profits and the lack of risk.
We are constantly looking for new products, as are all the other distributors in our trade, and in every trade! Consumers walk into cigar shops and say, "what's new?" I walk into a cigar shop, and the owner (always) says, "what's new?" The Ashtray Can inventor is a great example of how well this can work. I recently saw an invention that will be perfectly suited for the checkout at Wal-Mart, grocery and other big chains. The inventor is a salesman in a tech company, and a mutual friend suggested me to him. So, I passed him to a buddy whose company sells to Wal-Mart, Target and grocery - and I think they are both going to make a lot of money on this deal!
In my case, I was compelled by a new product solution to take to market. I was compelled to start a business because I was "a good employee, but not very good at working for someone else". Some of you out there know exactly what I am talking about! I hope you have a great product idea, and get it to market. Or, I hope you have a great solution, and let me, or another company know about it!
Kurt Van Keppel