Entrepreneur Magazine: Bringing Your Product to Market / Edition 1

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Build an empire step by step

Don't risk a small fortune trying to make a big one. Let acclaimed consultant Don Debelak show you how to get your exciting new product off the drawing board and into the marketplace—without losing your shirt! In this book, you'll learn what every inventor and entrepreneur needs to know about manufacturing techniques, product design, distribution channels, patents, licensing, and cash flow. You'll also discover how to handle some very tricky issues that are crucial to your success, including
* Knowing when your product is market ready
* Creating a step-by-step product-to-market strategy
* Adjusting your strategy to changing market conditions
* Finding financial help from investors, manufacturers, and distributors
* Having manufacturers pay development costs prior to licensing

Also available from the Entrepreneur Magazine library:
* The Entrepreneur Magazine Small Business Advisor
* The Entrepreneur Magazine Small Business Answer Book
* Guide to Integrated Marketing
* Human Resources for Small Businesses
* Making Money with Your Personal Computer
* Small Business Legal Guide
* Starting a Home-Based Business
* Starting an Import/Export Business
* Successful Advertising for Small Businesses


FREE issue of Entrepreneur Magazine
* 50% discount on Entrepreneur Magazine subscription
* 1/2 price admission to any Entrepreneur Magazine Small Business Expo
* Discount on American Entrepreneurs Association membership

See details and coupons in back of book.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

ENTREPRENEUR Magazine is the banner publication of the EntrepreneurMagazine Group. It has the largest newsstand circulation of anybusiness monthly with a total ABC-audited circulation of410,000.

DON DEBELAK is President of DSD Marketing, an inventor assistancefirm. He has personally helped more than 100 entrepreneurs marketand sell their products successfully.

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Table of Contents


Facing Realities: Hard Work Lies Ahead.

Financing: Forget the Myths—Here's the Truth.

Drop Your Paranoia: Talk about Your Product Idea!

Professionalism: Know What You're Doing.

Licensing: The Preliminary Work.


Distribution: Nothing Is More Important.

Product Appeal: Will Customers Buy?

Manufacturing Costs: Can Your Product Make a Profit?

Inside Help: Everyone Needs Key Contacts.

Reworking Your Product: How to Adjust and Pass the Go/No-GoDecisions.


The First Sales Period: Proving a Product Will Sell.

Evaluating Initial Sales Results—Before You Spend Big Money.

Licensing: Now Is the Ideal Time.

The Transitional Period: Growing Your Business.

Checklists for a Smooth-Running Company.

The Business Plan: Turning into an Operating Company.

Financing the Growing Business.

Conclusion: Exhilarating Times: You Too Can Be Successful.



Helpful Sources.


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There are five criteria for determining whether a product idea can be successfully marketed:

1. The product is easy to distribute.

2. The technology is simple.

3. The product is perceived to be unique.

4. The benefit is obvious.

5. The product can be sold at four to five times its manufacturing cost.

Your job as an entrepreneur is to be sure your product meets these five criteria. Most of the time original ideas don't start with all the necessary ingredients for success. Your choice then is to drop the idea or, preferably, to reconfigure the idea so that it meets the key criteria. I've found that most ideas can be modified so they have a chance to be successful. One of my goals in this book is to show you how to turn average ideas into winning market introductions. That is a skill that will allow you to turn out new products on a yearly basis.

The importance of the key criteria is illustrated by two inventions: a real estate lock box and foam lock-box cover. Neither product was on the market when my wife and 1 were shopping for a house in Pennsylvania. The real estate agent drove us from house to house; for almost every showing, she had to go to another realtor's office to get a house key. Sometimes, the key wasn't there, usually because another agent had not yet returned it. l estimate that nearly half our time with her was spent tracking down house keys.

Eight years later, when we were again house shopping, not one minute was lost looking for keys. In those seven years, someone had created the real estate lock box. The box has a U-shaped hook that slides over the back of the doorknob and then locks into the back of an empty box. The front of the box has a combination lock that opens the box's door. The keys to the house are put inside this locked compartment. All a real estate agent has to do is call the seller's real estate office to get the lock's combination. I'm not sure who created this nifty product idea, but it saves real estate agents hours of time.

The real estate lock boxes had one problem. When the front door was opened, the box would swing out a few inches and then bang into the door. This is where Darnell Krell entered the picture. When she and her husband had their house up for sale, she noticed the damage caused by the lock box. When she saw the same damage on virtually every house with a lock box, Darnell created knitted mittens for lock boxes, as an experiment. Real estate agents loved the idea, and Darnell decided to market a molded foam lock-box cover. Her product protected the front door and provided an advertising spot for mortgage bankers and real estate agents.

Darnell worked hard to market her product, but her efforts were aided by the fact that both the lock-box cover and the lock box met the five criteria for successful marketing:

1. The distribution system was obvious and available. Not only were real estate offices and mortgage bankers easy to locate, but they represented a virtually untapped market, because few products were sold exclusively to them.

2. Combination lock and foam molding technology were well known and relatively simple.

3. The products were unique; nothing like them had ever been sold. 4. The products' benefits were obvious to the real estate agents.

5. Lock-type products and foam molded products typically sold at four to five times the cost of these new products.

All the go/no-go decisions discussed in this book are based on the five criteria for successful marketing of a product idea. Can an individual, operating alone, market a product that doesn't meet the criteria? Yes. But the product creator will need more money for advertising, distribution, and/or manufacturing than most people can afford to spend. Meeting the criteria will offer the best chance for a successful introduction and the only chance for marketing a product with a small investment.

My experience is that out of one hundred ideas that might have market potential, only five to ten can be introduced by an individual. Corporations have advantages that individuals don't, such as already developed distribution networks, established research and development (R&D) and marketing departments, and extensive financial resources.

Many times product entrepreneurs are better off dropping ideas that are too difficult to introduce. Dropping ideas allows you to invest your time and money into projects with which you can succeed. But you shouldn't be too quick to drop a good idea. Many times you can work on your idea, make needed changes, and end up with a product that can be sold. Other times, you may be able to compensate for gaps in your product by teaming up with a company. For example, you can overcome difficult distribution problems by having an established company distribute your product, or you can overcome the difficulties of a complicated product by making a joint-venture agreement with a manufacturing company.

The key to using the criteria is to understand that they are the foundation of a successful product. You need to figure out how you'll meet the five criteria before you start spending a lot of money and effort on your idea. Otherwise you may end up investing in a product that won't sell

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2003


    Very well written. Includes everything (even things you would never consider) you NEED-TO-KNOW about a small business

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2000

    Good in depth coverage of small business.

    I have not finished this book yet, but I already value its contents. I want to start a business from a hobby and this books seems to have a detailed view of ideas that you will encounter or need to master along your way. This book will serve as my complete source of advice, meaning that it covers much more that marketing which is the most important. It is full of ideas and I would never reply with this review if I waited to learn them all. It is to the point, factual, and gives advice on how to market your product which I believe is the single most important aspect of any retail business. Buy this book if you are searching for advice on how to start a business and have little or no experience!!!! Buy this book!

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