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One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs: Live Your Dreams and Create Your Own Profitable Company Hardcover – November 5, 2012

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Q&A with Stephen Key, Author of One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs

How do you know if you have a winning product?

There are some simple and relatively inexpensive (and quick!) ways to test your product to determine if you have a "sellable" idea. First, develop a sell sheet highlighting your product's benefits. Take it to potential retailers (store or department managers) and ask them if they would buy it. Are they interested? What are their comments?

Next, use social media - perhaps a survey - include a photograph or drawing with a brief explanation - and see if it's what people want. Or, find "angel investors" - they are typically very direct with their response - and ask them "Would you invest in this product?"

Finally, you could (and this would involve a higher cash outlay), make a small production run of your product and actually see if it sells. Retailers will happily (in my experience) offer something for sale (on consignment) if they didn't have to pay for it! Does it sell? How many in a day? Week? Month?


I’m on a limited budget and have a day job. I’m a little fearful of taking the next step to start my own business, so what do you suggest?

If you focus on moving forward with a simple idea, that can help you face your fear and overcome anxiety. Why? Because, it isn’t necessary to reinvent the wheel to start a business! It’s best to focus on a simple idea because it’s not only a product that will appeal to a large market, it’s easy and inexpensive to manufacture, and also easy to demo. Retailers view shelf space as expensive and precious. Simple ideas are desired because inventory is manageable, and placement on a store shelf is effortless.


Since I’m on a limited budget, do you have any tips or advice on how I can save money and be frugal, but, at the same time, still manage to get the job done?

There are so many ways to utilize talent within your own area that will help you move forward with your project for little or no money. I suggest going to, or contacting, the packaging or engineering departments of your local college or junior college. Many times, since your project delivers “real world experience” for their students, your project will be accepted as an assignment. You can receive high quality packaging, prototyping, and CAD drawings for free if you know who to contact.

Review

"An easy, important read for practitioner and academic alike... Highly recommended." Choice 20130325
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (November 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071800441
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071800440
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #75,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Stephen Key is an award-winning inventor, a renowned intellectual property strategist, a successful entrepreneur, and a best-selling author. The more than 20 products he has licensed over the past 35 years have sold in Walmart, 7-Eleven, and Disney stores and theme parks worldwide, as well as been endorsed by Michael Jordan, Alex Trebek, and Taylor Swift.

Along with business partner Andrew Krauss, Stephen co-founded inventRight, a company dedicated to teaching inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone with an idea how to build wealth through licensing. Tim Ferriss, best-selling author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," was an early student of his. He is also the Chief Technical Officer of SpinLabel Technologies.

Key is the author of The Licensing Lifestyle, a weekly column for Inc.com, as well as a long-standing contributor to Entrepreneur.com.

His latest book is entitled "Sell Your Ideas With or Without a Patent."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was suspicious of the abundant reviews of this book either on the same day or a day apart so I automatically thought they were bogus. I still decided to get this book just because I am launching a new product for retail and it's completely out of my marketing forte.

I have to say that this book is quite good. It's easy to read, especially from the beginning when the author, Stephen Key, talks about how he got started designing, creating, and selling products through retail channels. It made for an interesting read.

I think he started irritating me when he would talk about a success story (coincidentially there were many women success stories in a row, which is fantastic) then mention a sentence about how they survived cancer. There were a couple of such stories and, although the success stories themselves were inspiring, why mention that they had cancer out of the blue when it didn't have anything to do with their successes or the story about their product? It didn't make any sense.

Then he goes onto talk about patents and how they are mostly useless, especially in the early time of your business. I do agree with this just because there will be so many design changes by the time you get a prototype that it's too costly and time-consuming to get a patent on a product that will ultimately be different, even slightly, by the time your first "model" or prototype is created. Plus copy cats will change your design very slightly and trump your patent with their rip-off model of your product anyway, especially if it becomes a hot seller.

But...for something that the author doesn't believe in, it's like the guy continually wanted to talk about patents seemingly forever in the book. I'm not sure if this was to fill space or what.
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Format: Hardcover
For young entrepreneurs like myself, the idea of starting a business from scratch could be daunting. There are so many questions and seemingly so many answers. But no question is more important than "will my idea have traction?"

The era of Facebook and Google has left us with the impression that in order for a business to be successful, it needs to attract millions of users and change human behavior.

However, author, inventor and entrepreneur Stephen Key takes a different stance. He explains that in business, it is the simple ideas that make the most profound impact.

He could have stopped there but he goes on to outline the process and strategy of launching a business with your new idea.

This book doesn't contain any magic formulas and won't tell you to "think" your way to the perfect product. What it does do is provide time-tested advice and real-life examples of everyday people and their businesses.

Stephen also goes into a deep discussion on how he started his Simple Idea Business, Hot Picks. Stephen re-shaped and re-created an existing product, the guitar pick. He talks extensively about how he came up with the idea and how he pooled resources together to launch his idea. I cannot tell you how many times I found myself pausing and applying his advice from Hot Picks to my own ideas.

For me, reading the real world examples of how others started their own business was wonderful. It shows that people from ANY background can start their dream business. You don't need an MBA or engineering powers, you simply need your idea and the resources provided by the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Got home from work last night at 10pm to be welcomed by Stephens new book. Read until 3am and could not help but think while turning every page what a valuable work it was. I only wish Stephen had brought this book out sooner, it would have saved us from "learning the hard way" on many of the steps outlined in the book. The chapter covering Retail is extremely useful and has made me re-think our approach. Will be ordering further copies for my business partner, friends and family. Thanks Mr. Key :)
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Format: Hardcover
The book is great, but Mr Key has apparently moved on. All the reported "resources available on my internet site"? Gone, replaced with an ad site for a new $2144 inventRight web course. I'm sure it's great - it has all the things the book promised to offer as free resources - plus 1 year year coaching! From some guy named Andrew Krauss.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was lucky enough to read this book a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Key has all the experience and knowledge to help you succeed with your company/inventions. This is a must read for anyone trying to succeed with a business or and invention. I am an inventor who benefited greatly from his knowledge. It would take you years to learn this on your own.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Stephen has taught me that keeping your idea simple is the best way to invent and start a business. If you are looking for a book that is no nonsense and gives you clear and SIMPLE instructions for venturing this is it! The book is an easy read and Stephen keeps it entertaining.
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By Amy on March 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book with lots of info...its good for the common person with no experience on starting a business. Best of luck
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