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One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs: Live Your Dreams and Create Your Own Profitable Company Hardcover – November 5, 2012
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Q&A with Stephen Key, Author of One Simple Idea for Startups and EntrepreneursHow 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.
More About the Author
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."
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has been my go-to guide for starting my own business. Stephen Key gives very practical guidance based on years of knowledge taking his idea for a new shape of guitar pick... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Ryan
When I got this ... I put it aside because the last thing I wanted is to do is StartUp a business ... Read morePublished 8 months ago by DanielB702