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

4.6 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #407,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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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 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
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
When I got this ... I put it aside because the last thing I wanted is to do is StartUp a business ... I am more of a License It (Stephen's other two books) and go on to the next invention ... Heard him at San Diego Inventors group and Orange County Inventors Group ...and said there is more to Stephen Key than I thought so have been going through it ... Even got an great idea from the book, I want to take to Book Market
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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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Format: Hardcover
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 and successfully building a business around this 'One Simple Idea'. After taking 8 pages of notes, I’ve concluded this book is a must have for anyone wanting to build a business from their idea. From ideation, to building your brand and business, to leveraging a successful exit - it’s all in there.
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