Sunday, September 20

WEEK 9 – Your Product, Your Problem

I’ve been receiving questions lately asking about where I get started on putting my business plan together.  Actually I didn’t go the route of creating the traditional business plan because I didn’t see myself going the traditional route to start my business.  Fortunately we’re in an age where it’s not necessary to have to crawl to the local bank, corporate investors, or venture capitalists that would require you to have a business plan with tons of statistics and market analysis.  With the emergence and popularity of crowdfunding it has become possible to side-step old-fashioned means.  With that being said, you still do need a plan.  My plan is what is referred to as a Lean Business Plan.  This is just a straight forward, no-frills, just listing out all the important stuff that’s for internal use only.  I chose to structure this plan using an IMO strategy. This plan is set up intentionally to tweak and change as time goes on to better reflect your business.  For more info, click on the link here that will explain in more detail to see if a Lean Business Plan suits your business.

As I mentioned last week, I was expecting my first proposal from one of my prospects, Jeff.  I don’t have the budget to be able to have a lawyer look over everything for me, so I’m left to trusting my own judgement and going with my gut.  After reading through the proposal there were some portions of the contract that needed to be revised.  Since I’m dealing with a first-to-market product it’s important to me that I protect any improvements made along the way.  This was very important to me, although in fairness, if a significant improvement is implemented than all those involve should share the credit.  Along with that, there were some other minor changes that needed to be made that Jeff had no problem conforming to.  I was able to make the changes that suited me and that we both agreed were fair.  Do not be afraid of challenging manufacturers, consultants, or whoever for better terms, pricing or both; at the end of the day it’s your product on the line so it’s your responsibility to protect it.  

Sunday, September 13

WEEK 8 - Results

Calls, Calls, Calls – feels like that’s all I’ve been doing for the last few months.  Finally I’ve connected with someone that can get me to the next level, actually I’ve been communicating with two people.  One of which I found out is a consultant in the non-woven industry branching out on his own to start his own business, and the other was a manufacturing company.  The consultant by the name of Jeff – it’s amazing how much you can learn from a single conversation with someone who has been doing this for years – was someone I came in contact with after making numerous follow-up calls.  It was refreshing hearing Jeff get just as excited about my product as I was.  The issue for me is that he is what I consider to be a middle man, and personally, I try to avoid middle men. 

My other contact was a guy that actually reached out to me first.  Well then again, I did throw the first stone by submitting a RFQ (Request For Quote) on Thomasnet.  It’s a very powerful tool that Thomasnet has on their website where you complete a short form describing your product and they send an RFQ on your behalf to at least five different companies within your industry.   Next thing I knew I was getting an email from Fabrico asking me if I could more descriptive about my product – duh, yeah…that’s what I got this pitch sheet for.  So this week I’ve been in the talks with two people, Jeff and Barry from Fabrico.  The daunting question now is who is going to cost me the most money.  Even though I believe in paying for good quality I still need to stay within my budget and get the best I can for what I can afford.  So as I type this Jeff is working on a proposal to send me.  Check back here next week and let’s see what this proposal looks like.

Tuesday, September 8

WEEK 7 – The Good and the Bad

The bad news – more “no’s”.  Another week of phone call after phone call and constantly sending out emails of my pitch sheet.  Although it has been interesting to talk to people who were sincerely trying to help me.  There were a few companies I spoke with who, even though they couldn’t help me with my product per se, they were willing to help me and point me in a more favorable direction.  Also, among the no’s, there are a few companies that were interested and I’m waiting to hear back from.  So fingers crossed. 

The good news – non-provisional patent “APPROVED”.  A big sigh of relief came in the mail this week, my non-provisional patent application was accepted.  So now the clock officially starts.  I have one year from my filing date to file for my utility patent.  This one year is used to see if your idea is marketable or not.  I have basically two options: one, to take my idea and shop it around to see if there’s anyone who would be interested in buying the rights to my patent or maybe offer me a licensing deal; or two, get my product to the retail shelves myself and see if I can build a business from it.  Decisions, decisions.

Here’s a good read that I want to pass along this week on how to get your product made from Martha Stewart herself.  Check it out.