There is a huge difference between taking the entrepreneurial path on your own and having a little help from your friends. In our session Ask Fred, we talked to the CEO of IdeaPros, Fred Cary, about all those questions that keep you awake at night.
1. What Is The First Step In Turning Your Idea Into A Product?
The first step doesn’t have anything to do with the product. It has to do with the mindset. Being an entrepreneur is a ton of work. You will be discouraged, upset, and have a feeling that you’ve failed. That’s part of the growth process and getting to success.
“Nobody succeeds the first time around.” – Fred Cary
Before you start, ask yourself if you have that entrepreneurial spirit.
- Are you willing to fail, get up, and keep doing it until you get it right?
- Are you building something for the people or something only you would use?
You want customers for your product. Once you know you have the right attitude, you can start your journey with research. It can be a quick Google search to find out more about what you are trying to build.
- Is there a market for it?
- Who are your competitors?
- How is the market being served?
- What is the pain point your target audience has that the competition isn’t meeting?
You need to understand the market, know your customers, and avoid the missteps your competitors have made thus far.
2. How Do I Get A Meeting With A Big CEO To Get Products On The Retail Chains’ Shelves?
You don’t. Unless you have a product that is incredibly popular on your website or on Amazon. Only if you have traction and momentum, can you have a chance to talk to big box companies. But even then the likelihood is small.
If you manage to get into a big box store, they will try out your product in several locations with expectations on how much you should sell in each store. Let’s suppose you do well. Now, they will want a hundred thousand units instead of a thousand. You have to pay for those units and have a bankroll available.
“The more successful you are, the more money you have to have in advance to pay for it.” – Fred Cary
Also, they can cancel the deal because the product isn’t performing as expected. You would have to pick up all your inventory because it is stipulated in the agreement. So, when it comes to big box stores, you should have a broker or somebody who understands how this process works. Because if you do it the wrong way, they will own you.
3. Have You Ever Had A Tough Time With Self Accountability As An Entrepreneur? And If So, How Did You Overcome It?
Most people want success without putting in the work and the dedication necessary to succeed. One way to deal with accountability is to try to set routines, challenge yourself every day, and do the things you want to do. The routines become habits when you set time aside daily. Set time aside to do sport, read, answer emails, etc. It is easier when you compartmentalize your life and stick to it. Use your calendar to block off certain times you will use to become a more educated and responsible person.
4. When Looking For Seed Funding, Do You Look For One Investor To Do A $250,000 Sum Or 25 Investors To Invest $10,000?
Depends on who you are and the connections you have. It’s all about experience and whether you’ve done it before in a similar industry. If you are a new entrepreneur trying to build your first business, it is unlikely you will get a $250,000 check. Friends and family are where you go first. You will find it surprising how many people will believe in you if you’ve thought your idea through and gotten all the information you need. It is more likely to get more people contributing a smaller amount in the beginning.
5. Is It Important To Have A Certain Name For Your Product When Launching To The Public?
Imagine you are walking a grocery aisle and you stop to take a look at products you are interested in. What will draw your attention to that particular box you’ve never seen before? What will make you take it and read about it?
“The only way to get people to try your product for the first time is to capture them and their emotions.” – Fred Cary
Selling is about connecting. You connect with your potential customers through your name, positioning, colors, and messaging. Make sure you have good stuff inside the box because you want them to come back a second time. The first time they choose you because of what is outside the box. Every next time they choose you because of what is inside the box.
Establish yourself as being different, newer, better, and connect to your target audience. Never name your product in a way that customers understand what it is from the name. They will know what you sell from your pictures and messages. You need a name that will set you apart and make people think.
6. What Are The Five Most Important Things You Must Have Before You Talk to a Bank to Apply for Credit?
- Have decent credit yourself.
- Collateral is important because a bank wants to see personal collateral as well if they give you a business line of credit.
- Existing operations come in handy.
- Customers and showing on your balance sheet and profit and loss statements that you need this money and you have some money coming in.
- The most important one is having a friend in the bank.
7. Top Three or Five Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
The top two would be failure and crazy. It’s very hard to succeed on your first product. You will probably fail five, six, or seven times before that. Also, you have to be a little bit crazy to leave a perfectly good 40 hour a week job to work 80 hours with no pay.
“You have to have a belief in yourself, perseverance, and a never quit attitude.” – Fred Cary
This would cover three, four, and five and give you a chance for success. There will be fires to put down and disasters to fix every day. You have to have these three components to fight the failure, as the first two are not enough for that.
8. How Do You Deal with Stress and What do you do to recharge?
IdeaPros is a startup partnering with 300 startups. There is a lot of stress, frustration, and delays included. I am an empathetic person, and I feel my partners’ pain. If they feel I don’t care about them and their products, it gets to me. When these things happen, I take a deep breath, relax, and realize there are things you can control and a bunch of stuff you can’t. I can’t control the macro environment, a pandemic, tariffs going up, etc.
“You have to step back from the stresses of the things you cannot control and only deal with the stresses of the things that you can control.” – Fred Cary
Only when you learn to step back and relax will you be able to deal with the obstacles that come your way. As long as your answer to, ‘’Am I trying as hard as I can?” is YES, you will be able to handle the stress.
The “Idea Pros” at IdeaPros have the resources, experience, and tools to help you at this step or any step in the entrepreneurial journey.
We partner with entrepreneurs at any stage and who are ready to invest their ideas. Apply for an interview and let’s explore partnering together.