Being able to hear success and failure stories from people who have walked the entrepreneurial path many times is simply priceless. We continue our conversation with Ken Buras, Co-Founder of IN2 International, Rusty Allen, Founder of RAD Product Development and Ira Hayes, Founder of Smart Armor and Fred Cary, CEO of IdeaPros, about their product journeys and the lessons they learned along the way.
First-time entrepreneurs think they need to invent something that has never existed before to succeed. The truth is that it is often smarter to make something that already exists and make it better.
When you have a revolutionary mind-blowing innovation, you have to market it to people and train them to start a new habit. Educating the market has turned out to be very expensive.
If you have to change human behavior it makes it that much more difficult.
On the other hand, innovating something people already use and improving their user experience can make your life easier because you know there is a demand. The idea is to solve a particular problem. The more tangible your solution is the more chances you have to make it happen. There’s plenty of other stuff to figure out running a business besides how to produce a product.
“Sometimes you have the right dream, but you are working with the wrong people.” – Rusty Allen
The learning process doesn’t consist only of trial and error with the product, but with people too. Surrounding yourself with the right people makes it much easier. This journey is something you can’t do alone because there are too many different skill sets involved. Even if you somehow manage to get to the end of the road on your own and have your product ready, you won’t know where to sell it because you don’t have any connections and are not familiar with the distribution network.
“It takes a village to raise a product.” – Fred Cary
“Perfection is the enemy of good enough.” – Ken Buras
Entrepreneurs often get carried away wanting to make their products perfect. They consider adding more features, changing the material, etc. What they forget is that they need to sell something first. This is why you want to make the simplest thing you can get to market. Maybe people aren’t ready to pay extra for the great addition you have in mind. Until you prove there is a demand, you just don’t know so get your product out there and talk to people about it.
“It’s not really about what you; it is about what they want.” – Rusty Allen
If you are serious about being an entrepreneur there will be a version two. You don’t have to have it all in the first version. Investors will appreciate it, too. Developing a product is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Once you have the product, you will still need a budget to market and grow it.
Great products are more than just design and engineering. They have a persona built-in that makes people come back for more and that persona starts with you. The story behind the product is what sells it, but they have to be quality products. You may convince people to buy it the first time. Regardless of how good it is, if they are not happy with it and their experience was bad, it ends there. Be ready to investigate, recreate, go back to it over, and over again until you get it right.
Set micro-goals and appreciate the small wins. It is not easy to be an entrepreneur. There will always be challenges, you just have to figure out how to maneuver around them. Try not to blame yourself nor anyone else. With time, you’ll learn how to manage the negative side, and don’t forget there is immense pleasure in pursuing your dreams.
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.
Want to see the products we have launched? Check out the IdeaPros Launchpad!