The #1 Quality Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed

Have you ever heard a cool product idea from a friend, a coworker, an aunt, and thought — Why isn’t that on the market already? Undoubtedly, we’ve all had those experiences. And yet, by and large, it’s typically major corporations like Amazon, or retail giants like Target, that get their products more quickly and easily in front of consumers — even when their ideas aren’t necessarily best. Fortunately, there is an opportunity for your neighbor’s friend’s product to get in front of the masses — and its called The Grommet, an online discovery platform and marketplace. Started by Jules Pieri and Joanne Domeniconi, The Grommet’s purpose is to help entrepreneurs and small businesses get their innovative, exciting ideas in front of millions of people. For the past ten years, The Grommet has evaluated 300 submissions a week, and chosen the top three percent — including incredibly successful products like FitBit, OtterBox, and SodaStream. However, The Grommet isn’t the only thing remarkable about Jules Pieri — she’s also been named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs, and in April, she published a #1 Best Seller at Amazon for Business Entrepreneurship called How We Make Stuff Now: Turn Ideas into Products That Build Successful Businesses, which shows entrepreneurs how to successfully create and launch new products. If you’re a small company or an entrepreneur looking to launch an interesting product and successfully compete in the marketplace, you’re in luck — here, we sat down with Jules Pieri to talk about challenges she’s seen product inventors face, which distribution channels are most successful for entrepreneurs, and why you shouldn’t sell on Amazon. 1. Someone comes to you with a brand new product idea. What’s the very first thing you’d tell them to do? I would tell them to read the chapters 3 to 5 of my book, which explains where the best ideas come from, and how to assess the potential market size of an opportunity. That, above all, is the critical first step in deciding whether to throw over your life or career to pursue a startup. I do have a bias for large opportunities.
Unless you are just looking for a side hustle, I believe you should go big or go home.
My advice is borne not of some generic startup hoo-ha, but rather the observation (formed by launching 3,000 products for emerging companies) that it is just as much work to build a small business as a large one. I also know that having a large target market gives you more chances to build a full product line, which is essential to success at retail. Retailers can’t get behind single product companies — the on-boarding (legal, operational, financial) is not worth the trouble when they imagine a product sitting alone on a shelf without enough physical presence or market awareness to justify the effort. That’s the harsh reality of retail. The good news is that market opportunities are often quite quantifiable. Public data sources are your friend. Good places to start are: Google Trends. See how many people are searching for a solution to a specific problem Amazon. You can see what existing product solutions are on the market, how they are performing, and what are the market gaps. In addition, there is a whole eco-system built around quantifying sales performance on Amazon. The nefarious players use it to figure out what products to copy or counterfeit. Start with Jungle Scout. Your local Small Business Administration Office. There are rich sources of public data around many populations and markets. Their excellent network of counselors can help you mine that gold—which your tax dollars fund. Industry data. You will likely have to pay for this information. Trade shows. Attending one is the most efficient way to figure out all the players in an industry, as well as scope the wholesale buyers, existing products, and potential partners, trade associations, and vendors. 2. What would you say is one of the biggest initial challenges for makers/entrepreneurs as they try to enter the market with a new product? How would you recommend overcoming these challenges? By far and away the toughest challenge is getting the word out about a product. Digital and traditional marketing are expensive and sophisticated endeavors. At first, it can seem easy because 25% of our Makers run a successful crowdfunding campaign. But, when the attention and excitement of that intense effort end, it’s usually crickets. Which is terrifying — that’s when the real work begins. That’s why I started The Grommet and we assembled such a massive community. Someone has to help these companies build an actual business beyond the crowdfunding

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