The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Powerful Partnerships!

As a retail product expert, and working with the industry leaders in the field of placing products on retailer’s shelves (or on TV), I am honored to be partnering up with one of those industries experts – Jim DeBetta.

Jim and I have decided to join forces to help budding entrepreneurs get the education and connections necessary for placing their products into some of the world’s leading retailers like Wal-Mart, QVC and Target.

With our combined knowledge, experience, and deep retail connections, I really believe we can help change the way entrepreneurs enter the BILLION dollar retail business, and do it successfully!

A little about Jim- Jim has successfully sold millions of dollars of products to the world’s largest retailers.  As a highly sought-after speaking and author in the  world of  retail selling, Jim has  helped thousands of inventors and consumer product entrepreneurs get their products developed and sold to retailers all over the world.  Jim is the co-host of the weekly radio show  Launch, is a  staff writer for Inventor’s Digest, and has been featured  in leading publications and websites  such as Entrepreneur, Business Week, and Newsday.

 It is our pleaser to offer our expertise to you, the next generation of product entrepreneurs!

 This is a taste of what to expect from Jim and I in the coming months regarding helping you understand the retail world, and motivating you to take action with a product idea you have.

 Q & A with Jim and Kim:

 Q. What are the main steps for developing and commercializing a product? 

Jim. While there are many steps to follow to ensure your product gets developed correctly and ready for retail, the main areas you must focus on are:

  • patent searches and filings
  • consumer surveys
  • design and development of the product
  • finding a trustworthy manufacturer to produce the product
  • branding
  • sales and marketing

Kim-From a manufacturing perspective, the most frequent dilemma we all face in our first attempts to bring a product to market is- Do you have to make samples/inventory to show buyers to get their attention and orders? I do not want to undertake the samples and manufacturing process before I know if I can sell my product.

YES- I as an agent can show a buyer a sell sheet of a new product, however, if he or she is interested, they will request samples. So, it is a catch 22, you have to take the risk of manufacturing samples/inventory to show the market.

Q .How long does it take to develop a product? 

Jim- On average, it usually takes about 9  months to a year from the time you get your product idea down on paper until samples are being produced from the factory. There are many steps along the way and often some of them take longer than you anticipate.

Kim- I cannot agree more with Jim, it is a process that cannot be taken lightly. I view product development as a recipe, with many ingredients. The ingredients are the components that will make the recipe (product) good or BAD. If you do not have all the components identified and sourced, the manufacturing of your product will be frustrating and cumbersome. I always recommend that a good solid product development program include accurate specifications sheets. The blue print for making your product! If you do not have the road map for the factory, they will get lost and spend serious amounts of time wandering around lost.

Q. How much does it cost to develop a product for retail? 

Jim-I have seen products get developed for retail stores for just a few thousand dollars and I have seen ones that cost tens of thousands of dollars and more!  It all depends on the complexity of the product and of course having the right team to guide you to help you save money.

Kim- I too have seen the cost spectrum all over the board. The items that tend to drive up the costs of manufacturing are usually ones  requiring the tooling. These are the tools needed to create injected parts, and components. I am a firm believer-and I know Jim is also- of not being undercapitalized from the beginning of a product being developed. Same thing with a good recipe, quality ingredients sure make a difference in the taste. Same for product development, and if you do not have to spend time chasing money to get started, the process can be much more pleasant, and less stressful.

Q- How does the world of infomercials work? 

Jim-This is a highly competitive world where thousands of people submit their products to DRTV companies with the hope theirs will be chosen to run on TV.  Having a beneficial product that normally would retail for 20.00 or less and has mass appeal gives you the best chance for getting aired. If your product is chosen by the large DRTV companies, there usually will be no cost to you to get the product on TV. However, he who pays, says, so be realistic and understand that you will give up much of the profits to the company and receive a royalty on all sales.

Kim- QVC is a great example of DRTV (direct response TV). Unlike a typical DRTC company Jim describes above, QVC will not pay for anything, and the vendor of the product will be finically responses for the entire process. However, QVC is a great launch pad. Why? They require small inventories (usually 3000 pieces) to test, and the product get instant national exposure and good or bad results. QVC route, you do not loose or give up control of your product. Win-Win!

Q- Should I go about product development myself or hire a professional to help me? 

Jim- Well, like going to court without an attorney or doing surgery on yourself, you may be taking big risks when entering a world that you are not familiar with.  While you are encouraged to do as much as you can on your own, as soon as you are “out of your league” and need help with anything you should always consult with someone that knows the business and has great connections that can help you achieve success.

Kim- I am a strong advocate of a team. Just like it takes a community to raise a child, it takes a team to build a product, and make it successful. Of course, like Jim and I, we trekked out alone and built our businesses ALONE. That is in the beginning, and then we got SMART! For myself, my business really did not grow expediently until I partnered with the right team. That team consisted of great sales reps, manufacturers, and internal administration office people. Once the team was created, and the model was identified, I had the freedom to go do what I do best, while building a business larger than just what I could do alone!

 Always DREAM BIG!

Jim & Kim

Your retail products specialists

 

About the Author: Kim Babjak

Kim Babjak was born to be an entrepreneur. From her childhood days of developing products, Kim has loved all aspects of business. However, the area that brings her the most joy is helping others achieve success. Armed with her dream [...]