Product Development | Tracy Hazzard | Live To Grind Podcast with Brandon T. Adams

 

Launching Without A Runway With Tracy Hazzard From Live To Grind Podcast With Brandon T. Adams

Every aspect of the product development process should be planned to get your idea into the market. In this episode of Live To Grind Podcast, Brandon Adams gets Tracy Hazzard to share her process in market research, product design, and product launching. With 250 products that are in mass retail right now, Tracy has a lot of knowledge to share so you have the opportunity to learn marketing strategies in pricing, developing your prototype, branding, innovation, and taking your product to the market. She also shares the major hole that most people fall into so you could avoid doing this too. Tune in for some major insights that will change the way you look at the product development process.

Listen to the podcast here:

Welcome back to University of Young Entrepreneurs. In this episode, we have Tracy Hazzard. Tracy is going to jump into what she does with helping people get their products to market. We’re going to learn about the whole process. This is very refreshing for me to do another interview like this, to teach you what it takes to take your idea from start to finish and hit it to the market. I had her walk me through as if I had gone to her years ago when I had first had my idea of the Arctic Stick. She walks through the whole process, what she would do to help me get a licensing deal and what it would consist of what they do to go the manufacturing route where you want to create your own company out of your product.

It surprised me the approach they take. They go backward in the whole process, which gives them an 86% success rate. There’s a lot of great content in this show. If you want to know what it takes to get your product to market, she goes through all the details. We talk about crowdfunding too, how to use crowdfunding for taking your product to market. There are some interesting things in this show that myself and the industry as I know about this was learning too. Tracy has some great content. You won’t want to miss it.

Before we jump into the show, I want to remind you. We have our company Keys to The Crowd. We have a seven-day free course for you. If you go to KeysToTheCrowd.com and subscribe, you get a seven-day free course to teach you everything about crowdfunding. You demanded it, so I created it. You can learn everything you want, get everything you need and learn about crowdfunding.

We’re also doing weekly webinars. You can find them on our site. It’s at www.KeysToTheCrowd.com/Prodashtips. You don’t want to miss that. I’m giving you a lot of free value because I want to help you out. Maybe you can launch your next billion-dollar idea with crowdfunding. We’ll start by you learning from Tracy about everything she knows. Let’s jump right into it with Tracy Hazzard with her companies, Hazz Design and Mentors 2 Inventors. Let’s get started.

We have Tracy Hazzard with Hazz Design and Mentors 2 Inventors. I’m excited about this show because, as you know everyone, I’m the inventor of the Arctic Stick. I’ve been in this field for awhile. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I don’t know as much as Tracy here. That’s why I’m excited to learn from her and how her success rate is so high. Tracy, tell me about how you even got into the inventing field of product development. Lead into your story. Where you got started? How it led you into where you’re at?

I went to art school. I went to Rhode Island School of Design, where I met my husband and partner now. At the time, he was the industrial designer and the inventor. I was working for companies like Milliken and Herman Miller. I worked on the Aeron chair. I was doing the corporate design route and loving it. He came up with this crazy invention at the time, a stylus pen for a handheld computer. Back then, it was PalmPilot. He wanted to do this and go into business. I had left Herman Miller and was unhappy in my current position.

I said, “If you want to do this, I believe in your ability to invent things, but I don’t believe in your ability to manage a company. If you’re going to do it, I’m going to manage your company.” That’s what we did. We started and went into business together in the late ‘90s. At about 2001, early in that year, Palm Computing and IDEO, the largest industrial design firm in the world, infringed on our patent. They did. I literally went to bed in tears. We spend all this money and have all these employees. “What am I going to do?” I cried myself to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up and called the thirteen angel investors and the employees I had. We sat in a room and said, “What are we going to do?” We decided to fight it, which looking back that might have been pretty youthful and stupid, but it was what we had to do. It ended up working out for us in an unusual way.

I want to hear this because I’m from California. I spoke on the Patent Act, Innovation Act, how patent rolls and the whole nine yards. Tell me what that process looked like from the start where they took your idea, infringe on your patent, and you attack them.

Product Development | Tracy Hazzard | Live To Grind Podcast with Brandon T. Adams

Product Development: We always start with a WHY. So we start with the private phase. The private phase is your market and competitive research, but it has to start with your why and goals and budget.

 

The thing about it is it’s not straightforward. It’s not like somebody is infringing on you. It’s always complicated, nuanced, and someone’s judgment. What happened was that Palm Computing was the very first platform for developers. We know what that’s like with apps, iTunes, the way all of that works, and Google Play. Back then, that was the only game in town for that. It was the first time they had this cooperation between developers. They gave you their code. You developed a program or you got the specs for the PalmPilot ahead of time, and you developed a pen that worked with it or case.

That’s what it was like. It was supposed to be this cooperative. We kept trying to get in the catalog because back then, it wasn’t online. They kept refusing us. All of a sudden, this pen that looks almost exactly like ours comes out in the catalog. They had endorsed it and not ours. Luckily, our patent had been issued. If it hadn’t, we would have been sitting there waiting for that to happen and out of business. You have to wait before you can sue anyone. It’s not infringement until it issues.

You had to have a patent lawyer pursue this further. Did the patent lawyer work off a percentage of the case or do you pay a lot of money upfront?

What we did was we’d left it. We didn’t have the money to pay him. We had enough money for him to write the original filing, and that was it. It was about $5,000, and that’s all we had. We put $5,000. It wrote the original filing and then launched a massive PR grassroots campaign where we wrote things like, “Do we detect a bit of pen envy on our website?” It went viral at that time as viral as you could. Everybody was sending it around in email. Our site crashed multiple times because people were going to it. We wrote a complete timeline of the invention process on there, which no one ever reveals. You save that because back then, it wasn’t a first to file. It was the conception date that mattered. You usually kept that secret.

Did you end up settling out of court then?

We did because Palm Computing was trying to go public, and IDEO indemnified them. You have this complicated thing going on with who’s paying for what and who’s in charge. There’s this pressure. They settled. The problem is usually when you settle these deals, and you settle for a percentage of the future royalties on whatever’s going to happen, pretty much guaranteed that product will get killed, and you’ll get zero dollars. We may be recouped the $5,000 we spent in legal, broke even, and never got another dime more than that.

You learn from that process.

We did but we validated our patent. I was able to later license and sell it. We wouldn’t have had that if it had always been sitting in this unknown contested realm.

That is interesting to me on the whole patent thing because that’s a tough subject with the Patent Act, Innovation Act. My readers know this, but every once in a while, if you have Pandora, there’s a 30-second ad on Pandora with me talking about my patent. I signed off on this. I didn’t know what they were going to do with it. They did a whole documentary on me. Every once in a while, my friends are like, “I saw you in my Pandora ad when I was working out. There’s this Brandon Adams pops up and talking to me.” It’s so random, but it’s interesting once you get in that field how involved you can get.

You have to know what your process looks like before deciding if it will succeed or not. #podcastinterview #LiveToGrind #BrandonAdams Click To Tweet

Years ago, I found out we were being taught this case study on t.tools, which was the name of the company. Our ttools Stylus Pen was being taught in 26 universities around the world through the Harvard Business Review from a grad student at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business who had worked on a project for a teacher there. I had granted him an interview. I talked to him about it.

I thought it was like a course project. I didn’t realize it was going to turn into this gigantic thing that was being taught. People are always shocked. The students contact me on LinkedIn. That’s how I started finding out about it. They contact me because they were always shocked at the process we took. None of them would fight it with the information we had. They would never have gone to the mat on it.

I want to jump in launching without a lot of runway. You had an 86% success rate, which blew my mind. They say 1 in 1,000 inventions make more than initially invested. If somebody out there has an idea and a great product, tell me about the process you go through with your clients to help them get that to market.

We have 35 patents. Our 86% commercialization rate is on those, but we also have 250 products that are in mass retail. Most of them are. Mass retail cycles in and out. It might have been 1 or 2 years that something was in. We have one product that’s been in Costco for four years, which almost never happens. That’s our platinum record product.

What’s that product?

It’s the metrics office chair. It’s a mesh office chair that sells for $99. In fact, it might be on sale for $79. You can occasionally find it for that. It’s great, and people love it. I go in people’s offices all the time, and I’m like, “I see you have a CMI chair.” It feels gratifying to be that designer, but it only happens because we don’t bring to fruition products we know won’t succeed. That’s our key. The process we do things is out of order. You think for a couple of designers make would be first but make it is last.

Tell me how you put them through that thorough process. Sometimes the greatest ideas that are innovative may get shut down right away. What does your process look like for deciding if it’s going to succeed or not?

We always start with the why. We start with what we call the prove it phase. The prove it phase is like your market and competitive research, but it has to start out with your why, goals, and budget. If you don’t know that you only have this much resources or you only have this access to a particular target market, then you can’t be as successful as possible. We know exactly who our channel is. We always know how it’s going to go. Sometimes inventors go into the product, and they’re like, “I want it to be on the shelf at Walmart, but I guess I’ll sell it on Amazon.” Those are two different design problems. Selling online has to attract your attention with a little tiny thumbnail. On a shelf, it’s completely different.

Product Development | Tracy Hazzard | Live To Grind Podcast with Brandon T. Adams

Product Development: Always do your market price based on other products. Even if you don’t have a comparable product, other products are similar in either look, feel, brand, or actual features.

 

It’s a whole another world. I sell on Amazon. I love the convenience of waking up, seeing a few hundred dollars of sales go through, and I didn’t do anything. We’ve had on the show, selling to the masses, Matt Pfeiffer. I’ve been down to Bentonville, even looked at living there at one time. That is a retail universe. There are brokers every which way down there. It’s one thing to get your product on the shelf, but it’s another thing to have it get off the shelf.

Have it sold. With that, when we look at it, we say, “If you’re in this inventor entrepreneur short runway launching.” We do this because it’s based on the Doolittle World War II Raid, where the idea is that if you go 468 feet off of an aircraft carrier, you’re dead. You only have 467 feet. I’m sure you’ve seen the movie Pearl Harbor. The younger version of that is Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck. If you go 468 feet, you’re dead. The problem for most entrepreneurs is that any one of these things can be fatal where a big company adds some runway to the end. They have a lot of money they can throw out. They make mistakes too. That’s my job to pick up the pieces for them.

They can make mistakes because they have the money, but somebody starting out, they make a mistake and it breaks them.

Our process is designed to weed out the biggest areas where that might happen and give you a direction to go that will tell you, “Is this still fitting my criteria? Maybe I need to design this. What would make me special in this target market?” It’s not all that different from what you do in a digital world when you’re trying to find keywords that you want to impact or when you jungle scout something on Amazon. All of those things are the same process but this is done with a much more understanding of looking at your actual market and what they want to buy.

I want to walk through this process to give the audience a better insight. I’m coming to you. Let’s look back years ago. I have this great idea called the Arctic Stick. I have nothing but drawing on a piece of napkin. I have this great idea to take it and make millions. I come to you. What are you going to first tell me? What are the steps that we’re going to go through to work together?

The first thing we’re going to do is talk about, do you want to have a company or do you want to have a product that’s licensed and sold? It makes a big difference what you do.

Let’s go put down both paths. When I started, I wanted a company and then I realized that I wanted to sell it. Let’s go down the path of I want to start a company.

If you want to start a company, then you have to build it for a little bit slower growth. It’s slow at the beginning but it can accelerate quickly. We want to get you eventually in mass retail. That is going to be the goal if you’re going to have a company because you’re going to have to handle that amount of overhead that a company has. You’ve got to have the volume of sales. We’re going to design it for that. That’s the number one criterion. We say, “Eventually, we want to get you on this shelf somewhere.” First though, we have to understand who’s going to buy it because if you’re going to be on the shelf, it better be women. That’s a big surprise for a lot of people.

Is it because women are the main buyers?

Women buy or influence more than 80% of the purchases at mass retail. I always jokingly say, “It’s in every category, including men’s underwear.” Everybody laughs. Think about it. At one point, your mom bought your underwear. At another point, you start buying it yourself, but what are you thinking about? “I’m thinking about the woman who might see me in this underwear.” Later, it might be your wife who buys your underwear. It’s how it goes in a cycle. There’s always a woman involved in that process. Whether or not they are doing the buying, it doesn’t mean they’re not involved in the process of saying, “Yes. No. That’s a good one. You should buy that.”

Are you going to assist the person with figuring out, define engineers to do the CAD drawings and the manufacturing? Are you one stop shop or do you have partners to help you with that?

We do both. You’re jumping ahead. The next thing we do is plan it. We don’t make anything still. We don’t engineer or draw anything. We sit down and analyze, “I know that target market. I understand what drives them. I understand what else they buy. I understand who might be my competitors here and what features they have.” I look at that, but instead of making a minimum viable product, which is a big catchphrase, we make a maximum valuable product.

We define the criteria that have to be a part of it or I will not succeed. We identify those 1 or 2 things. We don’t go for tons. We go for 1 or 2 things that make it so special if someone stops and looks, that we call giving it impact. We go from there to look at what team, resources, and equipment we do need. What material should this be? We define our design criteria, and then we design it. We go prototype. It is our fourth phase. In that process of it, the next thing after plan it is price it. We price it before we prototype it. That’s the major hole that most people fall into.

You’re doing it backwards from what most people do it, but that’s how it should be done.

You notice we haven’t patented anything yet either.

You price it. How do you come up with what would be a fair market price? Do you do focus groups?

No, we always do our market price based on other products in the market. Even if you don’t have a comparable product, we do other products that are similar in either look, feel, brand or in actual features. We do that, and then we do an assessment. Sometimes we do that with focus groups. We do things like easy stuff. Go for 100 people on an app, compare one side-by-side to another and say, “Would you spend $5 more for this one that has that?” We value the feature that’s important and see how much more it would be. Even if it doesn’t have it, we say, “Imagine this product had that. Would you pay $5 more for that over this one?”

After you figured out the pricing and who your market is, everything else, then you go to the prototyping stage?

We go to the prototyping stage and do everything. This is the core of our business, where we do colors, materials, and product design. We 3D print things. We make it in any materials with all of our resources. We source manufacturing at this stage but only for volume and quotations. We don’t have them make anything unless we need them to prototype for us. Sometimes, we do. It depends on the size of the product or the complexity of it. At that point, we start planning our marketing too. We get involved in our client’s marketing. We feed all the information that would be a part of a website or a PR campaign. We make sure the message and the brand all has synergy. We don’t do branding. We refer out.

You are still like the one-stop can find everything you need to get the product to market.

If you don't know your access to a particular target market, then you really can't be as successful as possible. #podcastinterview #LiveToGrind #BrandonAdams Click To Tweet

In fact, we prefer people who care about the brand and work on the brand. We would like them to either have our resources or have someone and be already caring and doing about it because brand is the one thing that we can’t fix. You can’t fix it later. Especially if it’s the higher price product and you launch with the wrong brand, you’ll never do it. We know that can be a killer point and it’s not something we do ourselves. Somewhere in that process, we patent. It depends on the prototype process, where we are in it. Once we decide what it all has in it that’s unique and patentable, then we patent.

What about people that say that you should make sure you go get a provisional patent right away so nobody steals your idea? What are your thoughts on that?

Product Development | Tracy Hazzard | Live To Grind Podcast with Brandon T. Adams

Product Development: Define your design criteria. You have to look at the team’s needs, the resources available, equipment needed, and product materials.

 

We don’t. We like to keep it a trade secret. We do sometimes when we have to. For instance, we have a patent on an interesting 3D print filament that we’re working on getting to market. We managed to make one prototype of it but the method that we had to use to make it was weak. There’s no way to do it without getting a manufacturer involved and the big, heavy piece of equipment that’s going to need to be used for it. We filed a provisional in that case because we had no choice. We don’t use NDAs, Non-Disclosure Agreements ever.

I’ve been on Shark Tank casting call. It’s funny that there are people in line that have a box. They won’t show anybody what’s inside the box.

We’re all for sharing it. We try to find ways to share it, but we share it carefully. If we’re going over and we have to have things made in Asia by sources because there’s no other way to make your prototype, we break it up into pieces so that no one knows the whole thing. We split it between the different sources. We keep it a secret until we’re ready. We want to keep your cost down. It’s $130 and maybe $1,500 with an attorney filing it for you. To file a provisional patent only gives you a year. The cycle to get on a shelf can take 18 months to 2 years. You won’t know if it’s successful. Before you have to spend all that money on a patent, you won’t have sold anything.

Success attracts success and money attracts money. If you’re making a lot of money, that’s when they steal the idea. If you’re not making any money, people aren’t going to steal your idea.

We try to be open about things and that’s when we file a provisional when we need to talk about it but most often, we’re testing ideas. It doesn’t have a conceptual framework. It’s almost like we’re doing use testing, source testing and market testing. We’re doing tiny little bits and pieces along the way and then we pull the thing together.

That’s the route for going to manufacturing. What about if somebody wants to go the licensing route?

When they want to go the licensing route, the step before we produce it is predict it. We move that process up. Predicting is all about high growth forecasting. We talk about the Coolest Cooler having issues. One of the things that they didn’t plan for and didn’t predict was what happens when you have that high growth model. You would have to choose different manufacturers, engineers and things than you would choose if you’re doing it the bootstrap method.

We always make sure we analyze that before we go into production, depending on how their funding goes. You never know with some of the people we work with. Are they going to go on Kickstarter, get crowdfunding in another way or get an investor? It all changes based on that. We have to set up a prediction method to make sure that we capture all that so they don’t go down the wrong path.

That goes into a great topic. After my experiences, I made a lot of mistakes in the process, and most people do. They don’t find you soon enough to help you. After my $100,000 of education in three and a half years of my life, I have that degree to say, “I have a product called the Arctic Stick.” What I found out is the two major factors of what people lack, lack of funds and lack of resource and knowledge on how to even do it.

That’s why I created my course, Lightbulb To Launch. I want to hear your insight about crowdfunding. I’m the king of crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is what I do. I help people raise money for an idea. That’s how I got the last leg of funding for my invention Arctic Stick on Kickstarter. What are your thoughts in crowdfunding? If somebody is going to do it, what does it look like for doing a crowdfunding campaign to launch your product to the market? What would you advise? What would be the price that you would want them to go through before even doing that?

Take the Coolest Cooler as a good example of that. You think that crowdfunding campaign would have been a huge, tremendous endorsement that they’ve sold 60,000 units and 60,000 people want it. That’s a great market proof endorsement, but then when you go wrong after that, you realize they’re not on a shelf. If they had come through my process and come with me, we would have them in Costco before any delivery problems would have happened.

You have to have a good plan for that. You have to prove that you can deliver in a mass retail world. That’s why we say we slow down at the beginning. We use only the things that will give us market proof that we can’t screw up. Crowdfunding can very easily be screwed up. That’s where you can have a campaign that goes wrong because you didn’t do your job on the marketing side. You didn’t have a big enough email list or the right email list and have nothing to do with the product, but when that crowdfund fails, all of a sudden, anyone you might be meeting with at retail will see it and go, “I don’t think there’s a market for this.” It’s the kiss of death. It’s very risky, depending on your plan.

You look at it this way. You could have a huge success, the world can see it. You could have a huge failure, the world will see it. That’s why we help people figure out how to do it right and make sure they’re funding goal enough because you don’t have the problem the Coolest Cooler had. In my mind, that would be a better problem to have, the no funding, because they’ll figure it out, but you got to learn this process and come to you to understand before even doing that crowdfunding process. You got to have the things in place, the CAD drawings, what your plan is after getting all this money and knowing what it’s going to cost to manufacture. Most people have no idea and hugely end up being double what you initially think it’s going to cost.

A lot of them do it too soon. You’re at the prototype stage, but you didn’t go for the right manufacturing sources, the prediction model, and look all those things. You also don’t understand them because you’ve never done it before. That’s where you have to get someone involved who does know the process to advise you at a minimum. The real thing about it is that you didn’t account for a whole load of things that are going to go wrong or going to be more difficult than you imagine.

Your cost of your rewards, for instance, are all wrong. They’re undeliverable at that stage. That’s a little bit what they found out. Their delivery costs were way off at Coolest Cooler. Those types of things are mistakes that can be avoided by getting the right advisor in there. You don’t have to pay anyone to do anything yet at this stage.

What would be the main mistakes you see people make when they come to you for their idea?

You mentioned that the biggest problem is funding and all of those things. In my research and some research compilations from Forbes, Inc. and other places like Entrepreneur Magazine, I’ve come to realize that the three biggest areas are market fit, product fit, the wrong plan, and the wrong resources. Funding is only about 12% of the problem. The 88% is all the other things, and all those other things are solvable.

They’re also ones you can head off before you spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on tooling, product development, and all of those things. That’s why we do our process the way that we do. You head in to. If I can check the fit between the market and the product, I’m going to get more than 56% of the problems that go wrong in a startup right at the beginning. Maybe I spent $20,000.

Do you help your clients find funding then if that’s a less important part? A lot of people come up with ideas, but the average person can’t afford to launch a product in the market.

The thing is, if your market and your product are right. If those two things are a fit, the money will come is what I’ve found from the clients that I work with. There is no problem when you have market, social and product proof. You don’t have to have a patent issued. In fact, I highly urge you not to have an issued patent before you start the process. Those things are the hardest and the biggest risk for an investor to get over.

You hear it all the time in Shark Tank, “Do you have any sales?” Sales is a form of proof, but what do you do when you don’t have sales or you can’t have sales because you haven’t made it yet? That’s the proof that we look for. We have proof that you have competitors. The investors care that you have competitors. They don’t want you to be the first in anything.

That’s true because that’s one thing. If you have no competition, that must mean there’s a sign that nobody wants your product.

Even the mass retail buyers, I can’t tell you how many times I go into Costco and they say, “We don’t want to be the first to launch this. How’s it doing at Target or on Amazon?” The funny part is that when you try to get a meeting with a retail buyer, they are Amazon checking your product at that moment. We teach our clients. This is where I work with partnerships on getting it on the shelf, on Amazon’s shelves and getting it ranking. You need a trifecta at that right moment when you’re trying to get the retail buyer to take a meeting with you, so you’re getting the right person calling them who can get a meeting.

You’re getting publicity, not in a major magazine that consumers care about but in a magazine where the buyer cares, what the buyer cares about and what do they follow? We’ve done a lot of products in the furniture world. They care what furniture says. Who’s ever read that in their normal world? No one but that’s where you want your article written. You are ranking right at that moment, even if it’s like one of those things where you throw a bunch of money into the campaign for 60 days while you’re calling on the buyer. You do it because it makes the difference.

How do you feel about selling on Amazon? I got to experience and that’s how I launched my product. It’s very easy, simple way for me. I don’t want to be creating into a company. I hands-off sell the product. I have a lot of other ventures I’m working on. What are your thoughts on Amazon for anybody that is looking to take that route, benefits or disadvantage to it?

Amazon is amazing. I am a huge Amazon shopper. Women are huge Amazon shoppers. If it’s going on Amazon, then you are going to succeed. If it’s succeeding there, that’s why buyers look at it. They know it’s going to fly. For me, if someone’s not on Amazon and they’re at that stage, I almost won’t take them as clients. It’s a path to every stage of retail business.

They help you drive traction. The reviews are big. You build it up, and then you can get a lot of traction. It’s a snowball effect, but how does that affect if you’re selling on Amazon, if you’re going to go to a retailer because of the pricing strategy?

What we do with our big clients is we make slightly different products. We make a different product for Amazon than we do for Target.

I’m selling the Arctic Stick. I sell six-pack online. Maybe in a store, I’m selling two-pack or selling a different variety of the product?

If your market and product are right, the money will come. There is no problem when you have market, social, and product proof. #podcastinterview #LiveToGrind #BrandonAdams Click To Tweet

We do a different flavor is what we call it. It will be a different finish and color. The thing is that on Amazon, you want to have a little bit more variety in terms of brightness of color and the way your photos look. You’re on a white background that’s like the Amazon thing, but in a store, it’s super busy there. There are all these things on a shelf, and it’s a self-assisted environment. No one’s directing you there or making the suggestions for you like on Amazon. “Suggested, you should buy this.” You can’t advertise to them in the store, except to get yourself an end cap, which costs a fortune even for the biggest vendors. It’s a different environment. It should be a slightly different product.

You’ve given a lot of great content. It’s refreshed my knowledge in this area because there’s so much to learn. We’ve had people from Bentonville talking product to the brokers, inventors, and everything else. Do you have your podcast show too?

It’s called WTFFF?!, which stands for What The FFF and FFF is Fused Filament Fabrication 3D Printing. It’s totally geeky, but it’s for those that don’t know what this 3D printing stuff is. “Do I want it? Why should I care about it?”

I suggest people check it out if you want to learn more about the whole process of taking your product to market and prototyping. My last couple of questions for you, which I always ask people, is what would be your top tips to give any young entrepreneur out there for success in business or life?

My top tip is to hire resources. I know it sounds intimidating that they’re like, “I don’t have money. I need to do it myself.” The reality is that time is money. The right resources are accelerators to your business and product. They get to money and revenue faster. It’s different for every product, but these are the five I consider every time I do a project. That is branding because you want to do it once. You don’t want to do it twice. You want to make sure your branding is right.

You also want the right level of a branding expert. You don’t need to overpay for this and hire these amazing New York branders if you’re not that kind of level of product. Your audience should dictate the branding expert you need. Design and engineering, I say that as a designer, but I don’t take every project because I don’t do every category. I highly recommend finding a designer or engineer in your category. We hired an engineer once to do a chair for a client that had a power in it where you could charge your phone.

You’re kidding me. Do you know the guy?

It failed because the batteries exploded. The electrical engineer didn’t know what he was doing.

That’s funny you brought that up because I had somebody reach out to me. They’re doing a Kickstarter campaign. He has a chair that has a battery inside it. He plugs in for his phone to keep it charged longer. Is that a different person?

This was a long time ago. That was an iPod chair. That’s how old it is. It’s not an iPhone chair. It went into Staples, and the batteries exploded. It had to be returned. It was a rookie error someone made who thought that they could handle batteries but they didn’t. You have to group batteries in a certain way when you do rechargeables. It was never designed to be rechargeable, and that’s what went wrong. When the buyer said, “I want to have it rechargeable,” you needed a new engineer, but when you don’t have someone who’s done it before, they make those mistakes.

This kid’s out of Florida, and he’s doing a charging chair.

Take a look at what’s going on with all the products that are exploding on the market. Anything with a battery is dangerous. Quickly that last three, sourcing. If you’re going to source, it doesn’t matter if it’s in the US, in China or anywhere else in the world. You have to have someone in person. If you can’t do it and you don’t know what you’re doing, you need someone who knows what they’re doing there.

CFO, I recommend finding yourself an outsource CFO. They’re there. Hire them if you’re not good with numbers and you don’t know how to make predictions and an analysis on, “Am I making money? Is this profitable or not?” Quality assurance is where most people make mistakes. You don’t follow the first run of your product. You have to have somebody on the ground at the factory watching it every day.

Product Development | Tracy Hazzard | Live To Grind Podcast with Brandon T. Adams

Product Development: Hire resources. Time is money. The right resources are accelerators to your business and your product. They will get you to revenue faster.

 

One other thing, do you have a book that you would suggest for anybody to read if it has to do with product development or maybe motivational?

For IT and product development, my favorite book is Rembrandts in the Attic. It talks about intellectual property, how patents and assets can become a significant asset to your company. We know that because for a lot of the companies we work with, maybe they’re about $150 million. We double their business through design and intellectual property additions. They get sold off and bought out. They were never on the path to do that before. We’ve known that those patents have value and change your valuation at the end of the day.

Tracy, you’ve provided a lot of great content. It’s good to refresh your memory in this and have the audience to understand better for the product development process. Where can people find you?

They can find me anywhere @HazzDesign on social media. My website is Hazz Design. You can also find me at Mentors 2 Inventors.

Tracy, it’s a great insight. I appreciate you coming on the show.

Thank you so much for having me.

That’s it for the show, everyone. Do you know what time it is? Go out there, create something great and become unforgettable because life is too short not to.

I hope you enjoyed the show with Tracy. I enjoyed it myself. There are some great content there. Reach out to her. If you have any ideas or if you want to take your product to market, she can give you some great insight. I got a free seven-day crowdfunding course for you if you go to KeysToTheCrowd.com and subscribe. You can get that there. I’m enjoying all this stuff.

I’m asking you to come and give me advice on what episodes you want. I’ve been interviewing some great people. Couple of episodes are coming up with some amazing people that have taught me a lot. I want to bring them to you. If you have ideas for different guests or different topics for episodes, whatever it may be, reach out to me at Brandon@BrandonTAdams.com. Let me know who you want to see in the show or if you have somebody that you think would bring great content for the show. That is it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it. In the meantime, go out there, create something great and become unforgettable because life is too short not to.

Watch the episode here:


Product Development | Tracy Hazzard | Live To Grind Podcast with Brandon T. AdamsLive To Grind

Brandon Adams