Rethinking Product Launch Strategy To Create Success By Design With Tracy Hazzard From The Dr. Nilda Show With Dr. Nilda Perez
How do you craft a product launch strategy to create success by design? How do you leverage your ideas into profit? Let’s find out as in this episode, Tracy Hazzard is interviewed by Dr. Nilda Perez of the Dr. Nilda Business Foresight Show. Tracy talks about finding your demographic and testing your product for fit. We learn more about product life cycles, striking while the iron is hot, and out-innovating yourself. Tune in to learn more on the design process and what it takes to launch a successful product
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I have another fabulous guest. I’m very excited. One of the things that I do is go out of my way, constantly scooping up people who are creative and innovative to bring you those people and to show you all the things that you can do. I have with me, Tracy Hazzard. She is an Inc. columnist and also a product strategist.
Tracy has a Bachelor’s in Textile Design, but she’s taken that degree so much further. She holds 37 design patents. She has an unprecedented 86% success rate, which is good. For many years, Tracy has been pushing businesses to rethink their product lines, strategy design, build success and increase revenues. With me is Tracy.
Thank you for having me.
It’s awesome having you here in beautiful Florida. It’s nice. The weather is perfect here.
I know, it’s been a great day.
Tell me what are the three keys to success when launching a new product? We all have an idea and think we’re inventors. I’ve come up with some good ones, but how do you do a successful launch?
7 out of 10 consumer products fit. I’m in the consumer product world. This isn’t like business-to-business in which business-to-business products tend to do better. Industrial products do better. Their track records are better. 7 out of 10 consumer products fail in mass market. Walmart, Target, Amazon, all of those places fail. 14 out of 15 at HSN, QVC, that Home Shopping Network, you’d think they’d be successful because you’ve got somebody up there pitching it. Shouldn’t they be better at it? They failed 14 out of 15 times. That’s from their best pitchman who gave me that number.
Isn’t that crazy? To me, those are gambling odds. I was like, “How would I do that? Why don’t I go into a business that had gambling odds? That’s terrible.” We said, “What are we going to do about this? We need to be successful. How are we going to be any good at our jobs? How are we going to serve our clients if we have those kinds of odds? Let’s analyze the products that do well in the marketplace and the successes we’ve had in the past and our clients have had, and see if we can find anything similar about them.”
We studied them hard and we came up with three things that work. It’s doing the right things in the right order with the right resources. I know that sounds super simple. Why wouldn’t you do things in the right order? It happens so often that inventors get themselves out of order. You start prototyping because you’re an engineer and you might have a lot of fun over there or want to make it in your garage. When you start in that wrong part of the process, then you have to redo and redo.
The length of time it takes to get to market, you tend to risk failure because there’s a speed-to-market necessity in the consumer product world. That’s where some things started to fall apart. We started looking at and saying, “What is the right order or what works?” The crazy part is that it doesn’t work to have the product first. It works to have the market proof first. Is there a fit between the market that I have access to if you’re already in business?
If you already have a company and you’re servicing any particular market area, let’s say, it’s teen girls or something like that, “I have access to teen girls. That’s a fantastic market to be in, but what if I want to diversify my market? Let me go for 50-year-old women thinking that they’ll buy for teen girls, so they’re going to be our market too.” It doesn’t work like that. You have to go with the market you have now and say, “What else fits that market? What else do they want to buy? Where can that fit?” You have a better likelihood of success because that’s where you’re testing.
You need to have that audience already. You can start building that audience.
You can go that way. You can go building an audience to check, but it costs more to access that market. What you want to do at that stage is you want to build more market proof. This happens so often, people come to me and they’re like, “I want to get seed capital. No one will invest in my idea.” I said, “Where’s your proof that it works? Where’s your proof that the dogs will eat the dog food?”
Even in that world, we want to know, “If I invest in you, is somebody going to buy it? Is somebody going to use the app? Is somebody going to buy your product? Whatever it is, I want to know that there’s a market for it, or I wouldn’t invest in it.” If they won’t invest in it, why should you be investing your own money in those early stages? We work hard when we don’t know if we have a market for something yet, but we have a cool product idea.
We work hard to test that market in the lowest-cost way possible to see if we can do it. Lots of companies do beta tests. You’ve heard of beta testing. You do a beta test, but you must beta test with the best possible fit for your market. Often people think, “Kickstarter, great beta testing. I’ll see if there’s a market, I’ll go on Kickstarter.” That’s terrible if you intend to sell in Target tomorrow. If your future is to sell in Target, Target is 85% to 90% women shoppers. Kickstarter is 70% 25-years or younger men with no money.
If they pick your product and say, “It’s a Kickstarter success,” it’s likely to be a huge target failure later. You have to market test and get market proof with the market you intend to go after. Finding a fit for that. My best way is let’s say you’re going to make juvenile or teen products, go for where those moms are, go for where those teens are, find them. It’s easy to find little groups, meetups, whatever it is that you can do and say, “What do you think of our product? Would you buy it? Would you pay for this? What if it was this color?” Test everything about it and get some data.It doesn't work to have the product first. It works to have the market proof first. #ForesightStrategiesShow #DrNildaPerez #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
When you say test, does that mean your friends and family?
Is it 5 or 10 people?
No. It can be in the early days. At some point, you’re going to have to make a prototype and spend some money to do some of those things. In the early days, you could do 5 or 10 people, but they must be in that demographic and psychographic of who you want. You don’t want them to know you. That’s the key. If they know you, they’re either going to do 1 of 2 things.
They’re going to be super nice to you and they’re going to go, “Your idea is so great. Everything you come up with is so wonderful,” or they’ll be the opposite of that. They’ll go, “No, this is terrible. Don’t do it,” because they’re afraid for you. Both of those come out of a place of love, which is not a good way to be truthful about whether or not it’s going to succeed in the marketplace.
In terms of numbers, what is a good test market?
There are some apps out there, so you can compare yourself. If there’s an existing product in the market, you can do a side-by-side test with the target demographic. They’ve found that even 100 people are statistically significant enough to be able to tell. You can do some of those tests for less than a couple hundred dollars to get a side-by-side comparison.
We did a line of gaming chairs for a client. They were like, “Would you buy this chair or this chair? If you bought this chair, would you pay $50 for it or $100?” There’s a series of five questions. They targeted moms, teen boys between the ages of 11 and 14, and had to have an annual income size of whatever. They had a perfect audience of that and tested it out. They did it with 100 and 300. Same numbers, it didn’t matter. You would get a better answer. Why spend more if you’re going to get the same answer?
That product did well?
It did do well.
Will they sell that product?
In this particular case, it was a Target item.
I love innovation. This is what I thrive in. This is what I live and sleep, walk and talk. How do you stay innovative product after product?
For me, innovation is a continual thing. I’m sure you probably talk to your clients all the time about stacking S-curves. Every product has a decline. Before you’re at that top of the S curve and it’s coming down again, you want to have your next product on there. We look at opportunities within your core demographic, psychographic, product category, analogous product categories. We’re always looking at that for our clients. Where can we expand into and how fast can we do that for you?
In our world, the consumer product cycle can be very short. It can be 6 to 18 months. We always look for that. Sometimes we get a five-year product, and it’s super exciting to get a great return on investment, but you don’t count on that. You have to constantly stack those. We look for smaller areas of innovation. It doesn’t need to be gigantic. The people who are sitting out there waiting for gigantic are going to wait too long, and they’re going to miss the mark a lot.
Somehow when you’re always on the lookout for what’s some new innovation, the area I can be on the uptrend on? It’s constantly keeping up on that and in that mindset of always innovating. That mindset is key. When you’re in there, you’re going to hit yourself on the trail of that. That’s where you want to go and stay. We always also recommend an in-house and an out-of-house strategy because sometimes your in-house team is too busy with the day-to-day firefights to see the big picture of what’s going on in the marketplace.
They used to call it, at Xerox and other places, as skunkworks team. You want somebody to like, “Should I try 3D printing, virtual reality, augmented reality? Does this have application for me?” Why not commission a project outside and get an outside viewpoint in? If it seems viable, then bring it in. You marry those two. There are lots of great innovative companies. When I worked for Herman Miller, and Herman Miller invented the Aeron chair, this was 1994 or ‘95. I’m dating myself as to how long I worked there and how old I am.
When they worked on that, they had a focus group did it. If they hadn’t started with an outhouse team within a consulting team and brought them in, it would have never flown because it would have been too outside of the realm of possibility for them. Because they took it out and then brought in, it became a reality. It got excitement and grounded. It’s an icon. Many years later, it’s still one of the best chairs. I still own an original one. It still works. That innovation can happen if you marry those two things together. You’ve got to get an outside view. You know that.You have to market test and get market proof with the market you intend to go after. #ForesightStrategiesShow #DrNildaPerez #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
When you talk about innovation, I love the S curve. That’s one of the things that we talk about a lot is that when things hit the market, they’re already outdated. The thing with innovation is that it has to be fast and timely. You can’t jump in too early. You can’t jump in too late. It has to be the right timing, but you have to have the mindset of evolution of change. This chair is great. You have one product.
There’s no way that you can have an entire business running at one product. You need to continue, “How can I make it better or what can I add to it?” How many clients come to you that tell you, “This is my one product?” Can you help them with a strategy to make that product better or to add other things to that product?
When we have an existing client that has a broad product line, and we get a lot of them, their product lines are almost bloated. They usually wait too long to cut a product. I think the bigger problem isn’t introducing new ones, it’s getting rid of old ones. They hang onto them too long. Your operational excellence is dragging down your revenue. You don’t even realize that operational cost, especially when you’re inventorying a lot of products. They’re like, “We spend so much money on tooling or we did all of this.” They’re worried about that investment, “Did we recoup it enough?” They’re afraid to let go of it.
The reality is that the cost of that is a lot higher. When we come into a client like that, we do three things. We cut. We go through the program, and we cut the ones that don’t look like they have long-term viability and are dragging down the margins and the operational excellence of the company. You’re talking about cutting babies sometimes, “We’ve had this forever. Clients are going to go crazy.”
When I worked for Herman Miller, I was doing their surface materials. They had 600 different colors in SKUs. Their community was architects and designers. They said, “If we cut any of these SKUs, the architects and designers are going to go up in arms because they say we don’t even have enough choice.” They’re always complaining that it’s not fancy enough. I cut it in half. I cut it down to 300, and then I added only 60 back, but I added 60 that were breaching SKUs. We call that cleaning where we bring in the next part of it. We cut and then we clean.
We bring in things that are going to add longevity to the existing program, the stuff that are still there. Sometimes we have to clean those up too. We recolor them or add a new pattern or things like that. We do that a lot, maybe add a new feature. Whatever that is, we call that cleaning. When we do that, the program, even though it’s still pretty old, it gives it new liveliness. It’s fresh. All during that time, for most clients, that’s a six-month process. It’s three to analyze and cut, and three to bring in those slightly new ones, and then we bring on brand new, innovative SKUs.
We bring in between 9 months and 1 year, so the whole process can take one year. When we do that, they now have spent a lot of time getting more and more excited about it, but they’ve also raised their revenue to be able to afford new tooling and inventory purchases. We’ve created an opportunity for them to do something that they didn’t think they could do, which was expand their line. That’s how we do it, cut, clean and create.
Everything is three steps. You go from textiles to products. How different is that?
I’m married to my partner, Tom, who is an industrial designer. We both ended up working a lot in the furniture industry in the early days. There’s such a marriage when you’re designing a piece of furniture or a chair between the structure, the engineering, the design of it, and the materials that go with it. Because of that Aeron chair and that earlier working, the material itself became such a structural element of that chair, that function and materials go hand-in-hand. That’s the way we always operated.
We started looking at that from a holistic view of how we can design those two things together. Our products are a lot more integrated into color, materials, finishes, function and form, and all of those things together work well for us and make the way that we design seamless. I don’t have to sell someone on, “Let’s make it in a new color.” I don’t even have to sell it because when the first design is shown to them, they’re like, “That color is great,” because it was already there.
In a world where 7 out of 10 consumer product launches failed, how do you flip the odds to get that 86%? That’s high.
When I was talking about that process and starting at that market proof first, that is a seven-step process. This is the difference. Most people go into the what, to the prototypes, the product. They go there first. We instead go for that proof like, “Is there a fit between the market and the product?” We go from proof to planning. We start thinking about the plan for things and what does this have? As we think about the plan, where is it going to be marketed? Who’s it going to be marketed to?
Now that we know some of those psychographics, then we think about the price before we prototype it because the cost is designed in. If you’re going to design something, you know how much it’s going to cost. There are two ways to look at that, market basis cost or cost basis. You’re coming from what costs to goods are. You have to know which way you’re going. Too often, when you start with the product, you always end up in a cost basis, and then you find out it’s too high for your market. That doesn’t work.
Here, we are selective about the features we design and the criteria. We then go to prototype next. We prototype it perfectly to fit the market because we know who we were targeting to fit the price point because we know that price point. It fits our plan of how we’re going to market. How are we going to display it? How are we going to package it? Is it going to be on a shelf? Is it going to be sold on Amazon?
It matters what you’re doing there because I don’t need to spend a ton of money on packaging, it’s just going to be on Amazon. You’re designing out those things that don’t matter for this initial stage. From there, we go to patenting because we don’t patent before we prototype. That’s crazy. It’s a waste of money. Many people waste money on patenting because they patent too early, and then they have to re-patent. That’s costly or take too long to patent at that point.
We always started a provisional, keep it low cost too. From there, we go right into thinking about how it’s going to be produced. We have to start to plan and project. What are the projections? How much do we need to buy? How much of the inventory is it going to be? We start thinking life cycle, but we’re also thinking the launch cycle. This is the problem.The bigger problem isn't introducing new products; it's getting rid of old ones. #ForesightStrategiesShow #DrNildaPerez #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
A lot of people only spend enough money to get that first run made. You don’t save enough money or conserve enough money to both market and promote it. You also don’t save enough money in the process to buy enough inventory. In retail, if you don’t have access to a line of credit or a capital for nine months, you’re going to be in trouble because you may not get paid by Target or Walmart for months and months. You’ve got to buy more inventory and replenish it. You’ve got to buy all of that before you even get paid back, so that’s a long cycle. That’s where we go.
We project and then we produce because you’ve got to produce it. You’ve got to make something. We want to make sure that there’s money in the plan for promotion. Nowadays, it doesn’t matter whether your stuff is in Target, you’re still responsible for your brand and promotion. You’ve got to conserve money. It’s the most expensive part of building a company right now.
Building a brand is a promotion. It costs everywhere. That’s our path that’s very different. That’s what flips the odds for us because of the order we do it. We can do it a lot faster so we don’t miss the opportunity costs. It does cost to miss the times. If you miss the market, it costs you too. If you’re too early, that’s bad, but if you’re too late, that’s terrible. You don’t want to miss that by taking too long to design and develop.
Typically, what is the timeline from the idea to getting the product?
I’d say that for a consumer product, getting on a shelf takes a lot longer. It could take you eighteen months to get a placement in Costco. It took us about eighteen months to get a test run at Costco and almost two and a half years before it was there full-time. That cycle can be very long. You don’t want to spend a lot of time in the beginning, taking a long time in development because things will happen.
Things will change along the way anyway. We look at anything. If it can be done in less than six months in terms of design and development, then it’s worth doing for us. That’s why we personally don’t do things that have apps and lots of software complications because that adds hours and hours of time. We personally don’t do anything that requires FDA approval. It’s like a big unknown how long that’s going to take to get to market. We keep it within that. For us, six months is ideal.
I hear a lot about your disruptive innovation like 3D printing, AR, VR, AI. Are those innovations real and how might they change business in the retail and the future?
I write a column for Inc. It’s in their innovation section of Inc.com. They came to me because originally, I gave a speech about makers making profits. In that particular case, it was a 3D printing trade show and that’s what they were doing, but you’re going to make things. Somehow, you’re going to do that. You’re going to do VR and AR. In my world, why are you going to do it if you’re not going to make money? It needs to be applied to technology. To me, that’s the best use of technology. Let’s apply it. Let’s not play games with it.
When I write articles about all this disruptive technology, that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for little things that are hints that can be applied and applied successfully. I have to say I was the biggest critic of virtual reality and augmented reality. I thought it was for gaming. Because in my world of innovation, we’ve been talking about it for 20, 30 years. It seems old in that idea of technology. It’s never going to happen because it still looks like little disjointed robots. It doesn’t look good. To me, my thought process was still not there yet and it was never going to be ready for primetime.
The reality is I’ve seen a lot of great applications. I’ve seen great application in education and in helping our kids. You might have a textbook. You can pull out the data from there, take a look and dissect a frog virtually. Isn’t that cool? That’s great. Delta Airlines has done something with virtual reality and augmented reality where you can sit in your seat and go, “Does this have enough legroom for me?” Check it out.
There are lots of great applications that make sense aren’t gimmicks and games. When I started seeing that, I came back and my husband and partner goes, “What did they do? Do they feed you Kool-Aid? You’ve lost it. You’re like all AR and VR, ‘It’s very cool.’ What’s going on?” I was like, “I see now such a great application to the way that we want to interact with the world around us and our next generation. Our kids want to interact. We always have our phones on us.” I have young kids too. They go on the tablet and they’re like, “Why can’t I click there? Why isn’t information coming up?”
Once that world is filled out with all kinds of details and paths for us to take, and we’re in control of that, I liked that better. I see a future and a lot of applications for those technologies in many industries. The mistake that I think is too many companies take too long to figure out their application. 3D printing has been a good example of that. They’re waiting and aerospace’s adopted it because it’s cost-saving for them. They don’t have to make expensive airplane parts that they inventory. They can make parts on demand for low volume.
There are all sorts of ways that they can do that. Why shouldn’t a shoe store has virtually made shoes that fit your feet perfectly or insoles that they can create right there on-site, so your feet don’t hurt when you’re wearing your high heels? They’re perfectly fits your foot. There’s no reason not to. With the speed of what’s coming along and the costs coming down, there’s no reason. We wait two days to get stuff from Amazon, why not print it on demand? That’s the future.
Jane McGonigal wrote this book, Reality Is Broken. I read this several years ago. To this very same point, why can’t we take virtual reality and create scenarios for real life problems?
In some cases, there are things like that doing and it needs to happen. I saw on the news where someone who’s got tremendous shoulder pain in one arm or has lost a limb, and they’re still having Phantom pain. They can use a virtual reality wand on the other hand. In-camera, because it’s right against their face, in the virtual reality world, they’re seeing that sore arm moving, and they can be pain-free for days afterward. Their brain has been convinced that it’s there, that it’s not hurting them anymore. It can move. That’s amazing to me. That’s the perfect application for something.
When we can apply it in a way that we’re not doing something evil, which can happen. When we’re playing in a way that’s improving the world, it’s amazing. We see a lot of this 360 Video. It’s a big deal. I see some of that and I think about this that there are kids who will never be able to travel outside of their home. They live in a world in which they can’t go outside because they’re allergic to everything or you’re housebound or whatever that might be. Think of all the places you can visit and all the things you can look at. It can feel like you’re right there. Those experiences are worth doing and experiencing.You don't want to miss the market by taking too long to design and develop. #ForesightStrategiesShow #DrNildaPerez #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
We can do it. All of these years, why do women’s shoes still hurt?
Here’s why. It’s because there are very few women designers in the world. If there’s anything that I can do, I would love to inspire more women to become designers in this world. There is not enough of that. I travel to China, and sometimes I’ve done it 5, 6 times a year. I go there constantly for my clients and do that. I have yet seen a woman designer in any factory. We very rarely see women being anything but the translators or sales assistants in that process. We have seen and are very impressed by a couple of women factory owners, which is amazing, but they still don’t have designers on their staff.
In this world, there are very few designers in our clothing, shoes and product purchases. They’re just sourced. It’s the same thing. You go shopping at Target, but Target buyers go shopping in Asia or Indonesia or India. They don’t design anything anymore. Unless you’re at like top-level brand names, there’s no designer in the process. When there’s no designer and no women, this is why clothes don’t fit in, and the products are not great.
Why aren’t sizes all universal?
They haven’t changed in decades. They’re archaic in the way that it’s all based on how much sells in a certain size and then they buy that for next season. If they didn’t offer it, it’s no wonder you can’t figure out to make it again next year. A lot of that is going to change because we’re getting to a lot of smaller-run manufacturing. There are lots of specialties going on.
I think that Amazon has improved the game for everyone. I believe that a lot more competition at that level is going to up-level all of the big players’ games. We’re going to see a lot of retailers and manufacturers struggle, who’ve been very large brands and have them struggle because they are not keeping up with this change.
He’s put bookstores out of business. Whoever heard of the Waldenbooks? It was never heard of. He came and disrupted that. I think he’s going to keep going. The beauty is because he’s innovative and he continues to up his game.
Not just that, he’s built tremendous trust with his female audience. We control, us women, our pocketbooks control so much of what gets bought and sold in this country. It’s amazing. I’ve been an Amazon member since 1998, which is a long time. I’ve been a member of books back then. When I look at that, and I look at my sales, the purchases that I’ve made because you can go all the way through your history.
If you haven’t done it, you should go check it out. It’s cool. You can go all the way through and see how much you bought before to how much you bought now. I have a little spike. You’ll see a gigantic spike every year I had a baby. Only two of them were born after Amazon, but you’ll see a big spike in those years because you shop online and don’t go out, especially towards the end or right after you have them. There are these gigantic spikes in those years. There are always big spikes towards the fourth quarter of the year, for Christmas, for the holidays.
You can see the trend of my purchases going more and more to them and less and less elsewhere. It happens in food. My daughter is getting married. I bought my mother of the bride dress for $50 on Amazon. It’s because I didn’t have time to shop. I said, “I’ll order a bunch. I’ll try them on, and then I’ll see what fits and what looks good. Then I’ll go to a real shop when I have one weekend available. I’m so busy traveling.”
It did look great anyway, so why would I even bother to go out of the house? It looked good. Why would I want to pay more? Once that’s shifting and you get that, trust is built, and then they continually give us more. They say, “You’re already a Prime member? Have video, have this, make your kids happy. You have free time for the kids.” We’re protecting them. I’m like, “Why wouldn’t I continue to give them my business?” Now, the brands that associate themselves with that aren’t getting my loyalty too. They’re a big difference.
You talk a lot about innovation and products as assets for a business. What would you recommend for a business such as mine, which is mostly a service business?
This is the thing. A lot of our clients come out of the Amazon selling world or they’ve started a small brand, maybe they’re a small boutique company or something like that. Typically, they already have a product line completely service-based. What they realized quickly is like, “I’ve been selling these products, but everybody can sell these products. If I want to build a brand that gets acquired by somebody else, I want to build a company that is able to be sold as a franchise or outright to somebody else. I have to build up a balance sheet that includes assets.”
Many businesses don’t have an office space. They don’t have equipment. They don’t have those normal assets you would have, but intellectual property is a great asset to have. Patents, trademarks, copyrights even, it depends on your industry, all of those things are great values to your business. In some cases, inventory is an asset, but it’s also a very big liability because what if the trend changes? You want to keep any assets that you have, any patents that you have if you can keep inventory level low on that or deliver them on demand in some way, shape or form, that’s the ideal world.
Now you have added to the negative side of the balance sheet too. We look at that and we say, “How can we create this asset valuation for our company so that you can go for a multiple?” That’s your ideal. The more assets you have that are valuable, especially intellectual property or technology if you’ve got that, it can be valuable.
In your case, I think in a service-based business, you have to go for some things that might be a little harder to develop and not a straight product. It requires a combination of a lot of thinking, processing and hard product that might go into it. It might be an app, a game or a software tool. We do this product research. We go out there and you talk about market research.“How do I out best the last thing I did?” When you get in that mindset, then you're moving on to that innovation. #ForesightStrategiesShow #DrNildaPerez #podcastinterview Click To Tweet
There are a lot of market research companies out there you can hire and do market research reports for you. We do product surveys that way. We can go out and look at every single selfie stick on the market or something like that. We say, “What price point are they in? What material are they in?” We do a gigantic survey on them. Wouldn’t that be great if that was an easy online tool that would pull from everywhere and do that? I think it would make my life easier.
If I made my life easier, think of how many clients I can license that out to or find that out. Now I have a big asset that I can do something with. When we start thinking about things like that, that’s maybe more ideal for service-based businesses to do that or exclusively license someone else’s technology. Having an exclusive license is an asset as well.
It’s amazing because when we met and you start talking about innovation, I was like, “There’s somebody else who talks like me. We speak the same language.” To me, that was so fascinating. When you started telling me about product development and how you do this, that blew me away.
We’re in a world where everybody is getting to this point of which they think that it’s competitive. It’s like, “How do I beat out my competition?” or whatever, and I don’t look at it from that sprint. I want to be in competition with myself. How can you innovate yourself? How can you out-compete yourself? That’s when you live in Nike and Apple territory. That mindset of like, “How do I out best the last thing I did?” When you get in that mindset, then you’re moving on to that innovation.
We call it an intentional invention. We’re always intentionally thinking about what is that original thing we can give? What is that unique selling proposition? You can call it USP that happens in the industry. What is that original thing that I can give? Because that original thing makes me competitive and makes me in my own, we call it ‘me only territory.’ I’m the only person you want to get it from. When you live in that mindset all the time, you don’t worry about your business getting disrupted because you were already ahead.
You don’t have to worry about competition. There is no competition because you’re competing against yourself. You’re always ahead. That’s what I sell, that innovation. I pull it into an innovation machine because it has to be perpetual. It has to be like, “Now I did this. We have this master. Now the next thing.” It has to be a constant evolution. That’s how we grow. Even on a personal level, when you’re constantly thinking creatively and bringing up new things and meeting you, spending time with you.
I’m listening to you talk about products, and you’re so passionate. That’s why I asked as a service, how can I have that? That’s my next best thing. We have to create something big because it’s such a reality. We need to constantly think this way and looking for a new thing, and what’s the next and better thing. As you said, not worried about the competition you have with other people in your industry, but outcompeting with yourself.
It also brings your business to a new place. It means that you are a competitive employer because who doesn’t want to work at the company that’s so cool, who’s cutting edge and thinking in this mindset? It means that you haven’t gotten complacent about anything in your business. If you’re not complacent about your business, you are a desirable place to work. You’re at the top of your game. You’re making revenue. You’re going to stay ahead of that.
To me, at the end of the day, this is a profitability plan. This is the way that you are going to build a better sustainable business. I don’t mean that from a green standpoint. Green might be a strategy for you, but it’s not as important as sustainable because I want to sustain employees, my team, and the growth in the marketplace.
I want to sustain my customers. I want to always have a cutting-edge solution or service or product so that my clients can have the best life. That’s how I see it. I don’t see it as mine. I see it as I need this so that I can give it to you. Here you go.
The people are always like, “Why do you have this plan for your business?” We do it where many of our customers, our clients get bought out by some bigger brand or something, and then we’re out of a job. They’re like, “Why would you do that?” I was like, “If they do that, that means I did my job so well for them.”
I got them from $100 million to $300 million, and then they got bought out, and I’m not in the shot. That’s okay, or I got them from $100 million to $300 million, and I built them a system, and they don’t need me anymore. It’s still a great plan because I sustained them, the marketplace, the buyers, everything. To me, that is a success. It’s a win. It always pays you back in referrals, so I don’t worry about it.
Thank you so much. Is there a takeaway that you want to leave the audience?
Be original. Thinking about those innovations and original ideas, it doesn’t have to be destruction for your business. It can be profitable for your business. I think that’s the biggest thing that I want people to take away from my innovation column, my business, and what you do. It’s so important to think about that as a revenue-generating strategy.
Thank you so much. I am so blessed to have you here and to have you as my guest. I definitely have to have you back. I’m going to have you back when we figure out a product. If they want to get hold of you, how do they do that?
Thank you so much for being here. I’m so blessed. Until the next episode, I’ll have another awesome guest for you.