Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! by Lori Greiner



“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t”

“Entrepreneurs: the only people who work eighty hours a week to avoid working forty hours a week”

Is your idea a hero or a zero?

“Small luxuries tend to do well no matter what the state of the economy is,because  they’re inexpensive way for people to feel good and look good. In tough times, these are the ways we treat ourselves and make ourselves feel better.”

“Any inventor who wants job security should aim to create items that will be perceived as necessities. Accessories to luxury items are definitely viewed as necessity.”

“Make plans to branch out asap once you have made your mark on your target group. The broader your audience, the better your chances of making large number of sales.”

“Consumables provide continual revenues.”

“60-70 % approval rating for  new product.”

“Small percentage for approval rating is fine if you’re entering into a competitive market.”

Research your market

“Keep pitch short and simple : What problems your product solves, how it works and why your consumer needs it?”

“Present neutrally.”

“Ask if they would buy it for themselves? If this product is priced at x dollars, how much of a discount do I need to give today for you to open your wallet and buy it from me? ( lower bound of your price)”

“Ask them, if someone was to give this product to you as a present, how much do you think this is worth?”

“Don’t tell that you’re the inventor, so that they don’t mind being honest about the negatives.”

“Pricing basics break down to a simple three-pronged approach that relates to these three key bits of information:

Cost to manufacture and distribute = materials + labor + overhead + transportation.

 Then add your desired profit margin = Wholesale cost. Double that to get retail price.

If there’s freight cost, add that too before Doubling to get the retail price.”

Don’t get too greedy. Some products don’t command a 50% markup. It’s better to sell at the lowest price, taking slim margins and hope for bigger volume. The more volume, the more consumers have your product and the more word-of-mouth promotion. It’s better to sell a product at the right price than getting stuck with inventory because consumers think it’s too expensive.”

“Budget for unexpected expenses : shipping charge, business plan revisions,recalls from compliance issue, reworking from design changes.”

“Don’t overspend on image, you can get perks later on.”

“Five times free cash flow is a VC ratio to estimate when he will get back his money, which in this case is about 5 years.”

How to get funding

“Raising capital ( ranked in terms of descending easiness). : family, bank, govt sba loans, vc firms, crowdfunding(donations or equity based), govt grants, drtv( expensive), contest.”

“Family members shouldn’t loan any money with any expectations to getting it back within a set period of time. If relationship between a family member will be damaged if your business fails, don’t accept his or her money.”

“Best time to get bank loan is after you get your first purchase order and use the purchase order as a collateral.”

“Government grants, however, if you have already launched your business and want to use them to fund additional research and product development.”

The truth about patents

“Know the answers before you go on Shark Tank: ” What’s your market?”, “What will your  product cost and what can you sell it for based on your competition? Is your product patent-protectable?”

“First to file system for patent by America Invents Act.”

“Benefits of patent: protection, force you to do deeper due diligence, appeals to investors.”

“Patentability search : any patents in existence?” 

“Infringement search : are you infringing on someone’s patent by selling your product?”

“Hire patent attorney -> choose patent( utility, design, plant, provisional) -> write your claims (“independent claim, dependent claim”) -> review office action -> decide to pursue claims/ give up”

Pitch Perfect

 “To bring your product to market, find a distributor, backing from investor or appear in Shark Tank for publicity”

“If you’re prepared to pitch to a buyer, you’re prepared to pitch to an investor too. The only difference will be that an investor will press for more detailed information about your business finances.”

“Good pitches are: precise, concise, enthusiastic, exciting and animated, exude confidence, drive and dedication, explains product’s appeal and why customers can’t live without it, answers question about any part of the business, no matter how minute…”

“Have you ever been on a job interview and a potential boss asked you to tell him about your greatest weakness or biggest mistake? He is not so interested in hearing about your failures as in hearing about how you handle challenges or how you might turn difficult situations around.”

“If you made a mistake, be honest. Don’t give investors any reason to think that you would hide something from them.”

“If you’ve hired a representative firm, they could pitch your product for you… That doesn’t mean you have to relinquish all control over your pitch, however… Accompany the rep to the presentation . Speak up when and if needed. No one knows your product better than you do.”

“…perfect in that you look at it, and smile, and think, This.Is. Perfect.”

“Always go out with your best foot forward. You get one shot, so make sure it’s perfect.”

“Do what you must to get your start. Go big. Go fast and furious. Cast as wide a net as you can. Do not be intimidated. “

“What have you got to lose? Everything!”

“List of retailers across the country and the names of their most important personnel

The Script

“Hi my name is  ….. I have a revolutionary new product  and you’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a <what is the object>. It does < what does it do>. I am going to be in the city in 2 weeks. Would you have just five minutes for me to quickly show it to you in person? I think you’d be impressed by it. I’ll  set my watch and in five minutes, I’ll leave if you want.”

“No filler, no unneccessary information, nothing except the main things every buyer needs to hear before he/she will even think about giving you a chance to make a pitch:

1. A brand-new, original, product people will love

2. Exciting.

3. Quick and easy to work with

4. Ready to meet at their convenience.”

“If immediate response is no, say “I promise you this is different from anything you’ve seen before. Please, just five minutes?”

The Email Pitch

“Bullet points, pictures, videos, link to website. Make it as easy as possible for buyers to see everything they need to see in one quick glance. Short, memorable, visually enticing.”

“When you’re polished, determined and persistent, most buyers start to get curious.”

Manufacturing and Packaging

“Quality means doing it right when no one else is looking.”     – Henry Ford.

“You can put a lot of Americans to work even if you cannot manufacture in the USA ( eg. Assembled in USA, other administrative work,etc.)”

“Upholding your standards of quality and safety while keeping your product’s price point at a level that makes it attractive to customers.”

“Don’t ever turn your back on the product, no matter how good your relationship is with your manufacturers”

“The strongest swords are forged in the hottest fires.”

“Your package must telegraph everything you want people to know about your product- in a single glance.”

“Use great images to tell the product story”

“DesignCrowd : post your project and receive bids from designers around the world.”

“I would stand by a printing press and watch the first sheets that came out  to make sure  the colors were true. I would sign off on one that the printer kept and I would take another one with me.

Driving the business

“Nothing is impossible; the word itself says, I’m possible.”

“Even if you cannot promote it in-store, you can promote it outside!”

“When you get an order, your work should not end with shipping your product to the store. There is more to be done. Check how your product is displayed, where it’s displayed and make sure everything is right.”

“When you run into trouble and need to rally troops, don’t pressure people by focusing on the consequences of failure, but rather on what you could all gain with success.”

” The power of persuasion lies in making people understand the big picture.”

It’s not just what you do in the heat of the moment that can save you from disaster, but what you’ve done in the days before the disaster hits.”

“It doesn’t matter  who you are or what you have; what matters is what kind of person you are.”

“It’s always important to call out any problems or issues. Don’t be afraid to speak up and make sure things are done right.”

Beyond brick and mortar

“There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.”

Reasons for tv shopping networks:

1. Reach : slightly under 100 million people

2. Instant sales

3. Free marketing and ads

4. Free market research : know immediately if product is a hero or a zero.

5. Instant customer feedback.

“On-air demonstrators : hired by company to   be the pitch person or demonstrator on air.”

“DesignCrowd or Fiverr, which can put you in touch with free-lancers at reasonable rates”

“BigCommerce, Volusion , Big-Cartel,3dcart, Shopify, Magento allow businesses to build their own online storefront without having to go to all the trouble…”

Marketing that really works 
“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”
“The idea is not to engage them so you can sell to them; it’s to engage them so that they decide you have something interesting to say and you’re worth following.”
“Marketing on these platforms and converting brand awareness to sales, slow and steady wins the race.”
“Yes, it’s a great marketing tool, but it only works if your primary aim is to build community and engage with people.”
“Engaging means really being interestrd in hearing what your customers have to say. It means joining communities and contributing to them.”

Keep the dream going-expand and diversify
“Start with add-ons and companion pieces to enhance your idea that’s already selling well.”
“When you become good at one thing, it’s easy to  make more and more in the same genre.”
“I never tried to invent a need; I simply listened to what people complained about the most, and invented a solution.”
“What are the five purchases most women make above all else?Clothes, shoes, makeup, jewelry, and food”
“In the beginning of your career, don’t be afraid to branch out, but stick with familiar mediums and markets. As you grow and succeed, you will make the connections you need to successfully step into new areas.”

” the world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”  -Neil Gaiman
“The days may be long and the work may be hard, but I am happy. I love doing what I do.”
“Bringing an invention to life isn’t the only entrepreneurial path to bliss, or the only path to happiness and success. It just happens to be a wonderful and rewarding one for those with the stamina, determination, and courage to pursue it. That’s you, isn’t it?”

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