There are a lot of success stories out there that talk about product launches and their ability to turn someone into a millionaire overnight. There are also a lot of stories that talk about failed product launches that resulted in financial ruin. Whichever way you choose to look at it, both outcomes offer valuable opportunities for learning and reducing risk along the journey to a successful venture…that is if you choose to listen, learn, and most importantly, PRACTICE what you learn.
There are a lot of success stories out there that talk about product launches and their ability to turn someone into a millionaire overnight. There are also a lot of stories that talk about failed product launches that resulted in financial ruin.
Whichever way you choose to look at it, both outcomes offer valuable opportunities for learning and reducing risk along the journey to a successful venture…that is if you choose to listen, learn, and most importantly, PRACTICE what you learn.
Today, I’d like to share a client success story that I hope you find to be motivational and inspirational. The story encompasses all the right ingredients, including product development, product manufacturing, product licensing, and prototype development that I’ve seen repeated in nearly every successful product-to-market venture that I’ve witnessed or contributed in.
The Key Ingredients of A Successful Product-To-Market Venture
Those key ingredients include: a passion, a problem, a vision, a positive attitude, and a tenacious drive to overcome obstacles. The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday, points out the basic principles of Stoicism, in that when put into practice, it can help you blast through obstacles with a smile on your face.
Another key ingredient that I’ve noticed among successful entrepreneur is Faith. It can take many forms, including: a belief in yourself, a belief in the unseen power that created you, a belief that you are an extension of that power, and a belief that a pathway to your vision will be revealed for you to follow, but only if you seek it out.
Shortly after I launched my own product development firm in 1996, I received a phone call from a local business owner named James Crocker who was an early adopter of high-pressure water technology. He had recently started a pressure cleaning and painting business that leveraged high-pressure water to save time and money in surface preparation and cleaning. He told me that he was developing a new product and needed some CAD design support to bring his “vision” to the next level.
I’ll never forget that meeting. So vividly, I remember watching James pull up with a John Deere riding lawn mower that had a pressure washer head rigged onto the side of it.
As curious as that sight was to me at the time, what stood out the most was the excitement in James’ eyes, and his intense passion to have his vision properly designed and brought to life.
Taking Advantage of Market Opportunities
It’s no secret that throughout the product development process, taking advantage of market opportunities is crucial. In essence, your product needs to fill a market gap; it needs to provide a new solution, and it needs to target an unfulfilled pain point.
At the time, unbeknownst to me, while exploring new ways to expand his business offerings, James discovered that there were two significant problems in the world that he viewed as “market opportunities,” and he was about to fill a significant market gap.
The two problems included:
- A need for clean and efficient roadway stripe removal (which would eventually become a requirement for nearly every road in all nations) that municipalities would gladly pay to have done professionally.
- A need for accumulated airport runway rubber removal (in nearly every airport in the world) that airports would gladly pay to have done professionally.
For James, he had a vision and worked through the product development process to find a solution for these problems. He engaged in product design and prototype development to test out various ideas until he finally settled on one.
So, what was James’ solution?
- Automating ultra-high-pressure water blasting technology with broad path capability.
Along with that John Deere riding lawn mower, James came to me that day with all of the key ingredients required to foster a successful product launch:
- He had a “problem” that well-funded organizations would gladly pay to solve, if he could just build it.
- He had a clear “vision” of filling a market gap by designing and producing a wide path, rotating, multi-jet spray head that could be mounted to a moving vehicle, and enable one person to do the work of 20 (in less time, and with greater consistency).
- He also overcame major obstacles realized along his path like the responsible handling of surface debris, and controlling production cost by:
- Envisioning, designing, and producing a powerful vacuum system that contains, and enables the safe disposal of surface debris.
- Envisioning, designing, and producing a hydraulic drive transfer system that utilizes one powerful engine instead of two.
- He had a positive attitude and a tenacious drive to see his vision through.
- He had strong faith that his vision would eventually become a reality.
What Can We Take Away From James’ Story?
Just last month, James P. Crocker was honored by the US Senate as The Small Business of the Week. Today, his machines are operating in over 57 countries. He employees well over 150 people, his expanded factory is nearly complete, and his product line leads the sales of his top 5 competitors combined.
I hope this story resonates and inspires you to assemble your own key ingredients, so that you too can move swiftly through the obstacles ahead and achieve your own vision of success!