The Good Widget Company creates a simple solution to tangled earbuds
This one definitely goes in the “Why didn’t I think of that?” category. A friend introduced me to the Kickstarter page for a new product called Budsband. With a simple video about the invention, the Good Widget Company raised money quickly to start producing the product.
I recently caught up with the inventor, Ed Farrell, and here’s what he had to say about his success as an entrepreneur.
What is a Budsband and how did you come up with the idea?
Budsband is a simple solution to the problem of tangled earbuds. Budsband is a silicone band organizer with a minimalist design that enables you to neatly wrap and compactly band the cord so it will stay tangle-free. If you want to learn more, visit our Kickstarter page.
The origin of the idea was the frustration I had, as many people have, with their earbuds always tangling, even after carefully coiling them. I bought existing solutions, but the frustration of using them and having to unwind the cord to access my earbuds, was almost as painful as untangling. I just wanted something that was small, simple and fast.
You have had a successful, Kickstarter campaign. Tell us some of your tips for making this happen.
- Make something people want. This is easier to say than to do, but, of course, the rest doesn’t matter without this.
- Invest in a good graphic design and a professional video to increase the credibility and clear messaging of your project. Without either of these, even the best product will have a hard time getting traction.
- Have a sure plan to drive traffic on launch. Before the Kickstarter campaign starts, put together a plan including media outreach, paid advertising, and social media to drive traffic to your Kickstarter as soon as you launch. Once you have high growth, Kickstarter ranks you very high on the Popular Project pages, which drives more traffic and pledges.
- Start building media and social media relationships at least three months before your project launches. We failed on this one and paid a price.
- Research and learn from everything you can find online about launching a Kickstarter project. Others have written extensively on the subject of what works and what does not; learn from them.
What marketing techniques have you used to promote the Budsband that have worked well and why?
The most productive method we used was a targeted, opt-in email list of Kickstarter backers. We got a 10x return on our ad in several days. We also reached out to targeted tech bloggers, which got us a few, good stories.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs who have a new invention to sell?
The biggest pitfall is building a product nobody wants. Before investing much time, money or effort, research the market and existing patents to see what else is available to solve the problem you are targeting. Hopefully, your approach to solving the problem has unique, novel, non-obvious, and valuable advantages over other solutions.
Next, talk with potential customers to understand if they actually have a problem that they would pay to have solved. Google “Steve Blank” for insights on how to do this. Do not disclose your invention’s proprietary elements at this stage without a non-disclosure agreement or a filed patent.
Next, write a provisional patent application. Have a patent attorney review and submit it. Once filed and with your attorney’s blessing, you can begin to disclose your invention.
Show your product to prospective customers and anyone – especially engineers – who can give valuable feedback. If prospective customers do not offer to buy, refine your product or stop now.
If you proceed, the only objective test that really matters is to actually sell the product. Kickstarter has democratized new product introductions, and it’s a great way to test the viability of your product.
Assume everything will take two to ten times longer than you imagined, and you will not be disappointed.
It’s important you enjoy product development, marketing and selling or the inevitable setbacks will cause any reasonable person to stop.
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