Sounds like a dream come true has occurred among us. Through the winning combo of tenacity, a great idea, having access to the right information and support network here at StartupNation, Suzy Batiz made over $1 million in first-year revenue selling her novel toilet scent spray product line called, “PooPourri.” Yes, you read that correctly.
You may have listened to my podcast with Suzy to learn about how she did it. If not, take 15 minutes or so to get INSPIRED! Frankly, talking to her, in spite of all the effort and trials and tribulations, she kind of makes hauling down $1 million in revenue … well … easy.
So smart was she and so impressed was I, that I asked Suzy to share some of her smarts here in my blog.
Below, in her words, is some great wisdom for you to learn from:
First, how do you get from idea to having a product? Where do I start?
I say, STOP PLANNING & JUST GET STARTED: In my experience with businesses in the past, I spent excessively much time in the planning phase, and by the time it was ready for action, I was exhausted. Therefore, with this business I took on a completely different strategy: to get the concept developed quickly to see if it was worthy of my time and efforts. I contacted many of the experts in the field asking their advice without giving away the concept. I have found that one of the most valuable lessons is that there are many people willing to help you if you just ASK for help. Experts sent me their recommendations. Then I started making testers. Everyday I would send my husband the new batch and he would report the results. In less than 3 months, I had perfected the formula.
Normally at this point, I would have developed a business plan, filed for a patent, made business cards, logos, etc but I waited. I sent a few bottles to a few close friends for their testing and thoughts. They thought it was fantastic. Still the patent was not filed and business cards were not made.
Here are thoughts on RESOURCE MATERIALS & DETERMINING MANUFACTURING COSTS BEFORE FINANCIAL INVESTMENT: I started contacting manufacturers. The biggest issue a new concept faces is, “can it be produced at a price that people are willing to pay”? Therefore, I created a non-disclosure agreement and started working on formulations, bottling, etc., with manufacturers. It took much time for me to work out a price that the market could bear. For example, initially I wanted custom bottling and the turnaround was 4-6 weeks on that bottle. I knew that being new and having limited resources for funding that I had to turn quicker so I designed the product around stock bottles and sprayers. I had to sacrifice the look I wanted for a quicker production/restocking time. In essence, I was letting the manufacturer/suppliers stock the bottles for me. It was also important at this point to negotiate with the manufacturer on lead times as their normal turnaround time was 4-6 weeks. I contacted several until I found one that was willing to work with me while I was small and had “potential”to grow into the large company I saw this becoming. I was upfront about my needs and expectations, they were willing to help me out and I promised a long, profitable relationship with me if everything worked as planned. (Still, to this day, I send the entire factory cupcakes, and similar treats because I am so grateful for their help and our relationship.) They spend hours developing new products and scents for me now and it saves me a lot of time and they know it’s a good investment for them.
After all the raw goods were sourced and a manufacturer was found and I figured out a way to produce it at a price the market could bear to my surprise that it had to be at least 500% above the manufacturing total cost. You have to figure for mass market discounts, returns, etc. The time to do that is in the beginning, not in the end when it’s too late and you land a huge account but end up making no money because you were lazy upfront. I also knew that to grow quickly without investors I needed to be very profitable form the beginning, not after my production volume ramped to 1,000,000+ units. Again, I asked every supplier, “How can I cut costs”? and surprisingly, they brainstormed with me, resulting in great margins.
Suzy shares more in my next blog entry, including her approach to intellectual property (protecting her product line) and about how she got the key investment she needed to build her inventory early on. So, be sure to check back!