TDD FYI: Finding The Right Market For Your Product

Finding The Right Audience

 

Even the best ideas will fall flat if they don’t get in front of the right audience. That is why many entrepreneurs quickly realize that finding the right market is one of the most valuable steps along the way for bringing a new idea to fruition.

The question is: How do you find the right market? After all, you have enough already on your plate, so you don’t have a lot of time for trying things that don’t work.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips for finding the right market for your product.

Look To Your Model

Do you have a business model? Many first time entrepreneurs know that they’ve heard of a business model, but the truth is that they don’t know how to put one together. If this is the case, then consider looking to help from a resource like Top Dog Direct. They can help you develop a business plan that will find the best market for your product or idea. A business plan is the foundation of any business, so make sure to build yours as strong as possible.

Focus-on-goalsFocus On One Thing

Being a jack of all trades is a common characteristic for an entrepreneur, but it may not help you when it comes to being successful. After all, having your hands on too many things won’t allow you to focus your attention on what makes you the most money. Instead, you can find your specific niche market by focusing your attention to what you do best. In doing so, you’ll not only provide a better product, but you’ll also become more reputable in what you do.

Find The Right Fit

Once you’ve find the right niche to scratch, it might need just a bit of fine tuning. If you haven’t had luck in one market, consider how shifting your focus and attention can help you succeed. There have been countless products that started with the intentions of being something else, only to stumble upon success as what you may know it to be now. This might be the case with your idea as well. Consider how a minor shift can make for a big difference in your business strategy.

helpLook To Other Resources

As mentioned earlier, look to a company like Top Dog Direct to help you build a business plan. The great news is that TDD can help you with a variety of other services as well. This includes finding the right target market, and then pushing your product that way. The road to success in business may look scary, but it’ll be much more appealing if you have a guiding hand who has been through your same struggles before.

Plenty of good ideas have gone unnoticed because they weren’t direction attention from the right places. If you are having a challenge finding your target market, consider the tips here. They could be just what you need to take your idea to the next level and beyond.

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TDD FYI: Why Shark Tank Is Not Ideal

shark-tank-show-abc-1940x900_35239

For those that love watching prime time television, you’ve likely seen a show called Shark Tank. If you haven’t, it revolves around the hopes and dreams of individuals as they pitch their ideas to a panel of well-known and often flamboyant entrepreneurs. Every once in a while, there is a success story of someone who pairs with one of those entrepreneurs, and the results can be a life changing experience.

bad-customer-service-300x205Then again, what you rarely see on Shark Tank is the post-production scenarios where the panel of entrepreneurs don’t go through with the deals they say they will. That’s right – there are plenty of scenarios when the sharks lose the hunger that they had on screen and post production results in the entrepreneur not getting the deal they thought they would. There are a ton of different reasons as to why this might happen, but the end result is typically a frustrated and confused entrepreneur.

However, hopeful entrepreneurs should understand that Shark Tank is not the only option for becoming a success. Sure, it’s a good way for you to get on television, which gives excellent exposure for your brand. But if you get find yourself agreeing to unfavorable terms with one of the Sharks, you could be in for a lifetime of regret.

Instead, there are equally as successful companies out there that can provide everything that Shark Tank does. A company like Top Dog Direct has a track record for turning small businesses into big successes. Unlike Shark Tank, working with TDD means that entrepreneurs have less television antics to deal with (i.e. Mr. Wonderful) and genuine one-on-one approach.  No ratings, just straight business talk.

You may be thinking that neither Shark Tank, Top Dog Direct, or any other sort of company is worth it. However, it’s important to keep in mind just how many doors one of these firms can open.

If you have driven a car before, it’s easy to navigate your way through the twists and turns on the road. However, if you’ve never been behind the wheel of a car, then even the slightest road bump may cause for some serious disruptions.

how_to_create_a_law_of_attraction_vision_board_2The same is to be said about business, entrepreneurship, and having an idea. If you have built a business, or even multiple businesses before, then the path ahead of you may not look as daunting. But if you’ve never built a business before, or if you’ve tried to build a business and it failed, then having a helping hand can be the shining light that you need. Top Dog Direct can be that helping hand that assists entrepreneurs in reaching their goals. In fact, Top Dog Direct has seen dozens of their cast off “winners” go on to trade shows and future success.

Because it’s on primetime television, Shark Tank gets a lot of credit as being the guys who find small ideas before they are big businesses. However, it’s important to realize that those sharks are not the only fish in the sea. Instead, there are companies like Top Dog Direct that can unlock doors just as well as those TV personalities. TDD has a proven track record for success, including helping small ideas turn into tangible life-changing businesses. If you want to take your idea from step one to step twelve, contact Top Dog Direct and turn your idea into reality!

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TDD FYI: How To Get Your Idea Jump-Started

project-management-career

The question that many people who have a great idea wonder is how they take that idea and turn it into a tangible product? And, possibly more importantly, how do you do so before the competitors beat you to the punch?

If having a great idea was all that it took to be successful, we’d all be much more triumphant. Instead, it’ll take a lot of effort and work on your behalf if you want to see your idea come into fruition.

In addition to that hard work and effort, you may also want to consider seeking the assistance of a company that can help you with your ventures. We know what you’re thinking: You just came up with a great idea and you truly believe it will make you millions (if not more) and the last thing you want to do is split that with a company that promises to help. After all, you’ve seen the horror stories on shows like Shark Tank, where money-grubbing entrepreneurs demand exuberant rates in exchange for ultimate control of a company and a bit of TV fame.

Well, that is the type of situation you want to avoid. However, you shouldn’t overlook the value of a company like Top Dog Direct. TDD knows what it’s like to be a small startup with big dreams. That’s why they help entrepreneurs get their ideas jump-started.

Handshake-Business-Concept-FeaturedYou might still be thinking that a consulting company like TDD might not be worth it. After all, it sounds like an added expense before any real money is even made. However, keep in mind how much money a consulting team can also help you save and earn in the long run.  These companies can help you jump-start your idea and save money, because they’ve already gone through many of the ups and downs that you may experience if you went at it on your own.

Think of all the wasted money that an entrepreneur might spend on product development or marketing that doesn’t even work. Instead, going with a company like Top Dog Direct will help entrepreneurs circumnavigate around those roadblocks. Not to say that the roads won’t be tough, but at least the assistance will be there to better increase the likelihood of success.

When going with a reliable company who has experience growing a business, you can expect:

  •       Assistance from the very beginning – including how to patent and trademark your idea.
  •       Advice on marketing – target your niche market and maximize your efforts.
  •       Build for continual growth – continue growing and reaching for new ventures together.
  •       Sell your product elsewhere – franchise your idea to others for even more money.

Maybe you have thought of some of these ideas already, in which case that’s great. But if you haven’t, then you can probably see just how helpful a company like Top Dog Direct can be. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s the beginning of the process that you’ll have to take if you want to get your idea jump-started and become a success.

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TDD FYI: The Timeline For Awarding A Patent

patent

 

If you have a great idea for a new product or service, you may have heard that you need to get a patent. Unfortunately, if you haven’t attended business school, then you may not know where to begin to have that patent filed.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here is the process to follow, as well as a general timeline for awarding, a patent.

Preliminary Ideas And Searches

We aren’t going to waste a lot of time here, because we assume that you’ve already gone this far. However, it should go without saying that you’ll need to have an idea and do some preliminary searches before you begin filing for a patent. If your idea has already been created and patented, then you will have to change your plans. In addition, searching for other patents may give you additional ideas as well.

Have A Mockup Or Prototype

The next step that you’ll want to follow is having a mockup or prototype created for your idea. If you have experience working with CAD programing or you can draw your own designs, this may not be a problem. However, not having this experience likely means that you’ll need to get assistance. Since you don’t have your patent yet, be sure to have the other person sign a non-disclosure agreement before you show them anything. This documentation will protect you in the time it takes to have your patent filed.

Provisional Patent Filing

Patents_660A provisional patent isn’t going to be what you build your invention around, but it’ll be enough to at least buy you some time while working on other elements. For example, a provisional patent can be filed while you look for investors or as you begin marketing your product. The safety that comes from a previsional patent will add protection against others stealing your idea, even though it still needs to be filed as a non-provisional patent as well.

Non-Provisional Patent

Within one year of filing for a provisional patent, it’s imperative that investors get non-provisional patents as well. This is the real patent that you will use for years to come, and it will acknowledge you as the creator of the product or service. Again, it’s imperative that this is filed within one year of the provisional patent, or else it could lead to legal issues for the inventor.

Also, mark your calendar for 20 years from now, because that’s when patents expire on ideas. At this point, the patent is no longer valid for the product that was made.

Selling Licenses

During the time that the patent is valid, licenses made be sold to others who are interested in the product or service. Investors then make money off of the selling of licenses, in addition to a royalty in some cases as well.

The patent process is something that simply cannot be overlooked when coming up with a new invention. To ensure the safety of your idea, be sure to consider this timeline for awarding a patent.

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TDD FYI: The Inventing Process: How Inventions Come To Life

light bulb crumpled paper as creative concept

 

Have you ever had a great idea for a new product or service, only to think to yourself, “What am I supposed to do next?” What makes this scenario even worse is when you later see your product or service come to fruition, but it’s at the hands of someone else who was able to capitalize on the idea. This sort of thing happens every day, and it can be a life-altering situation for both parties.

The truth is that there is much more to an invention than a good idea. In fact, there is an entire invention process that most products or services have to go through in order to be successful. Here is a look at that process and how inventions come to life.

Documenting Your Idea

patent-approvedTo think that you are the only person to have a great idea is a pretty naive mindset. However, the good news is that you can be the first person to thought of it. The only thing you have to do is document it to say as much. Documenting your idea means that you get a license or patent for it, which you can do through the US Patent and Trademark office. This documentation will do you wonders as you go forward with the invention process.

Determine Your Market

You might think that you should determine your market before you come up with a product. However, plenty of entrepreneurs will tell you that isn’t the case. That is because you might come to realize that you’ve invented something for one purpose or need, but in reality it is much better suited for something else.

Windshield wipers, the ceiling fan, lighters, and many other products were first created with different intentions aside from what they are commonly used for today. Therefore, if you have a great idea and it doesn’t hit with one market, keep in mind that you can target it to other markets as well. Being more open minded will help increase the likelihood of success for the invention.

Bring It To Life

bring-to-lifeNow that you know the what and who, it’s time to bring your idea to life. This might consist of you building a prototype if you have the ability to do so, or just a mockup if this is more reasonable. A prototype and mockup will also be useful when filing that patent, so be prepared to move this part of the process to a point where it is applicable in your city or state.

Get The Funding You Need

One of the biggest challenges that an entrepreneur will come across in the invention process is finding funding. That’s because after everything you’ve done that was previously mentioned on this list, you’ll still need to market your product to get it to the masses. Instead of running the risk of doing it on your own, working with a small consulting company like Top Dog Direct can provide plenty of benefits. Along with offering financial backing, Top Dog Direct also provides its clients with guidance and leadership with their inventions. This sort of assistance can be very beneficial in terms of the potential success for an invention.

Keep in mind that launching your own product won’t be as simple as these four steps. You’ll instead likely encounter many road bumps and hiccups along the way. But if you plan to have your invention come to the masses, you surely won’t be able to avoid the foundation of the invention process, which will help your inventions come to life.

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TDD FYI: How To Find A Great Invention Idea

Idea Brainstorming

 

Something new is being created every day. This is especially the case in the age of innovation and creation that we currently live in. But even though there are ideas all around us, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy coming up with a truly great one. If it was, there would be plenty more people playing golf instead of working their 9 to 5 jobs.

There are still plenty of great ideas out there, you just have to know what you are looking for. Here are some tips for how to find a great invention idea that might change your life.

Fulfill An Obvious Need That Is Being Overlooked

One of the first places to look for a great new invention idea is where you probably need something most. There are countless situations and problems that you might have in your home that have you thinking, “I wish this was just a bit easier to do.” If that’s the case, chances are someone else is thinking the exact same thing.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to capitalize on inventing something; and fixing a need that other people have is a great way to make sure that your invention ends up in the home of everyone who needs it.

Make Something Better Than It Already Is

Maybe the idea that you have for an invention is already out there. However, it’s possible that the way you envisioned it was just a bit better or more convenient. If that’s the case, then this is another great example of an invention just waiting to be made.

By taking something that’s already made and improving upon it, you know that there is already a target market of people who are interested. And if you can just improve upon any deficiencies that the invention has, that might be enough to get people to switch to you instead.

If you plan to go this route, be sure that the changes you make are enough to qualify it as a new product. Some patents will cover an invention and a variety of different alterations, which may limit what you can do. But by checking for this beforehand, you can avoid dedicating a lot of time to something that is already done.

Specify Your Niche As Specifically As You Can

Finally, you may need to consider just looking a bit deeper than you already are if you want to come up with a great invention idea. For example, maybe you have an idea for an invention targeted towards students. But if your market is too general, then you may want to consider middle school students, who like sports, and get good grades. Now that you have a very specific niche to approach, you can tailor your idea to meet their requests. When you start to realize how in-depth you can make the approach of your invention, you’ll realize there are plenty of great ideas left in the world.

It’ll take a lot more than a great idea for an invention to be successful. However, it won’t go anywhere without the idea as the foundation. Therefore, to find a great invention idea, consider the tips mentioned here.

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TDD FYI: Common Characteristics Of Inventors

Inventor

For years, teachers and mentors scolded me for my vivid and, what they considered to be, outlandish imagination. Ironically, that all changed the moment I became successful as an entrepreneur. It was then that these people realized that my brain worked a different way, and my ability to harness it lead to my success.

This sort of story is very common for many inventors and entrepreneurs. The truth is that it takes a special way of looking at life, as well as a unique set of characteristics, to consider yourself an innovator and creator. In fact, here are some of those common characteristics of inventors.

Creativity And Innovation

You may think of Leonardo Da Vinci as one of the most celebrated artists of all time, as he has countless paintings on display throughout Europe. And while Da Vinci certainly will never be forgotten as an artist, he should also be recognized for the many inventions he also brought to the masses.

Da Vinci’s story goes to show that inventors are those who have creative and innovative minds. They see the world in a different way, and can find alternative solutions to other people’s problems. If you continually find yourself seeing things differently than others, it may not be that you are wrong, but instead that you simply found an alternative way of being right.

Passion And Desire

There has never been an entrepreneur who was only “sort of” passionate about what he or she did. That’s because there are too many other sharks in the water that are out for blood, and they’ll be happy to take your place in line if you aren’t eager to get it for yourself. This is why inventors have to be passionate about what they do, while also carrying the desire to complete their projects. After all, just imagine how different things would be if Ben Franklin had the idea for the light bulb, but never went through with it. If you plan to be remembered for your creations, then you’ll need to have the passion and desire to make it as such.

Unbreakable Relentlessness

Winners never quit, and quitters never win. That might be a saying that your old basketball coach drilled into your head, but it’s also applicable in the world of inventions as well. Just as there has been a handful of brilliant inventors throughout history, there has been an overwhelming amount of detractors and disbelievers. Because of this, entrepreneurs can never take no as an answer, and they have to be relentless no matter what.

A Bit Of Luck

At the end of the day, everyone could use a bit of extra luck. Even if you have the best idea for a product, a golden idea for marketing, or a lot of money for research and development, you’ll still need to have a bit of luck for your invention too. The inventors who have made the biggest impact on civilization had to have luck on their side, otherwise it would’ve been a luckier person in their place.

Inventors are commonly breaking the mold, so it’s difficult to stereotype many characteristics that they share. However, the ones on this list are certainly part of the foundation that any inventor should have if they want to be successful.

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Top Dog Speaks to Houston Inventors Association (HIA)

Dan MacFarlane inventor, world class skateboarder and Steve

Dan MacFarlane inventor, world class skateboarder and Steve

On Wednesday February 12, 2015  Top Dog Direct was invited to speak to the Houston Inventors Association  (HIA).  I had just been in Austin for our Speed Pitch and drove 3 hours to Houston’s Bayland Community Center.  There was a very large turnout of over 50 inventors.  I set up my table of Top Dog successes and told about how they fit into the 7 criteria we look for in the ideal “As Seen on TV” product.  Everyone was so friendly and gave me big Texas welcome.  The group was also quite sophisticated as many of the group have long track records of inventing and patenting experience.  I spoke and took questions for three hours.  It was not tiring, but energizing to see so much interest and enthusiasm.  The spark of ingenuity and entrepreneurship is alive and well in Texas.  Otto Glaser and Ken Roddy run a fine group indeed.  I even met a world class skateboarder and inventor Dan MacFarlane.

Again doing your homework is one of the most important aspects of product development.  On this trip we found an inventor very far along in a project, but failed to do simple Google searches that would have uncovered similar products in the marketplace.  Not that it would necessarily preclude it from consideration, but inventors need to be keenly aware of what is out there.  Far too much emphasis was apparently placed on the expensive patenting process and not on the novelty of the idea itself.

We all have ideas that are driven by problems we encounter, but have we created a unique and breakthrough way of solving it?  That is the question for successful inventors.  In our case that is not enough, is the problem being solved so important that it would “compel” a TV viewer to run to the phone or the internet to to buy it?  That is why it is so hard to find TV products, but by sticking to our strict criteria for success we are able to have a much higher success rate at Top Dog.  That works in favor of Top Dog to maximize our time and resources, and more importantly, it frees us up to go “all in” on the projects and maximize the inventor’s opportunity when we have a hit.  Above all I stressed the three things that make up the Top Dog Direct difference, we are inventor friendly, we are focused on our strict criteria for success and that we had major blockbuster results for our inventor partners.  That has become more than clear with our latest blockbuster success of the BeActive brace for back pain.  It is the number one product in the “As Seen on TV” space on TV and at the larger marketplace at all the major mass retailers.  It all starts with a a great product!

Bye for Now,

Steve

 

Top Dog Table of success.

Top Dog table of success.

 

Warm texas Welcome from the HIA

Warm Texas Welcome from the HIA

 

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BeActive Brace Inventor Celebrates at Top Dog Headquarters

 

Akiva and Bill celebrate the team's success with BeActive!

Akiva and Bill celebrate the team’s success with BeActive in the Club Room at the Top Dog Headquarters

Erica in the "Club Room" taking notes on Akiva's new invention.

Erica in the “Club Room” taking careful notes on Akiva’s next blockbuster invention.

Akiva at Trevose office

Akiva outside our Trevose , PA office

On January 15, 2015, Akiva Shmidman, the inventor of the BeActive brace came to visit the team at Top Dog Direct.  A variety of nutritious pastries were provided for all.  We discussed how his passionate pitch last year at our Speed Pitch event in Philadelphia became a TV commercial six weeks later,  the ride for all has been amazing.  The best of all the product really works and millions are feeling relief because of what Akiva invented and  invested so much time and in his revolutionary product.

He had tried to sell it on his own, but when he met Top Dog, we immediately recognized that it was a TV star and Akiva was an awesome partner to work with.  At that event Erica felt immediate pain relief, and our As Seen on TV rocket ship was launched for all of us.  It is such a pleasure to write substantial royalty checks to such a great inventor and family man such as Akiva.  He was involved from the product sourcing, design work and even at the tv shoot.

The product has had an extraordinary amount of media spent,  taking it to the number #1 spot on both the IMS and Jordan Whitney tracking services.  It is experiencing great success as a major hit retail item at mass retailers at thousands of locations across the country for many years to come.  What a great moment and celebration of American ingenuity!

In 2015 we resolve to redouble our efforts to pick only the best items that fit our strict criteria, so that our use of  resources has the highest probability of success for our inventors’ time and efforts.  To quote John Miller, “If doesn’t  makes dollars then it doesn’t make sense.”

Bye for now,

Steve

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Boston Speed Pitch Event a Great Success

 

Top Dog Direct Boston Speed Pitch panel

Top Dog Direct Boston Speed Pitch panel

Top Dog Direct Boston Speed Pitch Event 2014

Boston Globe Interviews Bill

On Thursday, October 2 we had our third Speed Pitch event at the Small Business Expo at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston.  Producer John Miller of Hutton-Miller, Bill and I were the judges this time on the panel.  We had a great turnout from the inventor community of about 25 people.  Being a native Bostonian, Bill quickly connected with the inventors as they exchanged exactly which neighborhoods and surrounding communities they were from.  The pitches ranged from very sophisticated patented items, a crude pen drawing and a very enthusiastic presentation of just a conceptual idea.

There is nothing too out there for Top Dog to look at and thoughtfully consider. Our philosophy is that even if it not right for TV, the idea has merit and could be very successful in other channels.  We shared our candid thoughts and advice for those items with the inventors, young and old.  The day before Bill was on local Fox28 TV (see our News section) and many were very motivated to sign up.  You could see that even though the Fox News host had his own product to pitch, and thought Bill would be crazy about, Bill was honest with his assessment on live TV and the host took the disappointment well.  There were other “no tuck shirt”solutions out there in his category and maybe his invention was not the best solution.  But Bill did it in good humor and it was well received because it was honest, reasonable and to the point.

That brings back to what we learned and I can share it with you.  Inventors need to do their homework about the existing marketplace for the item in which they are working in.  What other products are like theirs? at what cost? and in which channels of distribution? and what other products solve the same problem?  This I believe is the biggest blind spot for inventors.  The good thing is, that with the internet, the research can be an easy one with a little time and effort.  The 7 criteria for the winners that we look for are the same in all our searches.  It does not guarantee success, but it raises the probability of our success with you greatly.  As we do only a few product a year, we are picky, but as an inventor you will get a quick definitive response, and if it is right, we will let the dogs out, and move quickly to get a commercial done and make a TV success just as we have done recently for the wonderful inventor of the BeActive Brace.

Mass Market
Compelling Visible Demonstrations
Solves an Important Problem to Customers
Cost of Goods allows for TV marketing
Instant Transformations, Works Quickly
Good Value versus Competitive Alternatives
Not Available at Mass Retail outlets… yet

 

By For Now,

Steve

 

 

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