First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win…

I heard this quote (Mohandas Ghandi) earlier this week and it reminded me that this was how many of the new products/ventures with which we have been involved progressed. It is something to take to heart- and use as you grow your venture or introduce a new product.
I will provide an example, with certain information omitted. A few years ago (ok, let’s not get TOO accurate) we developed this household consumer product . It was a pretty novel idea (if I say so myself). But, no one really paid attention to the venture OR the product. After we got a little publicity, a few consumer firms actually called to say that we were crazy. I admit, we were (are?) a cocky bunch, so it did not faze us much, but it was hard to take as it kept coming, even from some of the large chains where we were hoping to have the product shelved and sold.
By the end of the first year, the product (we were managing this for our client) was generating about the sales volume we had projected (we were a month behind in our projections. And, all of a sudden- we found that one of the companies that told us we were nuts- was coming out with a competing product.
The good news is that ours was better. Our tests showed that our product (a cleaning item) provided about a 10% increase in whiteness, compared to theirs. We used that as part of our campaign. We even made an improvement in the packaging (which increased the shelf life of the product), which helped us out. But, our competitor actually matched this change. (Our product was not patented; it was very hard to reverse engineer.)
By then end of the second year (when our involvement was scheduled to terminate), our client had 80% of the market share- and exceeded its goals for sales, as well.
The lesson is you should use the time when the marketplace ignores you to insure that all your ducks are in a row, the testing matches your goals, and you are developing your organization. You will need this to bolster your egos when you are being derided. But, this lead time (especially if you are small entity) gives the time to fine-tune your business processes for the coming battle, when you do have competitors. And, as you refine and calibrate your processes for the changes in the market place, you can insure your ultimate win.

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About RAAckerman@Cerebrations.biz

A polymath whose interests span chemical engineering, medicine, biotechnology, business, management, among other areas. Among my inventions/developments: dialyzer, dialysate, neurosurgical drill, respiratory inspirometer, colon electrolyte lavages, urinary catheters, cardiac catheters, water reuse systems, drinking water system, ammonia degrading microbes, toxic chemical reduction via microbes, onsite waste water treatment, electronic health care information systems, bookkeeping and accounting programs, among others.
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