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Archive for January, 2012

Converting an Idea to Income Is a Process That Requires Planting and Fertilization, Not Hope and Dreaming

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

by: Geoff Ficke

Converting an Idea to Income Is a Process That Requires Planting and Fertilization, Not Hope and Dreaming

Under the category of inexperienced blind hope, a surprising number of people that approach my Consumer Product Development group with a new business idea want us to find someone who will buy the concept in its undeveloped form. This always amazes, even after so many years of hearing these vapid elevator pitches. A person has an idea, they have performed little or no due diligence, and they believe it has commercial value. Daffy!

Behind every existing product, service or successful business there was originally an idea. In order to achieve any level of viability and ultimately market success, the idea was planted and fertilized with work, research, investment (money and sweat), strategizing, and so many other necessary layers of work product that confirm the concepts usefulness or lack thereof.

A person that attempts to peddle an idea without conducting necessary due diligence is immediately obviated as a wastrel. Ideas are a dime a dozen, actually they are worth 10 cents less than a dime. The reasons so few people become successful entrepreneurs, even though most people dream of entrepreneurial conquests, is that they are dreamers not doers.

I recently took a call from a supposed entrepreneur who was looking for someone to buy his toy idea. In response to my qualifying probes he was entirely negative. He did not have patent filings. He did not have 3D CAD art. He did not have, or worse, want to build rough prototypes, so, of course, he was never going to have production quality prototypes. Without 3D CAD art and prototypes he was never going to discover manufacturing protocols and Cost of Goods.

In short, he was the ultimate dreamer. Many of these poseurs are serial stalkers of investment, partners and/or licensing relationships. They troll the internet endlessly looking for a home for their get-rich-schemes. The time and effort that could be devoted to productive due diligence is wasted on blind hopes and dreams.

I have counseled clients, students and prospective entrepreneurs for many years to avoid taking shortcuts at all costs. Resources are more easily found and utilized today than ever before. Many, many years ago, when I launched my first product there was no e-mail, internet, cell-phone, Software, Google or WikiPedia. Heck, there weren’t even fax machines or FedEx. Every step of the process was slower and more arduous than today.

The ease and availability of contemporary resource tools makes the launching of a new Consumer Product or Small Business a much simpler process. An idea which is not accompanied by at least a smattering of supporting design and data is a non-starter. Worse it brands the presenter as an amateur.

Let’s assume you are shopping for shoes. If you visited a shoe store, and the store only had pictures of shoes, but none to try on, how would you react? Of course, you can buy shoes on-line, but typically you know the brand, style and size you need and search for an on-line match at a price. When in a store, you want to touch and feel the products you seek. It is the same with venture capital and licensees.

The market is flush with opportunities for investment. Money always seeks the most market ready products. You have no chance to compete for seed monies or licensing unless your project is fully vetted. A successful entrepreneur always plants and fertilizes their work product to maximize chances of achieving a great result.

Adopt a Pre-Sell Strategy to Drive Interest in Your Project Before Seeking to Attract Investment Funding

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

by: Geoff Ficke

Adopt a Pre-Sell Strategy to Drive Interest in Your Project Before Seeking to Attract Investment Funding

Recently I met with a prospective client who presented my Consumer Product Marketing and Branding Consulting firm with an overview of his project, its development status and needs. The opportunity seemed to have legs until we reached the point in the discussion where funding took center stage. I listened as this entrepreneur, with great passion and skill, pitched his reasoning and support data for a funding round that he felt necessary to move ahead.

I took the “devil’s advocate” approach that any project faces when seeking investment from angels, investors, venture capital or partners. My questions were the standard fare that I have heard professional investment groups pose time and time again. As the cross examination continued the passionate, confident entrepreneur began to wither.

The simplest question that I asked, and one that is always of paramount interest to investors: “Do you have Purchase Orders”, drew a telling lack of response. This very smart presenter had never considered the question and the possibilities that a positive response would have for his proposed enterprise.

Purchase Orders from target customers, stores, distributors and wholesalers indicate what we call a “Proof of Product Life”. Entrepreneurs are always excited about their product or service. They have reams of documentation that they   include in their Business Plan to attempt to impress investors with the promise they offer. Focus Groups results are nice. Orders and successful test markets, no matter how small are much more valuable.

How can an inventor, entrepreneur or small business generate sales orders before receiving an adequate funding round? The prospective client I was meeting for the first time asked exactly this question. I then described several Bootstrapping and Pre-Sell strategies that he had never considered.

We often utilize a Bootstrapping Pre-Sell plan for clients. This is done without going to the expense of an inventory build out. We have a host of vendors that work with us to create Production Quality product prototypes, CAD Art, Release Packets, Point-of-Purchase display, Sales Collateral, Web-Sites, Attorney’s, Social Media, Video Production and much more that we use to generate Purchase Orders from Trade Shows, EXPO’s, showrooms and on-line sales. These vendors know that once sales traction is achieved they will have a long term relationship with a happy new client. They are more than willing to hand craft a display or sign unit carton or brochure for minimal cost.

Recently we attended a large Trade Show in Hong Kong with a client to launch a new Skin Care regimen. We attended with four dozen Production Quality prototype samples fully dressed with graphic packaging. Our display vendor hand cut three Point-of-Purchase displays. The booth display visuals, video loop, Sales Collateral, Product Folios and Distributor Contracts were one-off produced just for the show. The product performance demonstration was spectacular and the stand was swamped with interested Asian distributors. We have concluded deals for exclusive territory sales of the line with nine firms. Pre-Selling works!

With these agreements and the initial Purchase Orders they have generated we are organizing International Bank Letters of Credit to fund the initial full inventory build and provide working capital. Investors are now keen to review the opportunity and, with this type of “Product Proof of Life” successfully achieved, they have less leverage in negotiations.

A successful Pre-Sell campaign in the American market can lead to securing investment, but also Partnering, Licensing, Receivable Finance or Factoring options for funding operations and growth. We have utilized Factoring for many years for our own businesses and clients. Sales orders open doors.

Next month we will attend a Jewelry trade show and a Men’s Fashion trade show with client products that will be launched utilizing a Bootstrap Pre-Sell campaign. More prospective entrepreneurs should utilize this strategy. The process involved in successfully winning a funding round is beyond the pale for most startups. Meeting an investor with a plump order book creates an entirely different leveling of the playing field. Take advantage of this inexpensive, simpler strategy to launch your product.

5 Tips for Small Businesses and Start-ups to Use To Appear Bigger than They Really Are

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

by: Geoff Ficke

5 Tips for Small Businesses and Start-ups to Use To Appear Bigger than They Really Are

For many years I have worked almost exclusively with entrepreneurs, inventors and small businesses seeking to start, or grow a business against daunting odds and competitive disadvantages. We specialize in Consumer Products, packaged goods that are marketed in every category and sales channel. Despite the deck seemingly being so stacked against these micro-enterprises it is amazing how many succeed.

One of the lessons we counsel and preach is the importance of acting and presenting the business to consumers and merchants as being more solid and substantial than it in reality is. No one wants to do business with a firm that appears to be struggling. People smell weakness. They are attracted to success.

One of our goals for clients is to be able to meet key decision makers in a specific category and open doors that seem closed to most fledgling start-ups. In order to achieve this we must have the client act like the puffer fish and blow themselves up to appear bigger and stronger than they are. How can this be accomplished?

The edifice that is presented as the core of the business can be inflated with creativity and a bit of illusion. It is essential that entrepreneur’s utilize every tool available to level the playing field as much as possible. Here are 5 ways to embellish the appearance of strength for of a start-up.

1.  Have a professional, original, customized Branding Strategy. Colors, icons, lyrical Branding Statements and graphics that work as one are crucial in differentiating the Company and its products and services from competitors, large and small.

2.  Your place of business and mailing address speak volumes about your firm and product. Most start-ups cannot afford an office in Beverly Hills, or London. They can rent a mail box service in a prestigious zip code. For meetings, there are impressive offices with secretarial services that can be secured by the hour or half-day.

3.  Put some effort and diligence into building and editing your web-site. The only thing worse than not having a web-site is having a mass market template that screams “unprofessional”. Currently, there are an endless number of do-it-yourself templates available to guide construction of a web-site. The construction is not as important as the content. Do not take shortcuts on content.

4.  Sales collateral stays with the prospective buyer, consumer or merchant long after you physically vacate the premises. Make your brochures, business cards and samples first class.

5.  Use production quality prototypes to pre-sell your product at trade shows, fairs and to investors. We typically pre-sell every project we are engaged to manage for our clients. We do not want them investing in building inventory until we have secured orders, letters of intent and confirmation from key industry decision makers that the product on offer is desirable and commercial. Production quality prototypes are the key to gaining this crucial proof of product life.

We have utilized this simple menu to enhance any number of start-up businesses that we have introduced as Managing Consultants. It works for every category of Consumer Product including Toys, Gourmet Foods, Cosmetics, Fragrance, Aromatherapy, Hardware, Pet Products, DIY, Jewelry and many more. These are tools that are invaluable when bootstrapping an under-funded business, product or service.

Pedi-Protexx™ Novel Line of Pedicure Accessory Products to be Launched to International Beauty Trade this Spring

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

Pedi-Protexx™ Novel Line of Pedicure Accessory Products to be Launched to International Beauty Trade this Spring

Line to Be unveiled at COSMOPROF Bologna March 9-12, the world’s Largest, Most Prestigious Cosmetic Industry Trade Show

Alexandria, VA.  Dr. Barbara von Mettenheim, creator of the novel Pedi-Protexx™ line of pedicure accessory products announced today that she will introduce the line to the
international beauty industry trade at COSMOPROF Bologna, Italy March 9-12, 2012. Pedi-Protexx will be presented in the Salon Pavilion.
“I reviewed all launch options in great depth with my Managing Consultants at Duquesa Marketing”, said Dr. von Mettenheim. “They have enjoyed such great success over the years from utilizing COSMOPROF as an international platform to present new lines.  It was an easy decision for us to conclude that COSMOPROF was the ideal show for a breakthrough product like my Pedi-Protexx”.
“We only take items and lines to premium shows like COSMOPROF if they have international bona fides”, said Geoff Ficke, President of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing. “Pedi-Protexx certainly possesses every element essential to be successful in the most competitive distribution channels in the cosmetic world”.
“Pedi-Protexx is unique in that there is no direct competition for the product, not even tangentially”, said Nancy Ficke, General Manager of Duquesa Marketing. “This is the ideal up-sell item for every nail salon, beauty salon or day spa that provides Pedicure services for clients. It is a natural new business driver for the discerning distributors that attend COSMOPROF Bologna”.
“We will unveil our website and sales promotion in early March to coincide with COSMOPROF Bologna”, said Dr. von Mettenheim. “USA and international pricing will also be unveiled at the show. Duquesa Marketing is in the process of contacting select country distributors to negotiate country by country licenses”.

Pedi-Protexx™ Announces Charles Behlow Clinical Imaging to Produce Video for Spring-2012 Launch

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.DuquesaMarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Geoff Ficke
859-567-1609

 

Pedi-Protexx™ Announces Charles Behlow Clinical Imaging to Produce Video for Spring-2012 Launch

Pedicure Accessory Product Line to Be Introduced at Prestigious COSMOPROF Bologna, Italy March 9-13

Alexandria, VA  Dr. Barbara von Mettenheim creator of the novel salon Pedicure Accessory line Pedi-Protexx, announced today that her atelier has engaged the services of Cincinnati-based Charles Behlow Custom Imaging to create video sales collateral for the upcoming product launch of her Brand at COSMOPROF Bologna, the largest Beauty Industry Trade Show in the world.

“The audience at COSMOPROF Is sophisticated, international and huge”, said Dr. von Mettenheim. “Pedi-Protexx will be unveiled for the first time to this discerning audience of retailers and distributors so we must have every base covered. I am confident that Behlow Graphic Imaging is the perfect source for the quality video production I need for this upscale EXPO”.

“We interviewed several very capable videographers”, said Geoff Ficke, President of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing, Managing Consultants for the Pedi-Protexx project. “Charles Behlow’s group has excellent experience in creating the types of stylized videos we envision to support the Pedi-Protexx introduction”.

“Duquesa Marketing is in the final stages of organizing all sales collateral, display and pricing for the Pedi-Protexx launch”, said Dr. von Mettenheim. “They have received very strong interest from specific country distributors interested in exclusively representing Pedi-Protexx in their countries”.

Dr. Nemi Rx™ Announces Appointment of Biogenesis Laboratories to Produce Retail Skin Care Line

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

Dr. Nemi Rx™ Announces Appointment of Biogenesis Laboratories to Produce Retail Skin Care Line

Medical Aesthetic Bio-Hydrolyzed Under Eye and Skin Rejuvenating Treatment Regimen Set to Launch Spring-2012

Atlanta, GA – Dr. Ajit Nemi, Founder of Dr. Nemi Rx™, announced today that his firm has engaged the services of Hackensack, NJ based Biogenesis to produce the proprietary Bio-Hydrolyzed advanced dermal treatment regimens that he has perfected and successfully used to treat patients in his medical practice.

“We interviewed many wonderful, technically-efficient laboratories,” said Dr. Nemi. “The science and professionalism that we found at Biogenesis made it an easy choice for the Dr. Nemi Rx™ group to partner with Biogenesis. My requirements for product performance and purity demanded a lab that could meet standards that my patients deserve and demand.”

“Dr. Nemi Rx™ is not another placebo-laced cosmetic skin care line with glitzy packaging and unproven claims,” said Geoff Ficke, President of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing, Florence, KY, Managing Consultants for the Dr. Nemi Rx™ launch. “Dr. Nemi uses these products to treat patients with mild to severe under-eye puffiness, dark circles, and wrinkles.  This level of performance needs chemists and formulators that are top-notch.”

“The Dr. Nemi Rx™ Bio-Hydrolyzed Skin Care regimen will launch with three products that I use daily in my practice,” said Dr. Nemi. “EyeLixir™ Activating Eye Serum, HydraSatine™ Crème Under Eye Therapy, and Le Vigne Moisture-5™ 5-in-1 Skin Rejuvenating Complex are formulated to work in synergy with each other.  For the first time, we will make these products available to consumers with the Spring-2012 launch at COSMOPROF Bologna, the world’s most prestigious Cosmetic EXPO.”

 

Murphy Underwear Engages dP Design to Create Graphic Art for Spring-2012 Brand Launch

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

Murphy Underwear Engages dP Design to Create Graphic Art for Spring-2012 Brand Launch

Premium Underwear Features MX-P Anti-Microbial Moisture Barrier Technology for Extra Confidence

Hattiesburg, MS  Boyd Murphy, creator of Murphy Underwear announced today that his Company has engaged the services of Cincinnati-based dP Design to create the visual Branding elements for the upcoming retail introduction of his line of luxury men’s briefs and boxer briefs enhanced with MX-P Anti-Microbial Moisture Barrier Technology.

“We reviewed many options presented by our Managing Consulting firm Duquesa Marketing”, said Mr. Murphy. “dP Design stood apart as a Graphics Arts firm with a unique understanding of our product and the fashion market we will be entering. We are excited to be working with Diana Puppin and her group”.

“My firm has worked on a number of luxury product launches with Duquesa Marketing”, said Diana Puppin, Pres. of dP Design.“When the Murphy Underwear project was presented by Nancy and Geoff Ficke we recognized that this product was so much more than just another men’s underwear item, but a real breakthrough in comfort and new barrier technologies”.

Murphy Underwear, featuring MX-P Anti-Microbial Moisture Barrier Technology will be introduced to better retailers and haberdasheries during Spring-2012. A complete menu of launch activities, trade shows, sales promotions and special value packaging is being finalized and will be unveiled shortly.

Duquesa Marketing Appoints Defined by Design to Develop Graphic Art for Pedi-Protexx Cosmetic Accessory

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

January 12, 2012

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

Duquesa Marketing Appoints Defined by Design to Develop Graphic Art for Pedi-Protexx Cosmetic Accessory

Packaging, Display, Branding, Web-Site and Trade Show Visuals To Be Produced to Support International Product Launch in Spring-2012

Florence, KY     Nancy Ficke, General Manager of International award winning Branding and Consumer Product Design and Development firm Duquesa Marketing announced today the her group has appointed Melbourne, FL based Defined by Design to create Graphic Art elements for the launch of Cosmetic Accessory Pedi-Protexx.

“As Managing Consultants for the Pedi-Protexx project we reviewed a number of candidates to assist us in creating the visual Branding elements we will need to take the line to market”, said Mrs. Ficke. “We were most impressed by the vision Linda Walding and her firm Defined by Design brought to the project”.

“Dr. Barbara von Mettenheim, founder of BvonM LLC and creator of Pedi-Protexx has crafted a wonderful, simple, elegant solution to a problem that many women experience”, said Alexis Bruning, VP of New Business Development for Duquesa Marketing. “The Graphic Art element for this project is crucial to ultimate success and Defined by Design is proving to be a wise creative choice”.

Duquesa Marketing will be announcing shortly an aggressive launch calendar for the Pedi-Protexx line of Cosmetic Accessories. The Brand will be introduced in an international venue and will enjoy excellent sales promotional support. The Business Plan is for a Spring-2012 roll-out.

 

Dr. Nemi Rx Appoints dP Design to Create Branding Graphic Art Elements for Spring-2012 Launch

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing

www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

 

Dr. Nemi Rx Appoints dP Design to Create Branding Graphic Art Elements for Spring-2012 Launch

Medical Aesthetic Skin and Under-Eye Therapy Regimen to Be Introduced at Prestigious COSMOPROF Bologna March 9-12, 2012

Atlanta, GA      Dr. Ajit Nemi, developer of Dr. Nemi Rx™, announced today the appointment of Cincinnati-based dP Design to create the visual graphic art Branding elements for the March launch of his range of breakthrough Skin and Under-Eye Therapy products. The line will be introduced to the world’s largest International Cosmetic and Beauty trade show, COSMOPROF Bologna.

“After reviewing a host of candidates with Duquesa Marketing, our Managing Consultants, we found it to be an easy decision to contract the services of dP Design,” said Dr. Nemi.
“Diana Puppin’s group has extensive experience and creativity in crafting excellent Branding visuals for high-end fashion products.”

“Dr. Nemi Rx™ presents an interesting creative conundrum,” said Nancy Ficke, General  Manager of Florence, KY based Duquesa Marketing. “The treatments he has developed are used in his practice to treat patients. So the Branding must support a luxury, topical Skin Care strategy blended with a serious Medical Aesthetic provenance. This requires a deft graphic touch to achieve our goal.”

“I am thrilled to have been chosen by Dr. Nemi and Duquesa Marketing to manage the creative Branding design elements for the Dr. Nemi Rx™ project,” said Diana Puppin, President
of dP Design. “The international launch of the brand to the most sophisticated beauty merchants in the world simply adds to the luster we need to build into the graphic design package.”

Duquesa Marketing Announces Visual Branding Partner For Launch of Medical Aesthetic Skin Care Line

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Duquesa Marketing
www.duquesamarketing.com

Press Release

For Immediate Release

January 11, 2012

Contact:  Geoff Ficke

859-567-1609

Duquesa Marketing Announces Visual Branding Partner For Launch of Medical Aesthetic Skin Care Line

dP Design to Create Graphic Art and Design for Packaging and Sales Collateral for Spring-2012 Launch of Dr. Nemi Rx™

Florence, KY    Nancy Ficke, General Manager of award winning international Branding and Consumer Product Development firm Duquesa Marketing announced today that her
consultancy, acting as Managing Consultants for Dr. Nemi Rx, has engaged the services of Cincinnati-based dP Design to develop graphic art elements for a Spring-2012 launch of this
Medical Aesthetic Skin Care Therapy.

“We manage a lot of high-end, luxury goods projects in jewelry, cosmetics, skin care and fashion”, said Mrs. Ficke. “It is most important that the Branding and visual design elements support the exclusivity we require when entering couture. dP Design always provides us, and our clients with an elegant end-design”.

“Dr. Nemi Rx is a bit unusual in that unlike most Skin Care lines, his is a Medical Aesthetic regimen developed from treatments he uses to care for patients in his practice in Atlanta”, said Alexis Bruning, V.P. of New Product Development for Duquesa Marketing. “Design cues must be upscale and fashionable, but serious as well, to reflect the medical heritage of Dr. Nemi Rx products”.

“We have used dP Design often for fashion projects and have always received excellent creative production”, said Geoff Ficke, President of Duquesa Marketing. “The Dr. Nemi Rx line will be unveiled at the most prestigious Beauty Expo in the world, COSMOPROF Bologna, so we must have the best possible visuals and sales collateral for this sophisticated international buyer”.