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Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – May 2012

Monday, May 7th, 2012
DUQUESA MARKETING CONSUMER PRODUCT SPECIALISTS

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING STRATEGIES

(859) 567-1609                                gficke@msn.com

DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER                      May 2012
The 5 Absolutely Essential Personal Traits Needed to Become a Successful Entrepreneur
 
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 “Without Risk There is No Adventure” In Any Aspect of Life 

   

The Most Under-Utilized Resource Entrepreneurs Neglect to Take Advantage of is Local Universities 

  A “Wanna Be” Entrepreneur in Reality is a “Wantrepreneur” and Will Never Be Successful

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
“It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen”


 - Oliver Wendell Holmes,
U.S. Physician and Writer

Tip of the Month:
“In order to be a great successful, and thus a great business person, you must be a good listener”.
 
 

I am often asked by media interviewers, prospective entrepreneurs and college students I mentor to identify the most important qualities that are present in successful small business start-up owners and innovators. Obviously there are many personality traits that contribute to success in every sort of endeavor. Honesty, hard work, creativity and a positive mental attitude are only a few. However, I think that there are five traits that are essential keys to achieving entrepreneurial success. These are present in every successful entrepreneur I have ever worked with. 

Passion

High achieving entrepreneurs have an unrestrained passion for their business or concept. This is not to be confused with cheerleading or hype. Their passion is born of a confidence that their project will help and provide real benefits to people, clients and customers. Of course, they hope to prosper financially from their work, but they really and truly are passionate that they can make a difference. The passion that Emeril Legasse exudes when he speaks about Food and Cooking, or that displayed by Tory Burch when she describes her Fashion Designs are obvious examples.

Drive

Successful entrepreneurs will not be stopped. They quickly come to understand that they will consistently hear the word “no”. To these driven people “no” simply means not today. They are driven to succeed and always find a way to overcome the “no” obstacles that the marketplace places in their path. Vidal Sassoon, born to poverty in East London, created one of the world’s great Beauty and Cosmetic empires through his sheer drive. Famous Amos overcame huge personal obstacles before he pioneered the creation and commercialize of the designer Cookie category.

Focus

By their very nature entrepreneurs are creative. This creativity, however, often results in lack of focus. Ideas seem to come in waves. The project at hand is undone by a bigger, grander idea, then another. Successful entrepreneurs are solely and totally focused on their Business Plan, executing their strategy and getting to market with a first mover advantage in hand.

(Please click here to read the entire article)

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – April 2012

Thursday, April 5th, 2012
DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER                      April 2012
For Successful Entrepreneurs Job One is Getting Started – Not Getting It Perfect
 
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 Successful Entrepreneurs Are Doer’s – Not Dreamers   

Selling is The Most Important Job For All Entrepreneurs

 A Poem To Inspire Every Aspiring Marketer & Entrepreneur

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
“Most success comes from ignoring the obvious”
 
 - Trevor Holdsworth
British Businessman
Tip of the Month:
The great University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp conducted all practices in silence.
No one could speak unless they could improve on that silence.
 

The times are obviously difficult economically for many people, companies and organizations. There is uncertainty about what the future holds. Many of us are worried about the “new normal” and exactly where we fit into these norms, if we could define them. There is a certain paralysis of action that accompanies change and uncertainty. This is to be understood.

For entrepreneurs, however, nothing much ever changes. The optimism that must be hard wired into their constitutions is omnipresent. Real entrepreneurs, those that “do”, not just dream, see opportunity behind every tree and under every rock. Most importantly, they act while others strategize, stargaze and pontificate.

We review hundreds of entrepreneurial opportunities every year in our marketing consulting business. But only a hand-full of these ever become functioning commercial entities. At the end of each calendar year, we review every presentation file we analyzed over the previous 12 months. We are always struck by how many excellent consumer products, concepts or services we saw and how few actually move beyond the talking, dreamy, gauzy muddle of the old Texas axiom, “all hat and no cattle”.

The most distinguishing factor we see that separates a successful entrepreneur from the dreamer is the ability to simply get started. I see much better than I hear. Words are cheap. Action is dear. The “do’er” is driven to get started in pursuit of their goals and aspirations. The time is always fine for them to get into gear and move their project ahead.

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – March 2012

Monday, March 26th, 2012
DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER                   March 2012
How To Start a Gourmet Food Product Business (or Any Product) on a Budget
 
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Adding Features to Products Can Create Blockbuster Opportunities

A Novel Way to Get An Innovative Product to Market 

 

An Alternative, Inexpensive Way to Penetrate the Market for a New Product

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
“When work is a pleasure, life is a joy! When work is a duty, life is a slavery”.
 
Maksim Gorky
Russian Writer
Tip of the Month:
Learn the difference between convergent and divergent products. One can fill a small niche, the other will create
new markets.
 

The first issue we see nascent entrepreneurs almost universally attempt to address is the perceived need for working capital. When we ask how much investment they believe is required to get their product to market, they never can justify what they identify as their magic number. I have yet to read a business plan that can justify the assumptions that are utilized to support the capital investment being sought, ever, and I read dozens of business plans each month.

My consulting firm reviews hundreds of new product ideas every year. Many have wonderful commercial prospects. However, almost none of the entrepreneurs offering these opportunities for funding have considered all of the possible avenues available to launch their idea. Funding is the “Holy Grail” in the eye of most entrepreneurs, and yet, a capital raise is the single hardest route they can attempt to utilize.

Investors, unless family or friends, demand a very high level of due diligence before they will stage a capital investment. Strong management, a clearly identifiable Unique Selling Proposition (USP), first mover advantage and a 35% return on invested capital kicking in between months 24 and 36 of operation are the basic guidelines typically utilized when underwriting opportunities. These are standards that very few entrepreneurs and inventors can achieve.

There are many ways to “bootstrap” new products or services before seeking a financing round. They are not glamorous, more like the old parable of the tortoise and hare. These strategies require the oldest trait known to inventive man: simple hard work!

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – February 2012

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER               February 2012

 
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There Is Always Money to Fund Start-ups Just Be Focused and Creative – It’s Never Easy

  

Where Does the Money Come From?

Do Not Shortchange Funding Needs – Too Little is Worse Than Too Much

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
 ”A bad workman blames his tools”,

13th century French proverb

Tip of the Month:
Taking shortcuts is to entreprneurship as the asp was to Cleopatra
 

Recently I reviewed a Business Plan that was submitted with a goal of raising a $2 million angel funding round. The product was a Hair Care Accessory that had real commercial potential. If I were grading the plan in one of my classes I would have given it a solid B. I was smitten with most of the assumptions that the document detailed to support the projects viability, except one. 

There was only one very major red flag that any Venture Capital investor would seize upon and consider a disqualifier; the $2 million angel funding round. The question that is always asked when a prospective Entrepreneur presents to Venture Capitalists (VC) is this: “How much have you invested of your personal capital into this project”. In some way, shape or form this question always pops up. It is usually not well answered. 

In this case the Inventor wanted the $2 million for salaries, a manufacturing facility, travel, staff and offices as well as for inventory build and Marketing. My job is to prepare Entrepreneurs for the rigid cross-examination they will surely receive from the VC panel that examines investment opportunity. I quickly had to refocus my prospective client that funding sources want to know what you are going to do with their money, as well as what you are not going to do with it. Building fixed overhead falls into the category of what you are not going to do with investment monies. 

Ask yourself, “Would you invest in you”? If you will not invest monies and assets that you own in your project why would anyone else. For decades banks required a significant down payment before loaning money to buy a house. Housing was considered a great investment for those who had equity in the property. About 20 years ago underwriting standards were loosened and today we see what having no skin in the game has done to housing and the economy. 

(Please click here to read the entire article)

 

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – January 2012

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
 
 
DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER                                                                          January 2012

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

 
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Converting an Idea to Income is a Process that Requires Planting & Fertilization, not Hope & Dreaming 

 

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

  

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
 ”Could we teach taste or genius by rules,  they would be no longer taste and genius”

 - Joshua Reynolds, English Painter

Tip of the Month:
Keep Business Plans short, pithy and exciting without being bombastic. We usually cover all salient points in 25 or so pages–BUT–Exhibits to support product/project claims and assumptions can and should be extensive.
 

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.

(Please click here to read the entire article)

 
 

Domestic and International, startup or growth company, Duquesa Marketing  creates unique product development strategies , on time and on budget, that achieves success. There are many different marketing consultant services we offer to insure clients have the greatest opportunity for success with product development and marketing.

 

Check our our website, www.duquesamarketing.com , for more information about product development, marketing strategies and how to start your own business. Call (859) 567-1609 and let us help you get your product ideas to market.

Sincerely,

Duquesa Marketing

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – December 2011

Monday, January 2nd, 2012
DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER            December 2011

Adapt to Changing Business Climate & Prosper

or Get Left Behind & Perish

 
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When Your Business is Small You Must Appear to Be Big!  

 

Keep Business Operations & Logistics Simple

Which Business Structure Is Best For You?  

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
“Diligence is the mother of good luck.”

 

 - 16th century proverb

Tip of the Month:
When selling, marketing, seeking investment or licensing opportunities, it is crucial to avoid taking shortcuts. This diminishes you and your project. The marketplace always culls out those that take the easy way.
 

 Recently, the unbelievable pace of change the world business climate is undergoing has been reconfirmed. Visionary fashion designer Liz Claiborne died and her Company announced that it would sell or close 16 divisions. And, pioneering retailer Leslie Wexner announced that his firm, Limited Brands, Inc. would put up for sale the Limited and Limited Express chains.

The nature of retail, like most other industries, has undergone radical change. Big box category killers like Staples and Best Buy have evolved into dominating international success stories. Tesco, WalMart and Carrefours offer enormous scale, one stop shopping unimaginable a generation ago. Specialty retailers such as Wet Seal, Aeropostiale, Abercrombie and Fitch, L’Occitaine and Talbots attack specific niches.

Consolidation, bankruptcy and liquidation have allowed fewer and fewer national department store and supermarket chains. Macy’s has consolidated nationally after absorbing numerous regional department store chains such as Lazarus, Bullocks, Burdines and Marshall Field. W.T. Grant, Montgomery Ward, AyrWay, Venture and Gold Circle are only a few examples of once strong groups that no longer exist.

The Limited began in 1963 as a single clothing store in Columbus, Ohio. Leslie Wexner saw an opportunity to create an amazing retail growth story by replicating designer clothing designs, mass producing offshore and selling tailored business clothing to the rapidly emerging population of female businesswoman. He became a billionaire by leveraging and extending The Limited to numerous additional store brands including Limited Too, Victoria’s Secret, Henri Bendel and Bath and Body Works.

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Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – November 2011

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER                November 2011

Make Your Passion for Fun a Key Part When Seeking New Product Opportunities

 

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The Anatomy of a Product: From Idea to Reality

  

Fear is a Key Driver of Success

 

How to Fail at Launching a Clever, Novel Consumer Product  

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:

“Profile and contour are the touchstone of the Architect. Hence he reveals himself as artist or mere engineer”.
 
Le Corbusier,

Swiss Architect (1887-1965)

 

Tip of the Month:

 ”As you only get one chance to make a Great first impression, be sure that when presenting yourself/product/project/

investment opportunity you have dressed all elements accordingly”.

 

 

Most people lead rather ordinary lives, built around family, job, church and hobbies. This is fine for most. The need to pay the bills leads many to engage in work that is unfulfilling, boring and stifling. That so many people work at energy sapping employment should be a motivating factor in seeking entrepreneurial opportunity. Sadly, most people are totally risk averse and eliminate themselves from the potential rewards available almost exclusively to entrepreneur.

 

 

The perceived risk taker (the entrepreneur) is, in actuality, not the real risk taker. The real risk taker is the person willing to work a dull job, for average pay, letting life fly by without ever knowing the excitement of being in the fray. This person leaves life without ever having made a mark. Looking back on a journey that did not include excitement, change and risk would seem to reflect an empty, unfulfilled life lived.

 

Entrepreneurs crave change, excitement, competition and risk, understanding that these are the defining hurdles to be overcome if success is to be achieved. The ability to test oneself against the overwhelming mass of competitive opportunities available in the marketplace is a narcotic to serial entrepreneurs. They might not always succeed, but they will always try.

 

Most new products are developed from an entrepreneur’s life experience. The hundreds of new product ideas I review each year are overwhelmingly skewed to hobby: pet, cosmetic, sporting goods and children’s products. And overwhelmingly, these offerings can be described as having a fun component.

(Please click here to read more from this article)  

 

 

 

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – October 2011

Monday, October 24th, 2011
DUQUESA MARKETING NEWSLETTER                October 2011

Bootstrapping Your Way to Success

 
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Strategic Alliance – The Underused Option 

  

Alternative Strategies for Hesitant Entrepreneurs 

  

 More Bootstrap Marketing – One More Way to Launch Your Product in a Tight Market  

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Duquesa Quote of the Month:
 

“What  poor education I have received has been gained in the University of Life”  

 

 - Horatio Bottomley, 
 
    British financier  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no more accurate American descriptive phrase of the rags to riches success then: “He pulled himself up by his bootstraps”. The pioneers, backwoodsmen, cowboys, whalers and other prototypical American hero classes all possessed an air of courage, self-reliance, and belief that they could beat the odds. They are wonderful samples of entrepreneurs at the most elemental level.

My favorite method of starting a business, launching a product or service is the old fashioned, do it myself, Bootstrapping. The ability to bootstrap a startup eliminates so many of the hurdles normally confronting the entrepreneur. Raising money, building inventory, dependence on support from others and assembling fixed overheads is mitigated when you bootstrap your new venture.

My first two startups were both completely bootstrapped. I had no outside investors, no on hand inventory: my home was my office, factory and warehouse. I made a product prototype, only one. That was all I could afford, but I made sure it was production quality.

Then I hit the road. I made presentations to department store buyers, non-stop in geographic loops from my home in Cincinnati. After four weeks of presentations and living in cheap motels, and a few nights sleeping in the car, I returned with a fist full of purchase orders. I then took the orders to New York, along with my business plan: everything buttoned down and detailed, for presentation to factors.

(Please click here to read more from this article)

 

 

Domestic and International, startup or growth company, Duquesa Marketing  creates unique product development strategies , on time and on budget, that achieves success. There are many different marketing consultant services we offer to insure clients have the greatest opportunity for success with product development and marketing.

 

Check our our website, www.duquesamarketing.com , for more information about product development, marketing strategies and how to start your own business. Call (859) 567-1609 and let us help you get your product ideas to market.

Sincerely,

Duquesa Marketing

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – September 2011

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
 
 

A Simple 20-Step Test That Will Confirm Whether or Not a Product Development Project Is Market-Ready

 
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How to Self-Analyze Your Consumer Product Idea to Facilitate Bringing it to Life 

 

 10 Comandments You Must Follow to Define a Novel Product Marketing Niche

 

Identifying Marketing Niches In the Broadest Product Categories

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For almost four decades my Consulting firm has worked with entrepreneur’s to design, develop, package, Brand, Market and Sell a vast range of Consumer Products. Our job is to save clients time, money and mistakes. This goal is best achieved when we are involved in a nascent project from inception. Unfortunately this is not always the case. 

Many prospective entrepreneurs decide to self-market their “alpha” product launch. This can certainly be done, though it requires a very high level of due diligence and trial and error. Unfortunately we are approached all too often by a rookie product developer who has exhausted their funds, mis-marketed the product or not been able to penetrate the target market at the most fundamental level.

The following is a series of questions, a test, that can be used as a guide in deciding if you have the capacity to self-market a new product, service or business strategy. This test is general in nature and you can fine tune the questions to more closely apply to a specific product you are developing.

  1. Have you filed for Intellectual Property protection (patent, trademark, copy right, trade secret, etc.)? Yes___ No___
  2. Do you have a detailed Gantt Chart? Yes___ No ___
  3. Have you chosen Engineer, Designer, Lab (depending on product type)? Yes___No___ 
  4. Do you have Production Quality Prototypes (or formula, or recipe, etc. depending on product type)? Yes___  No___
  5. Have you conducted deep competitive product research (pricing, distribution, etc.)?  Yes___ No ___

 

(Please click here to read more from this article)

 

Duquesa Quote of the Month - September 2011

“Truth lies within a little and certain compass, but error is immense”

 - Lord Bollingbroke, 18th century british politician

Domestic and International, startup or growth company, Duquesa Marketing  creates unique product development strategies , on time and on budget, that achieves success. There are many different marketing consultant services we offer to insure clients have the greatest opportunity for success with product development and marketing.

 

Check our our website, www.duquesamarketing.com , for more information about product development, marketing strategies and how to start your own business. Call (859) 567-1609 and let us help you get your product ideas to market.

Sincerely,

Duquesa Marketing

Duquesa Marketing Newsletter – August 2011

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

 

10 Essential Traits for the Successful Entrepreneur

 
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10 Commandments for Entrepreneurs

 

Is It Possible For Anyone To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?

Alternative Marketing Strategies Successful Entrepreneurs Should Consider

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 What Makes an Entrepreneur Different? 

Studies indicate that entrepreneurs are born, not made. As a serial entrepreneur myself, having worked with dozens of successful entrepreneurs, I can confirm that this is a truism. No two are exactly alike, but they are different from those who fail, or worse, never try.

I am often asked what makes an entrepreneur. In answering, I use the quote made by Supreme Court Justice Harlan when asked how he defined pornography. “I know it when I see it”. Entrepreneurs have a demeanor that separates them from the herd. They are different. Ready to take risks, fearless, passionate, problem solvers, positive and focused: entrepreneurs are the power that runs the engine of any capitalist economy.

I have assembled 10 traits that all successful entrepreneurs seem to acquire during their life’s experience. Some are stronger in one area or another, but the basics are covered here and represent qualities and beliefs that are remarkably consistent in successful entrepreneurs.

(Please Click Here to Read More from this Article)

 

Duquesa Quote of the Month - August 2011

“We may become the makers of our fate when we have ceased to pose as its prophets”

 - Karl Popper, Austrian Philosopher

 

Domestic and International, startup or growth company, Duquesa Marketing  creates unique product development strategies , on time and on budget, that achieves success. There are many different marketing consultant services we offer to insure clients have the greatest opportunity for success with product development and marketing.

 

Check our our website, www.duquesamarketing.com , for more information about product development, marketing strategies and how to start your own business. Call (859) 567-1609 and let us help you get your product ideas to market.

Sincerely,

Duquesa Marketing