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EXECUTION Dubidu's Execution....Thread :-)

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Dubidu, Jul 26, 2018.

  1. Dubidu
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    Dubidu Contributor

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    Hello Ladies & Gentlemen,

    Some of you have already contributed to some of my threads but I'm setting this up for accountability and execution progress. I'd like your trademark bluntness and pearls of wisdom please.

    Background Info:

    2. Idea 1 - In progress (less capital intensive, no need to dilute equity etc.). Execution/accountability on this please!

    3. Idea 2 - In (less) progress than Idea 2 but capital intensive and most importantly I don't possess the technical expertise (market exists/makes CENTS etc). However, important to execute/be accountable for this as I go along. I have a meeting with my alma mater for 13th August where I will be working with the materials engineering department (I get the benefit of technical expertise and give back by way of funding to my alma mater; shout out to @Late Bloomer for the suggestion!)

    Other background info - I'm a lawyer on the equivalent of Wall Street. No prior experience of entrepreneurship (except learning an awful lot about API/MVPs re: an idea in 2017 before someone beat me to it!).

    Execution of Idea 1:

    1. Focused on ladies (and the occasional gentlemen!) beauty. Improvement of an existing design. Market in USD is 600m per year (in US alone). It is 'recession proof' i.e. this means people tend to buy it regardless of the economy so sales are repeatedly shown in my market research as constant.

    2. What I've done so far: the idea came to me circa April 2018. I simply never have enough confidence to go 'oh let's run with this' so I have to do my research/analysis. I took time to do this to make sure it was viable. I told my family and a trusted friend of my idea. They all agreed it was worth pursuing.

    3. I looked at two options: standalone product on Amazon or licensing.

    4. Problems with standalone on Amazon identified as follows: inventory, customer service issues, loss of control over customer experience, liabilities etc.

    5. Licensing: this is my preferred route. I would like to approach a luxury design house. Any ideas on how to do this are welcome. The average cost of the product is approx $30USD. If I can get a small slice of that for each unit sold (passive income) to then launch idea 2 - this would be great!

    6. Prototype: 2 manufacturer's identified. 3D printing doesn't work for what I'm trying to achieve. They both said they can help with refining design but would need CAD file

    7. Early July: reach out to a designer I worked with on 'failed' idea last year to see if he knew anyone who could help with CAD file. NDA signed last week (19th July).

    6. As at 26 July 2018: I am waiting for a design engineer to put forward a proposal for CAD file. I will then approach prototype manufacturer to make first prototype. They are on standby and turnaround is quick so I expect this to be done by end of August.

    7. Things I've not yet addressed: registered design rights versus unregistered design rights versus patent. Licensing - getting past the gatekeepers to get in front of a snobby design house! Liability issues etc. all the legal stuff. This is on my to do list. Today I will look at licensing in more detail.

    That's where we are right now. Please let me know what other actions I should be building in. I worry that I action-fake sometimes but then writing this stuff down I've realised between April and July I've done quite a bit. Could that have been done quicker? Perhaps but I'm analytical and I definitely need research to reassure me that I'm on the right line. I also have this gnawing sense there's stuff I'm simply missing i.e. action that I should be taking but I don't know what. I have no entrepreneur network (i.e. no one to bounce ideas off; all my friends are slow-laners although I'm changing this). I'm obviously on this Forum and it's yielded more than I could have ever expected :)

    Any input welcome as always. I'll try to do a mini-daily post as accountability but may not be able to. I will definitely do 2 posts per week re: progress :)
     
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  2. Late Bloomer
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    Late Bloomer Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Nice update. Glad I could help with some inspiration.

    I'm somewhat familiar with the basics of US patents. I have never before heard the terms registered or unregistered design rights. Is that a UK thing? I do know that in the US, only a patent lets you take the strongest form of legal action against someone who copies a design.

    You're the one making the plan and executing on it daily. We couldn't give turn by turn guidance, that's more specific than the one who's right at the steering wheel of your business.

    A lawyer's training and work conditions a particular mindset. A thought process to constantly scan the horizon for potential threats, and try to prepare a defense against all of them. (Or a counter-attack, or preemptive attack.)

    Be aware that however useful that thought process is in law, it's not the best for business. This is why usually businesses hire lawyers, rather than the other way around.

    Maybe once a week you could put on your attorney hat and ruthlessly go over every line item with red pen in hand. That's when to ask, "What if, what else, how could this go wrong, am I missing something?" If you think of questions you need answered, find the people who can give you the relevant facts. That done, hang up that hat and move forward, confident you're doing the best you know how to do. If you have a specific worry, deal with it right away. But if you have only a vague worry, add it to your list for next week's review session.

    It's like a brake check on a car. Your brakes should be in good working order. But you don't constantly pull over every mile to recheck the brakes. Knowing that they work, you drive on and use the brakes as needed. In business, your ability to steer, as you enter new territority, is just as important!

    I've seen the line, "Often wrong, but never in doubt!" The author means that after analysis, he will put all his emotional energy into what he truly believes in right now. If he finds something better to believe, he'll change his direction and be just as confident in the new approach.

    I recently read some information about risk management in the military. Even in the military, the current best practice is to first make a plan that could likely work. Only after that's done, only then they go back over it with a critical eye about risk management.

    That sounds like a path towards overwhelm. I think there's a good reason so many people check in with weekly updates. It's a good amount of time for some things to have happened, some lessons to have been learned, some new ideas and questions to come to mind.

    Have you joined the discussion threads of other people with a similar product/licensing business? You could see what they've done, and ask them questions directly.
     
    Arun Siva likes this.
  3. Dubidu
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    Dubidu Contributor

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    Thanks - my mini-update as I'm still waiting for the proposal from the designer (he is currently on vacation with the family so hopefully will get the ball rolling this week) but I'll address your comments:

    1. Yes unregistered design rights are possibly a UK thing (not sure if other non-US jurisdictions have them). I also intend to file a PPA in the US but only after I've got an "in" with the conglomerate I've identified (the conglomerate is European in origin but has a world-wide footprint). If the conglomerate buys into it they may be willing to pay for patent; apparently this is not unheard of.

    2. I'm not asking for step-by-step guidance; just thoughts/responses to what I post here by those already in the fast lane or about to join it and what mistakes they made - all for the purpose of learning and as they say I'll only get there by "standing on the shoulders of giants" like @SteveO :)

    3. I'm already scanning the horizon for threats of what could go wrong/what am I missing etc. it's the slight lack of confidence in getting this thing to market (i.e. the business side) that I'm more concerned with. I drafted the NDA and will draft the licensing agreement in due course (with a specialist legal friend sense checking!). I can probably expect 5% etc. so I am aware of some commercial aspects of licensing. I'm quite good on knowing how to protect things on a legal basis but it's getting to market that I'm less sure of. I've read @Vigilante's Gold post on Licensing which is helpful in terms of just bypassing the gatekeepers of a co. and getting to the right person

    4. Nah - I'm not easily overwhelmed. I've been through a lot from a young age; stoicism is a philosophy I live by. They'll just be mini-updates in bullet points.

    This weeks update in summary then:

    1. Still waiting for CAD file designer to provide proposal on his return from vacation this week

    2. Researched PPA in both UK & US - costs determined for each and 'doable'; will choose that over registered design rights/unregistered design rights for maximum protection (perceived ownership)

    3. Started to drafted licensing agreement (thinking positive and clients have gone on holiday so had time to kill)

    4. Played beach volleyball :)

    Next update: Weds 1st August 2018 if there is something to report but likely to be nothing more than 'proposal agreed with CAD designer; awaiting design' :)
     
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  4. SteveO
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    SteveO Legendary Contributor FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    There are people that have done what you are working on with "idea 1". People are more willing to discuss specifics if this is posted on the inside. You could play around with the search function to find more specifics as well. There is no shortage of information that has been placed on this forum over the years.
     
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  5. Dubidu
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    Dubidu Contributor

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    100% agree Steve - In the short time I've joined I have learnt so much. @Vigilante's post on Licensing was reassuring. The lady who reached out to him/he helped (and in turn triggered the post) seemed to have launched, licensed (with Vig's help) and exited in about 12 months! I still think my idea is so 'obvious' why has no one else done it? There must be something I'm missing...but there is nothing else on the market. Between coming up with the idea in April and now executing it, I kept going in to stores to do a recon mission for new launches. I went to niche boutiques that have the most expensive versions to the drugstore. All have the same design (I'm interested not only in fashion/beauty but the business side of it as well so have done my research as thoroughly as I could; again not assuming I've missed something). One niche brand launched but again the core design is exactly the same.

    My first 'failed' idea was last year when someone else got to market just as I was about to sign terms to get the MVP made. In hindsight I was lucky that I did not lose money but it definitely makes me think: what if someone else has thought of this one too and gets it to market first?? :(
     
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  6. Dubidu
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    Dubidu Contributor

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    Update as at 1 August:

    Apologies for delay in uploading update - I was quite poorly yesterday. Semi-good news: agreed proposal with CAD file designer so waiting for his design. I have also got a meeting lined up for October (there is a Licensing conference in London that month) and have decided to set that as my deadline for getting the protoype finessed and ready to discuss!

    I've also been reading a lot and wondered what everyone's thoughts were on not approaching the top 2 companies but the one who is top 3 in my field. I was listening to a lecture and a very successful guy (legit businessman i.e. not a guru) said that is what his business did; they knew top 2 in the niche wouldn't be interested so they approached number 3 with the promise of their USP potentially getting the company they pitched to up the rankings. It worked!

    I'm taking a few days off so next update will be Weds 8th. I've also got a meeting with a very interesting client who is IPO'ing soon. I'm hoping to learn a bit more from him - he's not exactly in my field (he's in fashion rather than beauty) but you never know what you might learn :)
     
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  7. Dubidu
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    Hi Everyone - a day late and hopefully not a dollar short :smile2:. My update and request for advice/thoughts please:

    CAD file designer has got my brief wrong.

    Lessons learned: be explicit and in writing. He wants to do more than I think is required (and therefore charge me more to produce the CAD file. He is asking for $12,000 to just produce the CAD file to submit to prototype manufacturer!!!). For the avoidance of doubt: there are 3 core components to the product. It is not electrical/technological/complex and can be used by a child it's so small! I expected the bulk of the costs to be for the production of the prototype.

    I have followed @Vigilante thread on licensing as well as Stephen Key's books etc. and I want a rough and ready prototype that essentially demonstrates the design. He says I should have something whereby I can demonstrate the thing I'm designing (and want to licence) fits exactly into the existing model. I know it will but for the purpose of licensing I don't believe I need to refine it to the nth degree and incur unnecessary costs. Stephen Keys gives endless examples where he simply provides a sheet with a rough idea to the company and the product development team finesses it; essentially he submits a concept with a core idea rather than the finished product. His most famous example of this is the Wall Ball where he used a footballer's picture and put a basket around it to demonstrate the concept and it was one of his most successful ideas. He didn't produce it to exact scale/specification. Am I wrong? Have I misinterpreted this?

    Many thanks in advance to anyone who responds to this. I have approached another company and am due to speak to them next week. I will be more explicit in my request for them to produce a proposal based on what I actually think I need rather than what they think I need for the purpose of licensing but want to make sure I'm not being silly.

    Idea 2: Have a meeting with the university on Monday and will report back on that. Idea two is very much on the back burner but as I have capacity at the moment I thought I'd try to progress it while I have nothing better to do!
     
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  8. Dubidu
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    Dubidu Contributor

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    Hi everyone,

    Today is a bit of mini 'feelings' update as well as what has happened since Weds; hopefully no one will mind.

    I have felt low for the last couple of days - no reason but just feeling like it's a bit of a slog and feeling like a failure in my personal life (discussed on another thread and despite taking every action I can think of, we are mid-way through the year and I'm nowhere near to reaching those personal goals). And I generally feel like at the age of 40 I've failed at everything or I'm just not getting some secret that every person (from super successful to the average Joe) seems to know and 40 years of trying but I'm none the wiser.

    Anyway, I learnt a lesson with the CAD file designer. As per my previous update we had a call on Thursday and it became apparent that his interpretation of my brief wasn't what I wanted. I have since approached two other companies and will make sure my instructions are both explicit and in writing so there is no room for misinterpretation which has caused in total about 2.5 weeks of unnecessary delay. I have one meeting with design company number 2 hopefully this week and another (frustratingly they are a 3 hour train ride each way so I will have to schedule time off from work to attend).

    Plus a Skype teleconference with my university tomorrow afternoon on idea number 2. Hopefully mood will improve and I'll be more enthusiastic later this week.

    Thanks so much to @Vigilante and @SteveO for liking my posts. It means more than you both might know and makes me think I'm not completely off in my thinking/updates and just need to keep going to see if I can succeed like you both :smile2:
     
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