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Entrepreneur/Inventor Needs Help, Stationary Product

Virgman

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I have a product I invented and received a patent. This product answers the problem of 850 million brochures being distributed in the U.S every year and nothing to hold or organize them with. I invented the Brochure &business card organizer, however I have no marketing skills and as M.J pointed out in Millionaire Fastlane, you can have the best product in the world but without proper marketing it's worthless and vice versa. Can anyone provide me some suggestions and guidance on how to get this product out in the marketplace and get some contracts? Here are some pictures of my product
 

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biophase

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I guess my first question is, do people keep brochures? I've never thought that I needed to organize my brochures. The product solves a problem, but is it a problem that people need solving?

I'd probably list it on Amazon and see what the reception is.
 
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Virgman

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I guess my first question is, do people keep brochures? I've never thought that I needed to organize my brochures. The product solves a problem, but is it a problem that people need solving?

I'd probably list it on Amazon and see what the reception is.
Good question. Problem is people don't keep brochures because there's nowhere to keep them except in a drawer or circular file. Brochures from medical doctors, millions in tourism but people take them, lose them, toss them out and use a fraction of them. I'm going to try a local store that has a large brochure rack and see if I can sell my item there and what type of charge is involved. It's on amazon but I need to market better
 

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I agree with @biophase: Do people actually keep brochures? If so, who specifically? I don't keep brochures & no one I but there might be a specific, select group of people who do.

Either way, the fastest way to test would be to list them on Amazon. If no one buys, change your product name, description, category, etc., & see if any of those tweaks gets people to find them & buy. If no one buys, then maybe it's a problem no one needs solved--in which case, it's better to know now than after another several months or years spent on it.
 
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Virgman

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I agree with @biophase: Do people actually keep brochures? If so, who specifically? I don't keep brochures & no one I but there might be a specific, select group of people who do.

Either way, the fastest way to test would be to list them on Amazon. If no one buys, change your product name, description, category, etc., & see if any of those tweaks gets people to find them & buy. If no one buys, then maybe it's a problem no one needs solved--in which case, it's better to know now than after another several months or years spent on it.
I realize that it's hard to see the need but the idea came when I worked at a healthcare company. I gave customers 4-6 brochures at every visit. I kept all my brochures in a rubber band and business cards in a separate rubber band. Companies like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, home equipment, and services all had brochures which were all over the place. I looked all over for something I can keep my brochures organized in so I can easily access them and give them to customers. Customers when in turn ask me if I had anything to keep brochures organized in as they usually kept them in manila folders or 2 pocket folders and they would flop all over the place.
 

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OK, in order to market this thing, let's look at it through the lens of the commandment of NEED.

You say it "answers the problem of 850 million brochures being distributed in the U.S every year and nothing to hold or organize them with."

This right here is where you're going to run into your biggest challenge with sales.

Sorry if this is a disillusionment, but no one needs something to hold or organize their brochures.

My brochures go straight into the trash. If there's something I absolutely need to refer to later, I take a picture of it with my phone and then toss the brochure in the trash.

Most other people also send their brochures straight into the trash.

So this product does not serve a felt need.

"Boy, I sure do have a bunch of disorganized brochures around the house. I wish I had a way to organize them" — said no one, ever. *edit* after reading your last post - maybe you know some of them. See below.

If someone does have a bunch of disorganized brochures around the house, they have a different problem (hoarding). And a hoarder is not going to care about getting a nice plastic sleeve with perfect brochure-sized pockets to put all their brochures into one neat place.

But as a thought experiment, let's say that there ARE people who care about keeping—and organizing—multiple brochures.

They're old school. Or they're eccentric. Or they're Amish and don't use the internet. Or something.

For whatever reason, they're gonna hold on to those brochures, and they want to be able to put their hands on them later.

Your marketing task is to sift through the general population to find these people.

Who are they? What characteristics do they share? Where are you the most likely to find them?

That's going to be your marketing challenge. Crack the code on that puzzle and you'll sell some of these. But your ceiling will be lower than it would have been if it was a mass-market product.

It's the kind of thing that would have been good to validate that people actually wanted it before investing time and effort into creating it. A good contrasting example is this paintbrush cover.

Oooh, wait, you just posted this:
I realize that it's hard to see the need but the idea came when I worked at a healthcare company. I gave customers 4-6 brochures at every visit. I kept all my brochures in a rubber band and business cards in a separate rubber band. Companies like pharmaceuticals, healthcare, home equipment, and services all had brochures which were all over the place. I looked all over for something I can keep my brochures organized in so I can easily access them and give them to customers. Customers when in turn ask me if I had anything to keep brochures organized in as they usually kept them in manila folders or 2 pocket folders and they would flop all over the place.
OK so there you go. You have a starting point. You have a glimpse into the types of people who do keep their brochures.

You have some of the answers to the questions I posed above.

Who are they? Maybe they're the people who give out lots of brochures. Or maybe they're the customers of those people.

What characteristics do they share and where do they hang out? Think about the customers that you used to talk to. Think about their demographics and behaviors. Age, social status, location, amount of education, where they shop, etc. Look for commonalities so that you can start defining your niche.

The more closely and accurately you can define the people who are likely to want this product and value it, the more successful you will be at planning a way to market to them.
 
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Who is your customer? The sales rep handing out brochures? The company that employs the reps and kits them out with everything they need? The people receiving the brochures? Or is it something to sit on the shelves at Walmart so whoever wants one can buy it? (I have no idea if WalMart stock office supplies, we don't have it here in Oz)

You could start with learning a bit about google ads, read up on @Andy Black as he is the resident expert. Maybe there are a huge number of people trying to google this problem that your solving and you just need your ad in front of them?

Depending on your target market I would think Facebook ads would be a good way to get in front of people. Bored sales rep scrolling Facebook in the office sees an ad that solves a problem!

I'd assume amazon and Ebay would also be great places to get this online and gauge the interest.

Good Luck!
 

wade1mil

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So, start with people who do what you used to do. Where do they go? Conventions? Training? Try selling them there. If you get that to work, test different industries. Real estate might be a good one. I don't think this is a mass market product. When I get a flyer, I either A) throw it away immediately, or B) consume it and make a purchase (or not) before throwing it away.

Btw, the inventor part was making the product. The entrepreneur part is marketing it.
 

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Problem is people don't keep brochures because there's nowhere to keep them except in a drawer or circular file.
I disagree with this premise. I believe people don't keep them because they typically don't want them.

And when someone wants to keep a brochure, lack of storage isn't going to prohibit them from doing so. Folders solve this problem, and if there are no folders, most people will figure out a sufficient solution without your product.

Maybe I'm wrong, but unless you have market data to prove it, I'd bet money that I'm not...
 

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It sounds more like the product is made for people who are going into sales meetings that have multiple brochures that they want to hand out. I don't see many people keep brochures unless they are older.

The only time I actually take a brochure is when I check into a hotel and they have a brochure stand that has local activities in the area. But even though I grab a handful, I get back to my room and quickly read and discard them all. I will look up an interesting brochure's website vs. reading the whole thing.

Maybe carry-out and delivery restaurant menus are the closest thing to brochures that many people use. I bet many people here have a kitchen drawer that is full of restaurant menus. In mine there are a few pizza places, an italian place and some chinese restaurants. I've never felt the need to organize this drawer. I just know that there are menus in there.
 
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Virgman

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It sounds more like the product is made for people who are going into sales meetings that have multiple brochures that they want to hand out. I don't see many people keep brochures unless they are older.

The only time I actually take a brochure is when I check into a hotel and they have a brochure stand that has local activities in the area. But even though I grab a handful, I get back to my room and quickly read and discard them all. I will look up an interesting brochure's website vs. reading the whole thing.

Maybe carry-out and delivery restaurant menus are the closest thing to brochures that many people use. I bet many people here have a kitchen drawer that is full of restaurant menus. In mine there are a few pizza places, an italian place and some chinese restaurants. I've never felt the need to organize this drawer. I just know that there are menus in there.
This is the issue that most people have that we take a bunch of brochures and bring them back to our room but then what? I'm going to start by putting my inserts (with the binder) for sale right near the brochure rack in the store here in Vegas because there are brochures that people like to keep and there's usually a discount with that brochure. We also had a drawer with menus and even though you feel no need to organize your menu drawer our folder now has our restaurant menus organized with tabs for American, Chinese, and Pizza places. Not everyone will organize their menu drawer and not every will want to keep their vacation brochures but to have a nice binder with the city advertised on the front of the binder and the city name on the side of the binder is something most people would re-use over and over again. It's like looking at the magazine in your hotel room a few times because you remember there was a nice restaurant or nice show you seen in there that you want to take advantage of.
 

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Virgman

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And when someone wants to keep a brochure, lack of storage isn't going to prohibit them from doing so. Folders solve this problem, and if there are no folders, most people will figure out a sufficient solution without your product.
That's the issue why I invented this product. There are no folders to hold them and the only other solution people use are rubber bands and cardboard boxes. I'm always amazed going to people's homes and seeing magazines and books neatly stacked on their book cases. They can just read the magazine and throw it out or get a kindle or donate the book but people do like to keep the things that they find useful and helpful. I remember we once went to the zip line here in Vegas and I loved it. We had a brochure to save money and I kept a couple brochures when my friends come in from out of town I share a brochure with them so they too can enjoy the event and save money. It's about being organized, saving time, and saving money. I realize it's not for every one but neither are chia pets and they sold 1/2 million during 1 holiday season
 

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You could try selling them at fairs
 

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Virgman

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No folders to hold brochures???

I've been using these for decades:


Practically free and meets all my needs.
that does not come even close to this. You have to sift through all your brochures to find the one you want if it's not ripped or damaged. You can probably stable a business card to your brochure if there is one or just keep all the business cards jumbled in the folder as well and when you pull that folder out of the filing cabinet watch them all fall on the floor unless you do a nice balancing act of making sure they don't slide out. Apples and oranges
 

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sell to the people handing out brochures
sell to tradeshows
sell to airbnb spots that want 'some' of the brochures for local stuff like hotels have

to answer your question:
find a sales rep for office supplies
list on amazon
put info on some mlm / sales forums

see if the fish bite
 

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@Virgman -- Sorry, but I don't see a need here at least in the B2C space, perhaps B2B. It's an interesting product, but in all of the 1000s of brochures I've handled over the years, I have NEVER thought of "Gee, I need some place to hold these!"

If I was forced to sell these, I'd hit sales people and sales manager... folks who HAND OUT brochures, not their recipients.

I'd list the product on Amazon and see what, if anything, happens.
 

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Hmmm, these days if I see something interesting in a brochure that I want to refer to later, I just take a pic with my phone camera and then throw the brochure. I don't have a single brochure in my home that I "know" is there. Maybe some are lying around but I have no idea they are there, lol... :)

And since you made this, I find it difficult to see profitability in this. How many do you have to sell to make a thousand dollars? I think you should just sell a few to sales guys who hand out brochures to recoup as much of your money spent as you can and move on.
 

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There's not only Amazon you could list the product on, but you could also try list the product on eBay too.
 

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that does not come even close to this. You have to sift through all your brochures to find the one you want if it's not ripped or damaged. You can probably stable a business card to your brochure if there is one or just keep all the business cards jumbled in the folder as well and when you pull that folder out of the filing cabinet watch them all fall on the floor unless you do a nice balancing act of making sure they don't slide out. Apples and oranges
Honestly, it feels like you are trying to find a problem to justify your solution.

I'm not saying there aren't people out there who want the ability to sift through brochures, who care about their brochures not getting ripped or who want to keep their business cards from falling out of their folders, but I'm skeptical that there are enough people who care about these things that you'll be able to make money selling these.

Is it possible that you're succumbing to the sunk cost fallacy -- you've already invested so much time/effort/money into this project that you aren't willing to make an accurate assessment of your likelihood to profit?

All that said, perhaps I'm just so far out of your target market that I can't understand the value. Have you run any customer focus groups or tested for demand?
 
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Virgman

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If I was forced to sell these, I'd hit sales people and sales manager... folks who HAND OUT brochures, not their recipients.
MJ I agree that I need to start there but I think there's a huge B2C market if I can market in the right place. For example 64 million people go through the Denver airport every year. The brochure stand there is enormous. I'm talking 15 ft long by 4 ft high and double sided. So I dream of getting a stand literally a few feet away from that rack. If I can market correctly "You deserve a better vacation, save money, save time and stay organized" something like that and I have a binder like the one I attached here for Vegas I now make money on the binder, advertising the front, advertising on the holders itself and if a company wants their brochure inserted presale they would pay me as well. (like certified folder does with their 220,0000 location and 300 million brochures annually). but getting it there takes money and I'm on the short end of that right now. If I picked up just 1/4 of 1% of that traffic is 160,000 people. now you see what I see
 

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Bearcorp

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@Virgman you don’t need to convince us that there’s a market for this, if it exists you need to attack it and get your product in front of them and make sales. Numbers relating to how many brochures exist or how many people use airports doesn’t put money in your pocket or put your product in someone’s hands.

How’d you go researching google adwords? Or amazon, or eBay? Focus on that process :thumbsup:
 
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Virgman

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How’d you go researching google adwords? Or amazon, or eBay? Focus on that process
Thanks Bearcorp I have so many balls in the air right now I feel like I'm trying to catch my tail. I'm preparing for a pitch at an incubator company in 2 weeks and I'm working on another content blog as well as finding leads on LinkedIn. I'll engage in the google adwords research tonight. Sleep is an option at this point. Thanks again
 

MJ DeMarco

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The brochure stand there is enormous. I'm talking 15 ft long by 4 ft high and double sided. So I dream of getting a stand literally a few feet away from that rack. If I can market correctly "
I can't speak for anyone else, but I still wouldn't buy it.

I grab 3 or 4 brochures and I leave. Why would I want to add a cost to something as I perceive as FREE? Just because you'd like to have your brochures organized doesn't mean everyone else does.

What do you envision?

"Hello sir, I saw you grabbed 6 brochures, would you like to buy this organizer for $4.99 as well?"

I think you're manufactured solution where no solution is needed. Just my opinion as someone who has grabbed a ton of brochures, both at airports and at trade shows.
 
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Virgman

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What do you envision?

"Hello sir, I saw you grabbed 6 brochures, would you like to buy this organizer for $4.99 as well?"
I'm glad I'm not selling to you. My brochure organizer is $7.95 and with binder $9.95. Let's put it in perspective from my career and why I designed it and I'll put you in the exact same position as some of the clients I gave brochures to.
I'm sorry your loved one is sick and has a failing medical condition but I want to provide you with some very important information. Here is a brochure from my company with important phone numbers on the back. Here are 3 brochures with warranty information on the medical equipment your loved one is using and the number on the back of each one if you have any questions or concerns. Here are 4 healthcare homemaker service companies that can provide in home care for your sick loved one. Please call and see which one resonates best with you, and lastly here are the business cards of myself, the nurse from my company and the physician who will all be available to help your sick loved one. Please keep all these in a safe place in case you need to access them.
Now tell me if you, or anyone in this situation, which was very common in my field, would throw away even 1 card or brochure but what would you do? take 30 pictures of front and back of each brochure and business card and if your family member calls you to ask where is the information on the respiratory machine? would you say hold on let me pull over and look through my pictures and I'll find it and sent it to you or maybe just break the bank and spend $10 to have all of this information organized and right at your, or anyone who needs it, fingertips. Then you just say all the information is in that binder on the counter labeled HEALTHCARE INFORMATION
 

biophase

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MJ I agree that I need to start there but I think there's a huge B2C market if I can market in the right place. For example 64 million people go through the Denver airport every year. The brochure stand there is enormous. I'm talking 15 ft long by 4 ft high and double sided. So I dream of getting a stand literally a few feet away from that rack. If I can market correctly "You deserve a better vacation, save money, save time and stay organized" something like that and I have a binder like the one I attached here for Vegas I now make money on the binder, advertising the front, advertising on the holders itself and if a company wants their brochure inserted presale they would pay me as well. (like certified folder does with their 220,0000 location and 300 million brochures annually). but getting it there takes money and I'm on the short end of that right now. If I picked up just 1/4 of 1% of that traffic is 160,000 people. now you see what I see
If I'm going through the airport, the last thing I need is a hard covered 3-ring binder. I think brochure stands work now because people can look and pick and choose which brochures they want and carry/fold them with ease.

You're talking about taking a skinny 4"x12" paper that I can hold 6-7 of them in my hand, and turning it into a 10"x12" hard unfoldable item that I need to put under my shoulder, while I drag my luggage behind me.
 

biophase

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I'm sorry your loved one is sick and has a failing medical condition but I want to provide you with some very important information. Here is a brochure from my company with important phone numbers on the back. Here are 3 brochures with warranty information on the medical equipment your loved one is using and the number on the back of each one if you have any questions or concerns. Here are 4 healthcare homemaker service companies that can provide in home care for your sick loved one. Please call and see which one resonates best with you, and lastly here are the business cards of myself, the nurse from my company and the physician who will all be available to help your sick loved one. Please keep all these in a safe place in case you need to access them.

Now tell me if you, or anyone in this situation, which was very common in my field, would throw away even 1 card or brochure but what would you do? take 30 pictures of front and back of each brochure and business card and if your family member calls you to ask where is the information on the respiratory machine? would you say hold on let me pull over and look through my pictures and I'll find it and sent it to you or maybe just break the bank and spend $10 to have all of this information organized and right at your, or anyone who needs it, fingertips. Then you just say all the information is in that binder on the counter labeled HEALTHCARE INFORMATION
In this scenario, there is no way that you could then ask for $10 for the binder. It would be expected to be included. Are you really going to nickel and dime them for $10?

"I'm sorry your loved one is sick and has a failing medical condition but I want to provide you with some very important information. Here is a brochure from my company with important phone numbers on the back. Here are 3 brochures with warranty information on the medical equipment your loved one is using and the number on the back of each one if you have any questions or concerns. Here are 4 healthcare homemaker service companies that can provide in home care for your sick loved one. Please call and see which one resonates best with you, and lastly here are the business cards of myself, the nurse from my company and the physician who will all be available to help your sick loved one. Please keep all these in a safe place in case you need to access them."

Imagine the doctor saying this, "You're hands look full, we have this binder and insert sheets to help you keep all this organized. It is only $9.95."

In this example, you play is to sell them to the hospital so that the doctor that is handing this information says, "and here's a binder to keep everything organized. "
 
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Virgman

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You're talking about taking a skinny 4"x12" paper that I can hold 6-7 of them in my hand, and turning it into a 10"x12" hard unfoldable item that I need to put under my shoulder, while I drag my luggage behind me.
I'm talking about people, tourists, who want to save time and money and may grab 10-12 brochures and want to look at them later. You will only get annoyed by carrying your brochures and most likely throw them out or leave them in the back seat of your rental. Tourists will use them to enhance their vacation. They would not carry the binder in addition to their luggage they would put the binder in their luggage. Read this research study done by Bentley University on how much brochures affect tourists during their travels. https://www.visitorinternational.com/blog/10-ways-brochures-positively-impact-visitors-trip/
This is not everyone but there is valid research that many people would pay to save money and have the convenience of their vacation brochures all in one neat and organized place. Maybe not for you which is okay but I appreciate all your feedback.
 
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Virgman

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In this scenario, there is no way that you could then ask for $10 for the binder. It would be expected to be included. Are you really going to nickel and dime them for $10?
It's not nickel and diming them for $10 they're about to get raped by the insurance companies for their copay and deductibles in the thousands. If I told my patient and their family that they can keep all their brochures, warranty and medical pamphlets in a binder that cost $10 they would be thrilled as would I. One less thing to worry about for pennies. The doctor couldn't care less if they have this or not, doctors don't care about all the other non medical issues families have to struggle with. This is an item I have to introduce to the medical marketplace so they can offer it to their patients. I really appreciate all the negative feedback as it only motivates me more to move forward with this item. I mean really put yourself in this situation. Your not going to spend $10 on a binder to keep all you medical information organized because your too offended by the price???? then shame on you for thinking of getting nickel and dimed and not focusing on the real issue. As for me if I had the opportunity to go out to any store and buy something like this to help me stay organized for my family member I'd do it in a second. Maybe the medical marketplace is not the right place to offer it but it's a good place to let patients know it's available at stores. Thank you for your feedback you definitely have me thinking through the issues I may face.
 

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Scottsdale, AZ
It's not nickel and diming them for $10 they're about to get raped by the insurance companies for their copay and deductibles in the thousands. If I told my patient and their family that they can keep all their brochures, warranty and medical pamphlets in a binder that cost $10 they would be thrilled as would I. One less thing to worry about for pennies. The doctor couldn't care less if they have this or not, doctors don't care about all the other non medical issues families have to struggle with. This is an item I have to introduce to the medical marketplace so they can offer it to their patients. I really appreciate all the negative feedback as it only motivates me more to move forward with this item. I mean really put yourself in this situation. Your not going to spend $10 on a binder to keep all you medical information organized because your too offended by the price???? then shame on you for thinking of getting nickel and dimed and not focusing on the real issue. As for me if I had the opportunity to go out to any store and buy something like this to help me stay organized for my family member I'd do it in a second. Maybe the medical marketplace is not the right place to offer it but it's a good place to let patients know it's available at stores. Thank you for your feedback you definitely have me thinking through the issues I may face.
They are about to spend thousands of dollars on some treatment or whatever they need and you are going to charge them $10 for a binder? I think it's the opposite of what you think. It's not that I wouldn't spend $10, but if it's only $10, why doesn't the doctor or hospital pay for it?

A few years ago I was at a Toyota dealer negotiating a car purchase for a friend. When all was said and done my friend had to sign over her trade in to the dealer. That signature needed to be notarized. The notary (a dealer employee) said, "It will be $10 for a notary". My friend and I looked at each other, (In my head I wanted to walk out, but this was her dream car), she said I don't have any cash on me. The lady then said, ok I can do it for free this time. Later on, she said to me, "I can't believe that lady asked for $10. I just paid $25000 and they wanted $10 more dollars?" I said if I knew she felt the same way at that moment, I would have told you to walk out and cancel the deal. Toyota, should be paying the notary the $10, not my friend. Let them hide the fee in their paperwork.
 

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