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Advice wanted

RmossRmoss subscriber Posts: 1
edited December 2006 in Startup Funding
I`ve read many of the discussions tha go on here, but this is the first time that I`ve posted anything. I need some advice on how I can possibly move my business forward. I have a unique home security device that I invented and have been producing and selling for several years now on a part time basis. I`ve sold a few thousand of these devices, but have never really been able to get the business over the proverdial hump to really get it rolling. All my proceeds have gone back into the business for development, patents and operating costs.
I know that the market is there, but selling is truly my weakness, along with simply finding the time to make sales calls. I`m not sure where to go from here. My product is good and certainly seems to have great potential. So in my mind, I think I either need a big influx of cash to spend on marketing, or I need to find a mfgr. rep. Any ideas on how to get this off dead center would certainly be welcome.... Thanks


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    robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member
    If the only barrier to more sales is that you don`t have the tiime to make "sales calls" - then adding sales resources to your team might be the answer.
    From experience, that is rarely the exact situation, so my advice would be to determine the barriers to increasing sales before investing a lot of time and money hiring sales people.
    Robert Johnson
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    Innovator7Innovator7 subscriber Posts: 9
    I had a look at your devices.  IMHO it doesn`t solve big enough of a problem.Yes there`re people who check and double check doors and windows, other leave their doors and garage doors open.Now your device does detection of door close or open.  What if the detection is incorrect, i.e. it says a door is closed, but it`s actually UNLOCKED.  Aha!  Your device needs to detect the STATUS of the LOCK and not of the door.  My friend, way back then I had to write an MBA class paper about a device/product and its marketing plan.  It was an alarm system that I would posit to be better than yours.  Recently I have an even better idea.  But of course I won`t tell.  One important rule about invention is not to fall in love with any of them.  If it doesn`t make money, dump it and move to the next thing.
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    RmossRmoss subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the great replys. I started with the garage door indicator,because it appeals to the largest segment of the market due to the low cost. But my patent does include the ability to operate and lock/unlock the garage door from anywhere inside your home or car as well. I haven`t pursued the complete system because the retail on it would be much higher than most people would be willing to pay...I think. There is only one other competitor out there and one other patent that covers a similar device and that patent is very narrow. Between the two patents, they pretty well lock up any type of garage door indicating device. At least that is what I`ve been told by two different attorneys.
    I have considered pulling the plug on this, but then I look at the size of this market and the fact that I`ve sold so many without any marketing and that the market remains hugely untapped and wonder if I would be walking away from a tremendous opportunity...
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    rajinenterprisesrajinenterprises subscriber Posts: 3
    Just a thought! Connect with some of the big home security companys (ADT, etc.) and work a deal with them. See if they would want to tap into your knowledge and idea, and they can purchase it from you. This way when they are out selling their product, they are pushing yours as well.
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    AdvisorGarageAdvisorGarage subscriber Posts: 10
    There are a number of reps out there that can help...often being prepared to work for commission alone i.e. if they don`t deliver, they don`t get paid. 
    The commissions often range between 1-5% often varying by your stage of business...i.e loads of business, you can push them down...very little business, 5%. It also helps if they are selling into related categories - i.e. the same buyers at the same accounts.
    If this product has a novalty value then you should consider the catalog market but the margins are pretty tough.  If not, then consider the hardware channel.  The margins are in the 30% range but the sales cycles are often extremely long and even when the product is accepted, the time to get the product set up and in the various systems and on the shelf can be measured in months.
    If this is your only product, that can make it more challenging - one thing you could do is find a similar inventor with products in a related category and co-market each others products.
    One more thing - try to secure business with hardware stores which have a centralized distribution network...i.e. a small number of places to ship your product too...Wal*Mart does, Home Depot doesn`t. These types of thing impact your margin!
    There is rep that helped me enormously -  I would like to introduce you ...I have reached out to him and asked him to join our advisor site (link below) so you can connect.  I don`t really want to send his numbers and email in this open forum unless I have had an opportunity to discuss it with him.
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    RmossRmoss subscriber Posts: 1
    Great Suggestions! I really appreciate the help. The question that keeps coming to mind is how could I get my business this far and not have it take off? What am I missing?
    I do like the idea of a sales rep, but how do you find one? I looked a little online, but the services I saw cost several hundred dollars a month to try to find someone. That just doesn`t seem like the best use of the meager funds I have available.
    My product comes in two styles, a wired version and a wireless. I currently work with some Home Builders, mostly custom builders who use my wired version. I`ve always thought that if I could get in with a big builder, then that would put me over the top. I`ve tried to contact them, but the bigger builders have layers of hard core gate keepers. So I have been getting dealers to carry my product, since they already have their foot in the door with the builders. They are willing to install the device if they are asked, but I haven`t found one yet that is willing to try to sell a builder on the device.
    Thanks again for all of your help.
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