Five Tips to Turn Product Ideas into Profits

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Wendy Krepak, inventor of Card Cubby, shares insights about transforming her great product idea into a profitable business

The combination of too many ideas and too little insight about important factors in building a business creates barriers that make it difficult for a small business or inventor to be successful.

There are few entrepreneurs who suffer from lack of inspiration or initiative. For many, the combination of too many ideas and too little insight about important factors in building a business creates barriers that make it difficult for a small business or inventor to be successful.

Entrepreneur, Wendy Krepak, creator of Card Cubby, was like that a few years ago when she first patented a stylish, stand-up wallet with an alphabetized mini-filing system. Krepak started developing her product in 2009, when it was clear that her career as a real estate agent was endangered in Florida. Fast-forward three years, Krepak developed a million dollar product line and has important lessons for any first-time inventor.

1.    Start by solving a personal problem. Krepak solved a daily annoyance she had in her life by creating Card Cubby to organize her loyalty cards, and soon realized many other women had the same issue. By focusing on a problem that was personal, Krepak could test the idea herself to see if it worked for her, and then gain feedback from her friends.

2.    Understand logistics of the manufacturing and distribution process. In order to meet profit objectives, Krepak needed to keep her manufacturing costs low and sourced the manufacturing from overseas vendors. Finding a reputable manufacturer who would be a partner in the design process, and would ensure consistent quality and meet delivery schedules was challenging, not to mention the uncertainty of navigating language and cultural barriers. Once the product arrived, warehousing and distributing the product was overwhelming when we had periods of intense ordering.

“Bringing a product to market is an expensive venture,” Krepak said. “Every small business should do some deep research on how to do it properly. I learned the hard and expensive way, but now Card Cubby is a big success.”

3.    Build, leverage and nurture your network. An entrepreneur can make the most impact in an industry by cultivating new relationships, investing time in them and helping others with their dreams. This will help generate goodwill and fans of not only your product, but you as well. Entrepreneurs must also reach out to the close relationships they have in order to potentially tap into valuable resources. Krepak’s initial manufacturer was terrible, did not follow her instructions, was constantly late and produced a bad product. She spoke with her friends and family about this issue and found out her daughter knew someone in the industry, and they are the fine purse manufacturer Krepak still uses today.

“Always reach out to those in your closest network,” Krepak said. “You never know who your friends might know, and how they can help you achieve your dreams.”

4.    Smart Marketing. Successful promotion of your product requires a well-executed, sustained approach, not just a big splash or a big idea. An e-commerce website, an interview in a major publication, a retailer that wants to carry your product, all work best when you can deploy a strategy that you can repeat over and over again. Be opportunistic and take advantage of publicity opportunities, but don’t underestimate the need to build and sustain your market so that your sales and profits are growing consistently.

5.    Talk to your bank. Cash Flow is a big obstacle for any small business. It is something every beginning entrepreneur struggles with, and is constantly searching for. In order for Card Cubby to gain the essential investments, Krepak and her husband gutted their 401Ks and savings to make the brand a success. Talk with your banker about short-term lines of credit and your accountant about the pros and cons of using your retirement savings.

Since 2010, Card Cubby has grossed over $1.8 million and is continuing to grow its organizing collection for women with Coupon Cubby and Cubby CarryAll.

About Card Cubby ®
Card Cubby® is a growing brand focused on helping women Save in Style™. It offers innovative solutions that are fashionable and designed with the busy woman in mind. Started in 2009, Wendy Krepak has turned Card Cubby into a million-dollar business, with multiple products aimed at helping women organize and save money. The Cubby CarryAll is currently available at CardCubby.com.

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Meridith Tucker
BraveMatters
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