We have seen far too many entrepreneurs, small business owners, product designers and marketers fail in business because of fundamental mistakes made before launching their products or services. Over the years, we have gained an in-depth understanding of what it takes to succeed in launching as well as marketing products by studying, researching, and observing processes that have allowed us to spot the top 10 product launch hazards that can delay, derail, and sink a business into oblivion. These mistakes are so common among startups because they seem so small and insignificant, but committing them can cost a business owner a lot of unnecessary time, money and effort. We will guide you on how to steer clear of these product launching mistakes so you can out-design, out-source, and out-profit your competition.
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We’re really going to dive deep into the biggest product launch hazards, my top ten product launch hazards. these are the dangers. These are the potholes; the landmines; whatever you want to call them. These are the problems that most people face and they go into it not realizing that these are the things that you don’t know about launching a product. I want to mention these because we think that we’re experts in this. A lot of these things are rookie errors, but these are not things because you’re a rookie in business or you’re a rookie entrepreneur. I’ve seen people do this who have been twenty plus years in business and still make these mistakes. Big brands make these mistakes. It has to do with when you’re tapping into an area of something you just don’t have expertise in, and so you go in with all these unknowns and you think, “I’ve got capability over here in accounting and finance, so I understand these numbers and everything. I should be good.” Reading a bill of materials, looking at the cost basis pricing, and all of those things, what you don’t know are the unknown factors that might affect them later.
These are the traps that many of you will fall into. If I can raise awareness to them and show you what they might be and then illuminate them, then maybe you won’t fall victim to them. It is a shame that we see so many inventors, entrepreneurs, and Amazon sellers fall into these problem areas, into these big hazards, and we’d love to prevent that. That’s part of why we’re here. We are going to dive into the ten biggest product launch hazards. A lot of these things may seem really small, not that big a deal, but what I’ve seen is that they cause gigantic problems at the end. They might cost you a lot of money in re-dos. They might cause you a huge delay in time and that has two factors to it. You burn money all along the way when you’re not launched and you have revenue loss. Also, the delay market can cost you your entire business, your entire brand, because speed to market matters and someone beats you to market. I just want to raise awareness of that. These things may seem tiny, but be really aware because I’ve seen them go so wrong.
Let’s go on to the very first one. Too many niches, mind the gap. We’re always looking for the big opportunity in retail. We might be looking for organic Amazon keywords and how we can tap into those and how we can find an opportunity within a market that we already know while we find product failures. We’re always looking for the opportunity gap there. The problem with too many niches is that there are many companies who think that if they diversify really fast, if they have a really broad line and they get into all different categories and products, they’ll be fine. It means more business, more sales. What we’ve seen is that there are too many niches and too many different customers focus when you’re not in the same customer area type.
You might be parents and so that might be your focus. If you’re really focusing on parents, you can go from baby all the way to toddlerhood through lower preschool ages without much differentiation. When you hit into teenagers, you’ll actually have a very different profile of parents. We’re not that harried like, “I haven’t gotten enough sleep. The baby was keeping me up. I’d been having trouble potty training my child.” You can see that those areas and those commonalities of things have a lot of emotional baggage that come along with this in this frazzled and frenzied sense and we’re more likely to just revert and buy things we trust.
That is a very big characteristic of that market niche. You get into teenagers and you’re starting to think they are going to be leaving home; they’re going to be going off to college; they’re rushing around sports and activities and they’re starting to drive. Your focus is really a little more inward. The profiles of those parents have a very different emotional connection to things. When you’re thinking about marketing and running ads and designing products for them and bringing that to market, they actually have two very different profiles even though they’re both parents. You really want to be very careful and really focus on characteristics that are similar rather than demographics that are similar. That’s what I say when I talk about too many niches. If you spread yourself thin and you’re doing products all over the place, pet owners and parents and grandparents, it’s just all over the place, women and men and those that are single and millennials. While you want to have a broad brush of customers, when you’re spreading yourself thin and having to learn product categories and market categories and understand the dynamic there and making sure your products are fitting, you can really go wrong and spread yourself way too thin in which you do nothing well. That is one of the big things that I see happen again and again. It also does confuse people about your brand.
I see this a lot from the Amazon seller crowd who had come out of the wholesaling world or the white label world or whatever you want to call that, and moving into private label or original product, a lot of you come from this. You’ll just try anything that you’ve found in various gaps and that’s great for it when you were doing it, but as you’ve moved into this new private label, it confuses your existing brand and you’re a little too afraid to let it go.
My suggestion is that maybe you get somebody to manage it over here and make sure that those ones that are just on autopilot, they are just constant reorders. Because you already have good reviews, you don’t have to completely let them go but let someone else manage them and then continually and only focus on your core brand. If you can, separate your niches and your categories into separate sites and separate things. This is where it gets cumbersome to actually have that occur. I’ve seen big brands have the same problems. I’m not going to characterize that as an Amazon seller issue. I’ve seen big retail brands with the same problem because they want to sell all over the store.
This is a really classic case of a company called Ace Bayou, who we worked with and they made beanbags and they had been known for that. When they started to expand into other product categories that were non-juvenile, it just didn’t work. They would give it a new name and then the buyers wouldn’t recognize them and wouldn’t know who they were and none of that trust that they had built in their category translated. It really wasn’t the best fit for them. Staying in more juvenile products actually was a great fit for them and that translated into bigger sales faster. They eventually broke it off, but it took a lot of market education on the fact that they were the same brand and the same company. That’s really where I don’t want you to fall into here with the too many niches.
Now, that goes into too much inventory. This is a classic problem and if you know the story of the striped shirt, this is a classic. It happens very often in certain categories, but especially in apparel because you have a big size. You have size ranges, color ranges and it ends up with a mix of inventory that ends up really large. We’re talking tens of thousands of units. Whenever there’s a product that has too much inventory, that has a really high minimum order quantity, an MOQ. Whenever I see that, that’s a red flag for me. Very typically, they haven’t done a good job of doing the product market fit. Until you know your product is going to sell, until you are absolutely certain that you’ve really tested it, it isn’t just your friends and family who tell you they love it, you should absolutely not dive into too much inventory. You are going to encumber. That inventory is going to take up so much of your capital that you are not going to be able to market effectively to move that much inventory.
When you’re taking marketing dollars and using it on inventory, it’s a drain. It’s a liability and you’re not building an asset in its place. This is a red flag area and it’s not great for a startup position when you’re starting a new brand or starting a new product line. This one should be self-explanatory because you have to pause when someone says to you, “I want you to spend $20,000 on inventory.” You should pause. That seems like way too much, but at the same time I know a lot of you get really nervous about the idea of having too little inventory. All I can say is that I’ve never seen that as being a problem that wasn’t able to be overcome with air freighting in a few, 3D printing some if you needed it, having a backup plan, a factory being willing to rush a job, if necessary. It might cost you a little bit more to get that inventory in but having too little inventory is rarely a problem unless you were already selling it and you just did some bad planning on your part. It’s definitely not a startup and product launch problem. This is a very big area and the amount that you spend on inventory must be matched by an equal amount in marketing. I would say if you can 3X that in marketing, you’re going to do much better. That’s the second one.
The third one is over patenting and this isn’t, by any means, a knock at any of my fabulous IP attorneys on this platform or anyone that has patents or anything like this. What I see is that you’re patenting too much too fast. That’s really the case. We are firm believers in patents. These patents are valuable, but they’re only valuable if you know that you have a product that people want to buy, if you know that it can be commercialized.
When we look at this, we always say, “What’s the least amount of money we can spend in getting protection, but patenting later after we have a better sense of whether or not the market is interested?” The other side of that we see as a lot of people, it isn’t just deciding between, “Do I file a full utility patent or do I file a provisional?” You already know by now that I am a big proponent of provisionals, but it is a factor of, “Do I really need to go international?” I see that happen too often is that people have filed their international patents and they aren’t even selling yet. How do you even know if the US wants to buy it, if that’s the country that you’re in, let alone if the UK or Australia or Japan wants to buy it? If you have no sense of whether or not you’re going to be able to sell in those countries and you have no confidence yet and clear-cut sales in the country you’re first selling into, then it is too soon to be spending those dollars on a patent.
That’s really where I see that happening. The other time is that when you patent too soon, before you really developed that product market fit or assessed that product market fit through good market research, people tend to patent and not just do the provisional. When you go in that soon, I see that they may have to re-patent or file extensions or do things later because things change in the product development process. I just want to make you aware of that, that a lot of capital can get sucked here and when it does it too soon, then it’s not serving your business and it’s not serving you well and you’re pulling capital away from things that are critical and that’s where the hazard, the landmine happen.
Too many secrets. It happens on both sides, inventors and Amazon sellers where we’re so secretive about our products and our ideas and what we want because we’re so afraid of trolls coming in on our category or we’re so afraid of factories stealing our designs or other people stealing our designs that we don’t talk about it enough. When we don’t talk about it enough, what I find happens is that you don’t get enough input. If we’re not getting enough input, then we’re really not being made aware of where the holes are, where the problems are, where the critical factors are, where we might have an engineering problem, where we might have a production problem, where we might have quality issues or we might have consumers who don’t like it and for very obvious reasons that were so obvious to us.
I’m not a fan of being too secretive. I’m a fan of being as secretive as you need, but still be able to seek input and information. That is really, really critical here. I know that upsets a lot of people. It upsets everyone when I talk about it at conferences and other things, but that collaboration is actually essential in the process of being able to make sure that we have a smooth, successful, and fast launch. I prefer to rely less on the secrets and more on my ability, my speed, my accuracy, and my surety, my absolute certainty that I have the best product market fit. I consider it a confidence in my intellectual property and that my secret, whatever it might be, my special sauce, is really special and valuable. I also find that if you’re afraid of big brands taking it over, they don’t see it yet, they don’t see it until it starts selling and by then you’re way ahead of them. They don’t see the value like you do.[Tweet “Rely less on the secrets. Get absolute certainty that you have the best product-market fit”]
Being secretive doesn’t serve you well in terms of getting you the information you need and I really don’t think the risk is as big as you think it is. That’s one of my additional ones. I think that we get really caught up in this idea that we just need to be selling stuff. We need bigger products, we need more products, but I think we get really also caught up in that we don’t really understand that we really don’t have something special enough. Most of the cause of it is I think just not doing enough research. Very often I have someone who comes to me and they are so sure that they have something special and I’m so sure that it’s not. That’s because I spend a tremendous amount of time researching what’s in the marketplace. It’s very different but they don’t look. At the end of the day, they have a product that is me too. Going on Amazon, going through stores, going to specialty shops, going to trade shows, Googling things, checking this out and really making sure that yours is special and not me too is essential here.
When you go into market and you spent a lot of time and you’ve launched all this and at the end of the day people go, “That’s like something I’ve seen before.” You can’t get offended about it because they’re probably right and it’s probably because you didn’t do enough research. That’s where it really helps sometimes to get an outside view. We get a little caught up in what we’ve done and we don’t realize that our features aren’t standing out and we look just the same as everybody else. We look cookie cutter. We really want to be careful there and make sure it’s not just our view, but it’s other people’s views. This is a great time for more product market research, for checking the fit, and making sure that they see what you see. If you really do believe that even though there are other products on the market and that’s not a bad thing, but that those products and your products really are separated by the key feature and the value that you add. Don’t shop core source.
I get people all the time and I’m shocked at the size of the brands, ten million dollar brands who are shoppers. They go to Asia and they shop at the Canton Fair that just happened recently. If you’re shopping and buying from there, that’s what I’m talking about, but if you’re actually just shopping and browsing, you’re getting ideas and you’re looking to meet new people and maybe meet some factories and then you’re going to go do what I call core sourcing, you’re going to go directly to the core, directly to the source. You’re going to check them out and you’re going to build a relationship with them, that’s the shopping you should do. When you’re shopping, you’re just going through and you’re picking things.
What you don’t understand is that a lot of these fairs and marketplaces and Alibaba and all of those places that you shop on are geared for that. They’re geared to make you impulse shop. They’re geared to make you walk away and go, “This is so exciting” and not check deeper and not understand that there might be lots of layers of sales margin and other things on there because they are distributors and there’s no different relationships through it. People are just showing the products for another factory down the street and they don’t really have all the information, so you may miss out on information. You may miss out on price.
The other part that I really think that you do miss out on is really a deep understanding of is this is a core product for them. Are they going to keep carrying it or is this just an in and out? Is it something that’s going to be gone tomorrow because it’s actually closed out for them and that’s why they stuck it at the fair and at the show? They just want to get rid of it as fast as possible. We don’t believe in just doing that shopping level. We think you have to go to the source. You really need to check them out and the bigger you get, the more critical this becomes because the more critical your quality becomes because you have more money at risk. You have a bigger business at risk, your brand is bigger, and also because it’s time to start shaving away those margin points. It’s time for you to get as low as possible because you’re going to start building a bigger overhead.
These are some key things to do and reality is it is also core sourcing and building a relationship directly with the factory that helps you build a trust factor that goes back and forth between the two of you in which they believe that you’re going to give them more business, and in return, they hold your product more securely and safely. They don’t go if it falls off the truck and they sell it to someone else, or they don’t violate your intellectual property in some other way or they don’t share your secrets and they’re very careful with it because they value your business and they value you as a relationship and a person that they’re going to grow with and a company they’re going to grow with. That’s another reason why we like to do the core sourcing model. It can get you into trouble. We’ve seen it so often where someone gets a product and it’s going really well and they’re so excited about it, and they go to reorder and they say, “We’ll take your money. We’ll take your order.” Then delay after delay happens.
The reality is it’s because of various reasons. The number one we find out is that that was a product that they had made and had some inventory at one time, but now no longer have it. For them to break into their manufacturing run, to run it again for you and your reorder is probably too small for them, it’s not of great value. They’re not in a hurry and they don’t work hard to make that happen on your timeline. It’s on their timeline and that can get to be a very, very big problem. In the end, you might lose your reviews and lose your ranking. You might not be able to continue to have your relationships and your business that you’re doing on the shelf either if you damage that with a big retailer. From that perspective, that’s why we’re really a fan of making sure that you know that you’re at the source. You’ve met them, you talked to them and you get to that core of where your products are made.
Overstock cost. Some of the problems are when you find something, a lot of you will go into buying too much inventory. We have these overstock costs where you would just have way, way too much inventory. What you don’t consider is the process. You hear the talk about too much inventory, but you’re not considering the costs of that inventory. I have it happen a lot usually in beauty brands, sometimes in food products, things that have an expiration date, especially high value things that have an expiration date. Beauty products are classics, wonderful and beautiful creams that do amazing things for reducing wrinkles and fine lines and under eye bags. When that happens, they get really caught up because it’s of great value. They don’t want to discount their inventory to get it to move. The reality is having the overstock, having way too much inventory is very, very costly but getting up too close to the expiration date is very dangerous as well.
I always like to think of all of my inventories, every product that we’re carrying as having an expiration date. It forces you to think about that. You plan in a certain cost factor. You plan in a certain level of inventory terms. “Am I going to turn one per store per week?” if you’re in retail store or “Am I going to turn 100 items a month on Amazon or thousand items?” whatever your turns might be, your measurement of that. If you’re not achieving that, you have to think about all that excess inventory. If you plan to sell one hundred on Amazon and you sold eighty, now you’ve got twenty.
It is costing you more money the next month than you plan because it’s not moving out fast enough and getting to your next order fast enough. You have to look at that as a cost factor and those cost factors add up, we see them on our balance sheet. We don’t see them on our profit and loss sheets and that’s really where you start seeing it. You don’t see it in the day-to-day. It’s maybe not on your cost to goods factor because it’s about when I would get that revenue, but not getting that revenue means you have less money to market. You’re not moving the product faster and over time it has a negative effect to the point at which I find a lot of companies were like, “How did they end up at 1% profitability?” A lot of it is because they overstocked on product thinking they were cutting their costs down by buying a bigger run. In the end when they didn’t move it, they weren’t able to spend the money that they could have utilized in other places to make that inventory move faster, to advertise and make that happen. It cascaded into extra long time and the sales dragged out and it dragged down their business. This is a big warning area for me because it’s unseen, because it’s not on your cost of goods analysis a lot of times, and it’s something that should be. I wanted to bring that to your attention as well because this one can cost you your brand and it’s like the slow death. We don’t want that to happen.
Going back to that cost basis we are talking about. You’re checking out your cost of goods. This is a really big problem for a lot of people, is that they only look one direction on the pricing. They look at cost basis pricing versus its market basis pricing. Those are the two ways. Cost basis versus market basis. When you look at cost basis as your starting point, when you start with cost basis pricing, when you were looking at, “I have this product and to make this product, it’s going to cost me $2 and that means that I should sell it for $4 or $6,” or whatever that might be that your margin factor is and you think about that, a lot of times you don’t have all the numbers you need in analyzing that cost basis.
You’re coming from a place that is missing program costs if you’re going on the shelf or considerations of where you’re selling it right now. What are you going to do when you go wholesale or something like that? You haven’t really looked at it from the cost basis in all of those factors and you should. Also, because a lot of times what we find is that they think, “If it costs me this much and I sell it for double that or triple that, then that’ll be fine,” and you get into the market and you find out it’s not competitive. There may have been features and functions and things that were in there were adjusting that cost and making it a little too high that could have been taken out the will affect your profitability but would not have affected your ability to sell it.
When I look at those things, that’s what I really think about is I think going from cost basis only worries me. When I see a company that only does that, that they really look at that and that’s how they price and gauge their market, it’s no wonder to me their products aren’t turning and products aren’t selling. Companies that only come from the market basis pricing, especially when you’re using Amazon tools like Jungle Scout and some of these other things and you’re using this algorithm model of figuring out what your market price should be, sometimes you’re leaving money on the table. That’s really where you want to play and go higher and see what happens a lot of times. You are also sometimes leaving a lot of profit on the table. That’s why I recommend going both directions. Obviously, we want to be competitively priced.
We want to keep it up if we can, but if we can’t then we want to at least be at market status so that we’re competitive against everyone else on the marketplace. At least it’s apples to apples. Then we want to go from that cost and say, “If I’m at this cost at $2 and I’m going up to $4 and yet I can sell it for $6, then I’ve got a little more margin. I’ve got more room. I’ve got more comfort level. I have room to play if I have to bring my price down, but I also have room for wholesalers and mass market retail and I’ve got the room that I need.” That’s what we look at.
If you have no choice, if there is no comparison, you don’t know how to do it any other way and you have to go from cost basis pricing, then my recommendation to you is do not do less than a 70% margin. Meaning that you’re charge much, much more for your product than you probably thought you would want to. You have to be reserving 70% of your sales price, 70% of what you’re going to sell it for, for all of those other costs that you don’t know, all of the marketing, all of the things. You might even want it bigger than that because at the end of the day, you really, really must make a good margin on this product because you’re going to have to educate the market if nothing else exists on it. Really be thinking about that and making sure that if you’re going to use this, you’ve really factored in and given yourself a cushion.
That’s my lecture on pricing. We’re going to do a whole episode on it and we’ll talk about the difference between margins and doubling prices and things like that because that’s pretty typical. The other thing I want to talk about as time wasters. We have a lot of time wasters in the process. I hit on this all the time because it’s a big factor for every single entrepreneur. They have things that they do that are wasting their time on their path to getting launched. Launching a whole brand, launching a company, launching a podcast, launching a membership site, I lost a whole year of time with a lot of time wasters in that process. It happens to all of us. I have identified a couple of time wasters that are significant and if you reduce these, you have a less likelihood for failure and you speed up your time to market. If you speed up your time to market, that’s better for everyone. You’re going to achieve revenue faster.
The biggest time wasters I have are the things that we procrastinate about and the things that suck us in. For me, I like numbers. I do. I’m a designer who likes numbers, so balance sheets and profitability and forecasting and all of those things suck me in. They get me to spend a lot of time on them and figure out and do projections and think about it and analyze whether or not it’s worth it. At the end of the day, it’s not making any money. Really, it’s a snapshot in time, so it’s not really useful for me, and I’m probably not the best person to be doing that and that’s really the key here. If what’s sucking you in isn’t going to be the core thing that really everyone is buying your product for or buying your services for, whatever that might be that is your core thing, your value that you add to the world, my doing numbers is not making products more innovative. It’s not helping you develop your brands. It’s not helping you launch your products. My doing that just isn’t serving anyone well. Someone else can do that. It’s important information to my business, but it’s not important that I do it.
That’s really where we get a little caught up. I get that with a lot of engineers because they like to spend time tinkering on their prototypes and I know you engineers out there. I know you’re like, “But I’m good at it.” The reality is, is if it’s not serving you well and it’s good enough the way it is and you need to market test it and you need to move on to the other things to build your brand. That’s sucking you in, you may leave that up to somebody else you trust. It also might be the thing that is something that you just feel like you can’t let go of. That’s the numbers for me as well. I’ve been through quite a few accountants because they didn’t do it my way. That’s really the perfectionist in me was really like, “I’m not getting good numbers and I can’t trust this person to do it my way, so I’m going to take that back over and why spend the money on it?”[Tweet “Your time is valuable and you need to spend it on things that are adding brand value.”]
That’s really a problem because when you get into that, my time is valuable. Your time is valuable and you need to spend it on things that are adding value to you. The day in and day out of getting your product launched, getting your brand off the ground, and getting this going and into revenue as fast as possible. That is what suck you inside, the stuff you dive deep into, but the procrastination side is a whole other thing. These are the things where typically you have a lot of unknowns. You need to learn stuff to do it. You might need to find somebody and you don’t know who to trust. You’re procrastinating out about it and it just doesn’t get done.
Sometimes procrastination is a good thing. It’s a sign that we’re not ready. It’s a good sign of us sitting back and having to reevaluate, “Do I want this badly enough?” Those are good indicators, but if you’ve assessed that and you’re still procrastinating, I highly suggest you go out there and seek someone who’s an expert in whatever it is you’re procrastinating in. It may just be that it was because you didn’t see the path, you didn’t see how it could get done, how you could get through this, and because you didn’t see it, you were afraid to even take one step. That’s really where procrastination comes in. Procrastination, that’s the nature of it. You’re wasting time.
If you waste time and then you have to do it anyway and you didn’t seek help or didn’t seek guidance, didn’t learn whatever it was you needed to learn to be able to do it, and you didn’t make that happen, when you rush, then you’re highly likely to make big errors. That’s how you fall into one of those product launch hazards. That’s how you fall into the big hole. Rushing does no one any good if you trust the wrong people, you follow the wrong model, or you do the wrong things. Getting out of that procrastination and time-sucking, time-wasters is the best thing that you can do for your brand and your product and your launch.
There are so many things that we’re unaware of. One of the biggest areas that Product Launch Hazzards is here for is to help you figure out what you don’t know, to help you find people who will give you good answers on when they’ve been there and done that and fallen into one of these hazards and the holes. Another area that I find brands all over the place are aware, maybe cursory aware of things like human trafficking, labor trafficking, slave labor, child labor, that’s happening on your goods and products and you’re aware but you think you can’t do something about it. That in and of itself is its own launch landmine. It is its own hazard.
I see this happen for a lot of people who will make products in the US. It’s a big, big problem here in California. We have 95% labor noncompliance, meaning that they’re not paying full wages for the goods. They’re not paying California wages, but they’re not paying Federal wages either for the goods that are being made. Actually, they’re hot goods. They are stolen goods because you’ve stolen the labor to make them. That happens in the garment industry in LA. It happens in the construction industry all throughout the State. It’s happening all over the place and big brands know it. They know it’s going on. They don’t know what it looks like though. They have an inkling of what it is. They’re pretty sure it’s happening to them, but they get caught unaware. They get caught out of nowhere and a factory gets shut down by the Department of Labor or the City Attorney’s Office.
These things happened and they were like, “What happened? Now, we don’t have our goods. We don’t have a factory to make the next product or make the existing products. We’re going to lose revenue instantly. Our brand is at stake because we got named in it for being part of this factory.” That happens as well when they put in a report and they put it out a press release every time they shut down a factory. These things happen and it caught your brand completely unaware. It is important for you to see those signs all along the way and understand where they’re happening. Put controls in place and really, really look at what’s going on.
My dad was talking to me the other day because he’s very aware of this happening in the construction industry. He came out of a very large engineering and construction company that built pipelines all over the world. The Alaska pipelines, this pipeline in South Africa and these gigantic oil processing plants as well. He was saying that sometimes when they would go into a country that had really bad labor practices, that what they would do is they would put into their contracts that they personally would hand out the wages. They would go down to the job site, and they would personally handout wages to people and they would personally make sure that they received it, that their time sheets were there, all of these things, but at the same time did they then hand it over to a trafficker? Did they then hand it over to someone else? What happens in that process is you can’t be in control of that, and that’s was very frustrating to my dad and their business and their company is that they could only insure so much. It makes people really frustrated and say, “I can’t do anything about this.”
Now, you can get caught in what you don’t know that you didn’t know that you should have known and you can also get caught by what you didn’t at least make an attempt to make it right. That’s really why I was bringing you that story. My father’s company, they tried to do it the right way. They tried to make it right. They put their own people in production management positions. They did all of those things so that they could do the best for the people that were doing the work as possible, but also because they’re spending the money anyway. Why do they want it going to some criminals, they want to go into the people who are really doing the work. You want that same thing. You have a big brand that you’re building and you have the desire to help the world improve it with your product innovations.
You want to do that and you don’t want to fall victim to this process that’s happening right under your nose without at least doing investigations, audits, filling out compliance documents, putting it into your contract requirements, and really following best practices and things that are out there. These landmines exist and they hurt big brands and small brands, but when they hurt the small brands, you guys go out of business, and that’s really why I’m bringing these top ten hazards out for you just so that you can really see what and have a sense of the things you should know and you should ask.
I’m going to be doing more on this labor trafficking over time. It’s part of a mission that I’m working on to try to resolve the problem for the industry as a whole, not just those that are shopping and doing this in China because actually there are some good practices there. The model that Walmart and Target have put in place and some of these other companies, it’s a model that isn’t flawless. Things still happen under there. It is a model for some practices and some audit practices that really do work and at least give you red flags and give you a sense of, “Something’s not right here.”
The biggest thing I want to make you aware of is that you have a gut and you know when it’s too little to be paying for a product. You know when something doesn’t seem right with the factory owner and/or the production manager and/or the way things are happening. When you visit the factory, you aren’t seeing your product on the line. You know that something’s going on. Subcontracting and just that gut feeling that something’s going wrong, please listen to it. It is your sense that this is not right and you put your brand at risk when you don’t listen to that.
Those were my top ten hazards. I’m going to go back to recap really quickly so that you have them and you can see them. I really want you to pay attention to these, but they’re not the only ones. These are just the biggest ones. The ones that tend to cost to your business, that tend to cost you your brand, cost you really costly time delays or lots of re-dos. Being aware of these will help you raise a red flag. If you fall and you think any one of these things might be happening like, “This company is telling me that I need to buy this much inventory.” Does that sound right? Jump on an office or somebody is telling you that, “I’m absolutely the core source of this but you can’t visit the factory when you come. There’s no time for you.” Red flag. Ask because there is someone on this platform, there is an expert who has been there and done that again and again and again.
When you say, “Something doesn’t seem right here, but I’d love it if you would confirm that,” or “Am I on the right track?” That is the purpose here of Product Launch Hazzards. It’s to prevent these product launch hazards, the ones that get you into trouble. Utilize us. That’s why we’re here. That’s why you have a membership. That’s why you’re in the group. Join us on these Office Hours to do that.
I hope this has helped you and I really look forward to hearing your questions and diving deeper into it as you all explore this platform more and more and get into asking questions. The only way we can be more aware of these potential landmines, of these potential hazards that were going to face in the product launching process, is to be there for each other and to help each other illuminate and make aware of things that went wrong before. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to talking with you again on my next Office Hours.