Many would-be Charlotte business owners believe that in order to create a successful firm, they must come up with the next completely new idea.
Shark Tank (which I adore) contributes to this mindset, though the sharks do a great job of bursting the bubbles of anyone who thinks that having a great idea is all it takes to be successful in business.
But I came across this storey about a company that started in the 1970s and whose product you've probably seen (especially if you have ever owned a dog).
It *is* about the concept, after all. However, the inspiration for the idea came from the scraps of a previous job, and you might find something useful there.
Because I still believe there is something to be said for us "small fry" Charlotte entrepreneurs — service business owners, independent retailers, salespeople, franchisees, and so on — who look at the success stories of those who have done it big and wonder what they did.
Whether it's a new product or service line within your existing business or something completely different, we sometimes just need to open our eyes to recognise and begin solving problems effectively.
Using Effective Solutions to Solve Problems in Charlotte Businesses
“Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don’t have any problems, you don’t get any seeds.” – Norman Vincent Peale
Joe Markham was having difficulties.
Fritz, his three-year-old German Shepherd, enjoyed chewing on rocks. His teeth had shrunk to one-third of their original size.
Fritz was a wonderful and loving companion in every other way. But Markham was well aware that the dog's one bad habit was putting his health in jeopardy. As a result, Markham, a motorcycle shop partner, encouraged Fritz to try softer alternatives like radiator hoses and motorcycle tyres (customers often saw Fritz flying through the shop with a whole bike tyre sticking out of his mouth).
However, the dog didn't care for either of these items enough to make them suitable substitutes for rocks.
When winter arrived, the bike shop stayed busy by repairing cars and snowmobiles. Fritz stretched under a workbench one day, retrieved a car part, and trotted over to Markham, dropping the part on Markham's foot. It was love at first bite with this rubber-knobbed gizmo, which was a prize. Fritz had forgotten about his favourite rocks. Customers were curious as to what kind of toy was making the dog so happy.
That's when Markham realised that if his dog liked this type of rubber so much, so would other dogs.
As a result, a long road of prototypes, rejections, production issues, criticism, and late-night advertising spots began. Markham persisted, knowing that his true customers — the furry, four-legged ones — would back him up.
Today, Markham's Kong toy has sold more than 50 million units, about one for every dog in the United States. And, in my opinion, while endurance was important, the actual secret to his success was that he remained focused on providing a pleasant, practical solution to a common problem.
So, Charlotte business owners, I have a question for you...
Where can YOU go for these hidden solutions to difficulties that your own consumers are having? It doesn't have to be a clever, innovative creation; it might simply be meeting a perceived need well and efficiently.
However, those issues DO exist. And the answer could very well be hidden among your discarded items.
Please feel free to forward this article to a Charlotte business associate or client who could benefit from our help — or simply direct them to our website. While most of these articles are about company strategy, as you may know, we specialise in tax preparation and planning for families and small businesses.
Sara F Gonzalez (704) 599-3355 Kohari & Gonzalez PLLC