And when it comes to retail and marketing, the best place to seek advice is from those with experience. Kevin Harrington has been investing in and selling products in retail for 40 years. He’s one of the co-founding board members of the Entrepreneur’s Organization, an original shark on Shark Tank, and the inventor of the infomercial.
The term “entrepreneur” is used pretty fast and loose nowadays, as it seems like everyone with a bright idea and a little bit of cash in their pocket can become an entrepreneur. But there might be more to that phenomenon than initially meets the eye.
Kevin put this idea into perspective for us when we asked him about the challenges entrepreneurs face on their long professional journeys.
“The world was not conducive for entrepreneurship in the older days. Today, you could do crowdfunding for your idea; you can leverage advisors to help you raise capital. I think there are way more opportunities to learn how to be an entrepreneur on the internet today.”
Hyper-connectivity provided by the internet has also played a role in the rising numbers of entrepreneurs that we see today. But when it comes to making such a drastic career change, you’ll need much more than simply money to get you where you need to go.
Joining Kevin on the show was our very own CEO, Mauricio Vianna, a man who began his career at a very early age, much like Kevin. We wanted to know what else an entrepreneur needs to have in order to thrive.
“I mean, building self-esteem, it’s so important for an entrepreneur, you know,
being able to survive the obstacles that are always in front of us.”
Let’s Talk About Shark Tank
It would have been a missed opportunity not to ask Kevin about his time on TV’s Shark Tank. We wanted to hear more about a couple of companies that he saw potential in where others didn’t and ended up being real winners.
He told us about a product called CitiKitty, essentially marketed as a tool designed to teach your cat how to use the toilet. The secret sauce here was realizing just how much marketing potential this product had.
“So I said to myself, what would all the television shows, The Today Show, CBS Morning News […]
they might love this as something to have some fun with, right?
And so I got on all of those talk shows.”
Having a quirky product can sometimes backfire when it comes to marketing. But when you have a product that makes for a good conversation topic, and the leverage to get it on the news, you have a real opportunity to get an unimaginable amount of free marketing in place.
Why Product Launches Fly or Die
We’ve all heard that classic statistic that 95% of all product launches fail. Kevin says that he’s batting one for four with his investments. And while a 75% failure rate might look high to the untrained eye, anyone who has ever worked in product launches knows that statistic is actually incredible.
“And the reason […] is because I’ve launched so many products, I turn many of them down because I realize they’re going to be tough, and I don’t take as many risks as I used to.”
That might be the real trick to making product launches work: only invest in the ones you know will be slam dunks. Obviously, there’s way more to it than just that. You have to market a product before you can sell it, and Kevin also had a bit of wisdom for us on that very topic.
“I’ve got a formula that I’m going to give you real fast […]: tease them, please them, seize them. You tease with an attention-grabbing problem, you please by solving that problem with magic transformations and benefits, and you seize with an irresistible offer.”
This is the technique that Kevin’s perfected over a storied career in retail, and it’s one that we hope we’ve been able to replicate here.
We’ve just finished teasing you about our new episode of Techinnovation Talks. Now, we expect that by watching the full episode, we will please you, and the irresistible offer of hiring us to work with you is something you can seize.
But don’t worry about that just yet. For now, just check out the full episode on our YouTube Channel or via our website and share with us your thoughts and opinions.