Learning about the industry
I am fortunate that many of my friends work in the retail, games and legal fields. The main areas of advice they had were around setting up and managing a direct-to-consumer retail product, learning about how retailers approach stocking decisions and the negotiations that sit around that decision and relationship. I also learned about how to protect the intellectual property that I have been creating and understanding the unique nature of the educational entertainment space, which is a combination of two complex consumers: children and their parents.
I have focused primarily on two different sets of goals – near-term, measurable goals related to different parts of the business and long-term, aspirational goals.
For the near-term goals I focused on what I considered to be the basics of firming up the product, determining how to produce it and experimenting with how we could reach customers.
As an example, I spent a lot of time testing the product to ensure I was creating something that children enjoyed playing with and that parents would view as valuable. While the sample set wasn't as large as I would have liked, the user testing gave me confidence that I was on the right track to satisfy that goal.
The next focus was nailing down the production process and ensuring I could manage the supply chain – identifying potential suppliers, learning how they work, determining costs and figuring out how best to start producing as I was starting to build the brand.
From a goal perspective, it was very simple: find producers we could trust, narrow that down to one supplier we would run with, ensure delivery of a high quality product and be able to adjust quickly as feedback came in.
This article was first published on smallbusiness.co.uk