Updated: Jul 20
Non-disclosure agreement signed.
I secured a meeting, for Josie a client, with the president and her vice president of product development of a gift company.
Josie had a prototype for a first-ever product for an industry whose annual contribution to the GNP hovers at $75 billion dollars. Cha-ching.
This company willing to meet was kind of a big deal, because they design and produce about eight thousand SKUs, retail lingo for gift items, and sell them to national retailers across the U.S., including Josie’s target market. If they saw its potential, they could invest in and distribute her product.
So, to Josie this opportunity was similar to the young baritone being called to fill in for Andrea Bocelli during rehearsals with Celine Dion, the one that launched Josh Groban’s career. Two words. Over prepare. Let’s join Josie as she presents her protype and pitch. Expressionless, the president and vice president listened. Their questions started the instant she finished. What’s your wholesale price? What’s the expansion factor? How much money have you invested? The inquisition continued. These professionals who design and sell millions of dollars in products were performing due diligence. Savvy.
But what point did they constantly hammer home? Product development.
Whether it’s a tangible or digital product, competition is brutal, especially if your product is a first-ever like Josie’s. Focus the majority of energy on developing a product with features galore. Because you’re setting an industry standard. If your idea is “that good,” but underdeveloped, a competitor will add features yours lack. They’ll knock off your idea and product in a nanosecond. Your claim to fame is “first to market,” but a product superior to yours will skyrocket sales.
And beyond an ingenious product that speaks for itself, what else can sway an investor’s decision in your favor?
Have a look.
One. Mindset. I can’t emphasize mindset alignment with the goal, enough. It’s not hocus-pocus. Neuroscientists and epigeneticists, in labs across the globe verify how thoughts impact genetic expression, the body and act as the architects of your reality. Mentally rehearse over and again. Imagine feeling like a fabulously successful product inventor. Because if you drag the past fear of failing your fifth-grade science competition into that present meeting, you don’t have to utter one word. Investors will read it telepathically. Fear and success are opposite energies. Prime the mindset pump for success and you’ll exude confidence, which speaks long before you do.
Two. Resourcefulness, it’s an art and a science. Knowing how to frame a question, how to research, what and who to ask to find the answer to any question, when you haven’t a clue, transforms resourcefulness into your super power. For real.
Three. Anticipatory thought. Before courting an investor anticipate objections and memorize the answers to twentyish questions, they’ll ask. Cold. Count on a stumper question. If you must say, “I don’t know,” always follow with, “I’ll find out and get back to you on (insert date).” Always. Then do it. Because you teach people by your actions, not words.
Is there infinitely more to product development and pitching a strategic funding partner than five hundred words allow? Yes, of course. Yet when you’re prepared with a spectacular product, mindset alignment with your goal, are resourceful and you can answer any question regardless of what it is, your genius speaks. Like Groban your career can skyrocket too.
Paula M. Parker (C) 2019
Originally published in