I speak at trade shows all across the country on the subject of selling to chain stores and this enables me to talk to 1000’s of product companies. And what I’ve come to realize is that there are some clear distinctions between the companies who fail vs. the ones who succeed. And the distinctions are becoming more prevalent the more I teach this stuff. So I thought I’d take a minute to share a few of these distinctions as I’m hoping it will be the ‘tipping point’ for some of you who are having challenges along the way of bringing your products to market.

1) The successful product companies create a strategic plan with their end goal in mind.

In other words, they decide what they want for their business and then write out their plan of attack. They think through, research and strategize and THEN they take action steps. Too many people are all over the place, taking action prior to really sitting down and coming up with a systematic approach to achieving their end goal. The clearer you are about your goals, the better the outcome. The right people show up to give you the support you need when you are clear about what you want. It’s amazing how powerful and simple a clearly written plan can be.

By the way, for those of you who need additional support on creating a written plan, feel free check out a few of my favorite books on the subject: One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan or Goals by Brian Tracy. I’m not affiliated with these authors, I just think they are great!

2) Successful product companies don’t quit when times get tough AND they don’t let money get in the way of their goals.

It always amazes me how many product companies with great product ideas walk away from their dreams because of money. It’s hard to watch because I know so many product companies who are successful and they had financial challenges too! The only difference is the successful companies wouldn’t quit until they found a solution! Some had to start small…selling their products from one small retailer to another until they had enough money to fund their business. While others contacted experts and learned about other financial options available to them in the product industry.

To me the question always is….how bad do you want it? If you want it bad enough you will find a way. It may not be fun, or easy in any way, but anything is possible if you make a commitment to yourself that you will find a way no matter what.

3) Successful product company CEO’s are avid learners.

If I think back to the CEO’s I’ve met who were incredibly successful with their products, I would attribute it to the fact that they ask a lot of questions and are always on the lookout for information that will help them succeed. They dig around online, call experts in their product category and find as much information as they can on how to generate revenue with their products.

In order to set yourself for success, you have to do whatever you can to make intelligent decisions. And the best way to do that is to take ownership of your dream and to learn what it takes to become a success story. You don’t have to know everything, but you have to be at least willing to try! It’s amazing how many CEO’s I meet who just assume that you can find someone else to do the dirty work for you without trying to understand the process. These are the same companies who wonder later on why their products aren’t generating the real revenue that they were hoping for.

And it’s the same for anything in business! For instance, if I want to create a new website, then yes I would hire a professional to do the work. However, if I want to truly succeed, I would probably research other websites in my industry that are doing well and try and emulate some of their strategies. I would then hand this information to the designer so that they can do what they do best.

Bottom line – you have to be consistently learning and growing in order to truly succeed. And you can’t do that if you are hoping that other people will do all of the work for you. Nobody cares about your business as much as you do. So find the most efficient and effective way to get the information you need in order to succeed and start making things happen!

Anyhow, I hope these insights provide value for you. Obviously there are additional distinctions in the realm of success vs. failure, but I thought these few points would at least get you thinking. So whenever you’re in a jam and you just feel like quitting, just ask yourself ‘how bad do you want it?’ And if the answer is that you want it bad, then never stop until you win!

To Your Success,

Karen Waksman