74. How to Build a Highly Profitable Product
(with Bob Healey)
One of the most important factors of monetization is creating a great product that people would want to buy. However, the process of creating and developing a new product can be very daunting. In fact, more than 30,000 new products are launched each year and 95% of them fail (Source: Harvard Business School). Moreover, only 40% of developed products make it to market and of that 40%, only 60% will have any success at all. (Source: Marketing Research Association).
That’s why I have Bob Healey with me today. Bob is the founder and CEO of GrillBlazer, which makes a line of products called GrillGuns. Bob has worked as a consultant, helping different organizations with their products, processes, and business development.
Bob is an engineer who loves to find the root cause of any problem and come up with creative solutions. Today, Bob and I discuss how he started GrillBlazer, and Bob explains his process and secrets concerning product creation and product development.
Looking at the Big Picture
Bob believes that the reason he is who he is today, an engineer and a businessman, is his ability to see the finish line faster than anybody else, even when he doesn’t know what he wants to do. It’s like when he used to flip houses when he was younger. He would see the potential of a house well before he remodeled it to match the picture he had in his head.
Bob doesn’t think it matters whether or not we’re working on something we’ve done before. Even if it’s something we’re doing for the first time, we should be able to see what the end looks like.
Do We Have What it Takes?
Bob says that a lot of people have crazy and great ideas, but most of them don’t understand what it takes to make those ideas come true. His advice is that whenever we want to accomplish something, we need to know if we have the necessary resources to make it happen.
“Success is not for those who want it, nor those who need it, but for those who are utterly determined to seize it一whatever it takes.” (Source: Darren Hardy, New York Times best-selling author)
As an engineer, Bob used to design a lot of products for other companies. Part of what he did was to improve the performance of these companies’ processes or products. He had worked for American Electric Power as a contractor. For 6 years, Bob worked for AEP managing contracts and negotiations until the company, looking to cut down costs, decided to let go of all their contractors. Bob found himself stuck between two options: either work for AEP full-time or find something else to do. Since he didn’t want to work for the company anymore, he decided to leave.
After Bob told his wife he was no longer working for AEP, they spent a few days making a list of the things he wanted to do. Bob started by prioritizing what he believed was important. He also gave himself the freedom to add to his list whenever he came up with something new. He needed to find out whether or not its priority took precedence over what he was currently working on.
Knowing When NOT to Proceed
For a whole year, Bob worked on two products prior to GrillBlazer. He had finished the development of both products when he was trying to figure out what was required to be successful in launching these products as businesses. One of the two products was in a very mature multi-billion dollar industry. Bob took time to understand how he would enter that market, what it would cost him, whether or not this business would bring him personal stratification, and what the end result would look like.
After Bob had thought about all these factors, he realized that this wasn’t where he wanted to end up. Bob believes that it takes discipline to stop working on what doesn’t bring us closer to where we want to be. Having enough discipline, Bob decided not to proceed with launching the product.
How GrillGlazer Started
Bob and his family enjoyed having barbecues. It didn’t matter what time of the year it was, they would just have people over and charcoal grill a meal. It was during one of those barbecues, in December 2017, that Bob realized not a lot of people liked to charcoal grill when the snow was blowing. It was too much effort to try to light the grill.
Bob realized that his way of lighting the grill was much easier and it worked all year round. While he was standing out in the cold, taking steaks off the grill, he found his next project.
He started discussing his idea with his family. He knew what he wanted to do and what the end product should be, but he just didn’t know how to do it yet. Although his way of lighting a charcoal grill was efficient, it was complicated and unattractive. So, one of his sons-in-law suggested he make the product look like a gun because people would think it was cool.
It turned out to be great advice. Bob recalls one of his earlier conversations with an attorney, who he was considering as his legal counsel and who was really excited about Bob’s product. Bob asked him if the product had a different design, would he have still bought it? The answer was no. Bob realized that the gun shape made his product look cool, and it was one of the primary reasons why people bought it.
Understand What the Market Wants
Bobs says that it’s essential to figure out and understand what the market wants. Had he not considered what people wanted before he developed his product, he would have ended up with a product that no one wanted to buy. He would have spent all his energy and time trying to convince people that they needed to buy his product. Instead, he just designed a product that people found cool and inclined to buy.
“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” — Seth Godin
How to Come up with a Highly Profitable Product
When I asked Bob to share with us his top strategies to develop a profitable product, he said starting a business from scratch is a complex process. We have to take into consideration all of the aspects of how to design something people will want and then create, manufacture and finance it. Bob advises that we start by asking ourselves: “How are we going to make it happen?” It’s not enough to think that just because we have a great idea, someone else will want to do the work for us.
When Bob was in the process of creating GrillBlazer, he knew because of his experience whenever he would face an obstacle, he would find the resources needed to overcome it. Bob believes we must fully understand the tremendous amount of work involved in this process. Because if we’re not willing to go the distance, we’re not going to make it. Bob also stresses how important it is to ask ourselves if we have what it takes to make our products happen, without having to rely on someone else to do it for us.
Bob mentions how important it is to create credibility so that people can trust us. He tells us how he was able to raise $560,000 by running a Kickstarter fundraising campaign. Although some people doubted if his product was going to sell, by going on to sell $2M worth of products in just the first year of launching, Bob proved how successful his product was.
Thank you so much Bob for sharing your stories and knowledge with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
1. The most successful people have the ability to look at the big picture. They see what the end looks like.
2. It’s not enough to have a great idea. It’s equally important to understand if we have what it takes to get this idea to the finish line.
3. It takes as much discipline to know when to stop just as it takes to proceed.
4. If we don’t reach beyond our skillset and find people who will augment what we know, we’ll be stuck where we are.
5. Before we put time and effort into developing a product, we must ask ourselves if we have what it takes for our product to be successful.
Connect with Bob Healey
If you enjoyed this interview and want to connect with Bob, you can find him on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/bob-healey-8bbb00b or visit GrillBlazer website https://grillblazer.com.
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