Monthly Archives: August 2009

Triplets- Bootstrapping Tactics

During the dawn of ecommerce I started the direct marketing efforts for a major consumer durables company. Getting customers is always the first step in a good bootstrapping scenario so I set out to test some online advertising. Banner advertising was state-of-the-art, so I put together a detailed outline for the creative design of a banner ad that I was sure would capture the hearts and minds of Internet shoppers across the US. The ad featured a variety of animations and catchy phrases. I identified about six different design companies and sent them the spec for a quote. Continue reading

Customers vs. Consumers

It is not uncommon for the entrepreneur to have trouble figuring out which side their bread is buttered on and who is doing the buttering. I often hear about start-up companies that are “doing really well” even though they haven’t made a dime. Heck, I’ve had companies like this myself. In these days of free online services it’s easy to get carried away with the fact that your web site is getting a lot of users even though they aren’t spending any money. Continue reading

Branddaddy Longlegs

One of the great things about a start-up company it the opportunity to create a great brand. A great brand is like a club that everybody wants to be a member of. A great brand transcends the product or service the company provides and creates its own attraction. The Customers, or members, appreciate the company for the sense of belonging it provides over and above the product’s functionality or service’s quality. Continue reading

Entrepreneurial Marketing Strategy

Everybody knows that proverbial low-hanging fruit offers the best opportunity for a start-up company. However, most customers don’t grow on trees so it’s sometimes difficult to identify low-hanging fruit and, after you find it a pick it, how do you determine what to pick next? We need a simple model for segmentation that will work in any industry. Continue reading

Spare No Expense- A Philosophy for Bootstrapping

Let’s all agree that the reason for embarking on your start-up mission is to make money. There could be other reasons, but for argument sake we’ll pretend the point of the start-up is to generate positive cash flow so that it can get past the “start-up” phase, into the “growth” phase and finally into the “acquire-Google-phase”. Continue reading

Planning- the Role of Luck

Two fine fellows set out to make $1 million in a year. They both write their business plans and get started. A year later the first fellow has made $500,000 and the second fellow made $10,000,000. Which one is the better businessman? Continue reading

Understanding Socially Conscious Businesses

In business the term “socially conscious” is thrown around a lot these days and I’m not sure people really understand what it means to a business model. And, while I am certainly not against being charitable or socially conscious, I think it is important that entrepreneurs need to carefully understand the implications of being socially conscious and build a business model that reflects that understanding. Continue reading

Saltwater Bag

WaterHere is another one of the tackle boxes I invented with my friend Daniel Arsenault. It’s a bag that is designed to be used on a saltwater fishing boat that can be hosed off at the end of the day.

Daniel was coming up with some product concepts when he had an idea to do a bag that was made like a rubber rain boot. Nobody at Plano really took to the idea, but I kept pushing them because I thought it had merit and I included it in a market test at the Bassmaster Classic. It got high marks.

However, the design hit a wall when we couldn’t get a zipper to move around curves and still be waterproof. My idea was to add a “rain hat” like cover. So, there is a lid with a regular zipper and another lid that acts like a rain hat over the entire top. The user lifts up the hat and can easily access the zipper. Volia! A new product is born.

This new product is part of the 2009 tackle lineup.


Bucket Top Tackle Box

 BucketTopHere is one of the fishing tackle boxes that I invented. The idea came out of an afternoon brainstorming session with the engineer from Plano Molding Company. We were talking about how to fit their plastic utility boxes into a waterproof bag. Due to the shape of the bag we talked a little about a large round utility box (Plano aready had small round boxes).

The engineer said they had once considered a round box to fit into a 5-gallon bucket that many fishermen use. I came up with the idea to put an edge around it so that it would double as a seat. Voila! New product born.

The engineer (John) did all the design and CAD work so I can’t take credit for that, but I did come up with the basic concept. I did some research on a mock-up at the Bassmaster Classic and the design was a huge hit.

The bucket-top tackle box is in the new product lineup for 2009.