How to Build and Launch A Successful Product Business

How to Build A Successful Startup Business: Advice from MAKO’s Founder

Is your entrepreneurial spirit just itching to come out? Then maybe it’s time you stop working that mundane 9 to 5 and start a career in which you have more control over your hours and your pay. In this article, we will discuss the various methods that you can implement when opening your own startup business. Take it from MAKO, a successful product design firm, it can be done.

How Our Successful Product Design Firm Got It’s Start

MAKO Design + Invent was established in 1999, by our Founder and President Kevin Mako. His ambitious attitude led him to incorporate MAKO Design + Invent in his third year of University. While studying at one of the top business schools in North America, he was a business owner at just 22 years old. Graduating as Section Class President with an additional specialization in Entrepreneurship, Kevin continued his education at the University of Hong Kong studying manufacturing and supply chain management. Today, the president of a successful product design firm, and living out his life passion of running his own business.

successful product design firm

Kevin Mako, Founder of MAKO Design + Invent standing in front of our Toronto office


“Hard work always pays off – Of all things I’ve noticed that differentiate success from failure, being determined and working hard at it outranks everything else.”

-Kevin Mako

Once we find that spark within us to ignite our passion for starting a business, there’s no telling what we are capable of creating. You know that saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’? Well, it’s true and neither are profitable businesses. Building a lucrative company takes time, nurturing and planning. It has to be something you truly care about to be able to reach your goal. Doing anything halfway will never get you to the finish line.

With that being said, let’s dive in and talk about how you too can build a successful startup business just like our successful product design firm.

Solve a persisting everyday problem.

Some of the biggest companies out there are the ones who solved a common problem. Try thinking about what you can bring to the table. What problem-solving capabilities will your business have? Is this a new product or service that can help people? Does it create convenience over an existing company’s business model? Maybe you discovered something that has been absent within the industry you are most knowledgable and you know how to fix it. There are numerous reasons you could be starting your own business, just make sure it is clear to you why you are doing it.

Does your new idea meet the needs of the market you want to service? This is a huge factor to know if your startup business will be profitable. You could have the best, most creative idea in the world, but if no one wants it, is it really going to prosper? Make sure that there will be a demand for it. Market demand drives productivity and creates a higher chance for you to have a successful product design firm or startup business in general.

You’ll also need a passion for what you’re doing. Don’t try to create a business that is marketed towards pro golfers if you hate golf. You will end up despising your own company, and that won’t help anyone. An inner love for what you do will be your best friend in the early years of your startup, it will help you through those hard times in the beginning. So, create something you absolutely love.

successful product design firm

Market demand creates a higher chance for you to have a successful product design firm or startup business in general.

Consult those around you about your idea.

Is your new business idea something that is actually filling a void in the market? A hard-hitting question you need to ask yourself before you commit to owning your own business. If you’re lucky and your idea is a hit, then you’re off to the races. Begin by performing stress tests and analyze the information you find. Networking within the industry will aid you in understanding the field itself better too, that is if you’re a newbie. If you have been working in this industry for years and are finally getting your big break, then talk to your existing network and get friends on board with your new business model.

Market research will always be your true friend when opening a startup. Take it from a successful product design firm; we still do market research and we’ve been open for 10 years. The saying “keep friends close and enemies closer” is partially true in the realm of business, as you always want to know who your main competition is. Don’t get discouraged at the first sign of failure, let that push you forward. Use your failures as an incentive to do better and learn from your mistakes. Do you think the biggest companies in the world knew what they were doing when they opened their first business? I don’t think so. So, as much as you can do market research on your startup business you’ll also be doing a lot of learning as you go. Welcome to the beautiful world of owning a business.

successful product design firm

Talk to your existing network and get friends on board with your new business model.

Ensure proper funds are in order.

Opening a business can be funded in many ways. Apply for grants from the government, take out a loan from the bank, use your savings or start a fundraising campaign online. There are many online websites that help startups get on their feet., GoFundMe, IndieGoGo, to name a few. The government will give you a grant to start your own business as well, you just have to pitch them your business model and prove to them that they’re making an investment which benefits the country in which you’re applying. Be creative, the funds are all out there, you just need to find a way to obtain them.

Build a community of loyal customers.

We all have our favourite brands. Brands we subconsciously reach for in the grocery aisles. Why do we prefer Crest over Colgate? Or Pepsi over Coca-Cola? Sometimes it’s taste, sometimes it’s marketing. Know who your clientele is and what they want to see. Thinking as your clients can really help you gain the perspective you need in selling your new product or business. As a successful product design firm, we see this all the time. A new client with an incredible product idea comes to us but doesn’t know how to get it on the market. Ensuring you set aside funds for competitive marketing will be ideal in building your community.

successful product design firm

Loyal customers buy 90% more often and spend 60% more.

Be a leader, before you’re a boss.

Sure, we all want to be our own boss. What about being someone else’s boss? Once your business gets off the ground and you start hiring some employees, make sure you are setting an example for them. After all, you are the foundation of your company. If they see you working hard, they’ll be motivated to put in the same amount of effort. Keep up the morale and watch your team thrive with you.

Surround yourself with people who want to rise with you.

Hiring people can be a tricky thing sometimes, especially if you’re green at it. Overall you’ll want to ensure you’re hiring those who have a similar vision as you. People whose goals coexist with yours. If you’re someone with drive and a tenacious personality, you’ll need people who share these traits as well. On the other hand, it is good to have employees who think differently, so that collaboration is possible to discover new ideas. After all, great minds think alike though fools seldom differ.

successful product design firm

“A good boss is a man who isn’t worried about his own career but rather the careers of those who work for him.” – H. S. M. Burns

Try implementing these simple factors into your startup, you should find yourself in a profitable position before you know it. To recap the key elements of building a successful startup; hard work pays off, find your passion and run with it. Ensure you’re solving an everyday problem and do your research. Raise funds to get on your feet and begin assembling your army of loyal customers. Make sure you are acting as a leader first and motivate your team to do better. As a successful product design firm, we know first hand that teamwork is one of the largest factors in the prosperity of any business.

If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MAKO and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst.

About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

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