157: How Hardware Startups Compete with Big Business

157: How Hardware Startups Compete with Big Business

January 4, 2023

With Mike Stemple, Author of Innovating Innovation

Hosted by Kevin Mako of MAKO Design + Invent

157: How Hardware Startups Compete with Big Business
157: How Hardware Startups Compete with Big Business

Mike Stemple is the Author of Innovating Innovation, a #1 Bestseller. He has also founded multiple consumer product startups, including Skinit wraps, and since then, Original Wraps which sold to 3M. In addition to his own hardware ventures, he also consults a number of Fortune 500 product companies on how to be more entrepreneurial. Today Mike is going to share some valuable knowledge on how inventors, startups, and small manufacturers can beat the big corporations when developing a new product by being faster, more nimble, listening to customer feedback, and much more.

Today you will hear us talk about:

  • There is so much democratization of tools and techniques
  • There are more firms, especially in product design, helping reduce risk and increase success for a new physical product startup.
  • Innovation is being cut, doubling down on existing things that work.
  • Time, talent, and treasure to succeed in a new hardware product.
  • It’s faster than ever to develop a product and get to market than ever before.
  • The next billion-dollar idea is created in a recession
  • Smart big corporate people are leaving to create startups
  • Focus on the primary goal of the acquisition
  • Move from fear-based to opportunity based.
  • Scarcity bring innovation, and recessions fuel that.
  • Get big ideas developed well. Professionally build the idea.
  • Licensing or white labeling can allow you to scale, once you have a product in production that at least a few customers love.
  • Don’t be paralyzed on pitching your product to a big company.
  • Minimum viable product is so important, and the only way of ensuring quality on your first run.
  • The product should evolve over time, and via feedback.
  • Don’t rob your customer of your relationship over time with your brand and product.
  • Intellectual property creation is the only proven investment strategy that an entrepreneur can be successful at, it is within your control. Now is the time.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

  1. 5:30: It has never been a better time to be a hardware entrepreneur launching a physical product company, period.
  2. 5:45: Companies like Mako Design are making it much easier to get to market, less risky to develop a new product, and increasing the success ratios of a new hardware product.
  3. 6:00: Big corporate is becoming more risky, more difficult to innovate new hardware products.
  4. 7:00: Big companies can’t compete with the effectiveness or compete at the same pace as a hardware startup.
  5. 8:24: Big corporate is more interested in acquiring hardware startups (but you have to prove the product, at least a little bit, in the market).  KM explains after how specifically that works meaning that startups need to get to market, just a little bit.
  6. 9:58: Historically, more billion-dollar startups are built (in the creation stage) during a recession.
  7. 11:45: Prove out the idea early.  The more you prove actual manufacturing / viability of the product, the higher the probability of substantial venture funding.
  8. 12:05: Weak developed ideas that are put together with popsicle sticks and duct tape will not be getting funding, instead you need good ideas that are invested in by the entrepreneur and proven to be viable.
  9. 12:30: Licencing after you are in manufacturing to grow your sales.  KM then explains the correct process for licensing, and that you can’t license until your product is at least selling a little bit in the market.
  10. 15:50: One of the fallacies in startups is thinking that you have to build a known brand right out of the gate.
  11. 16:35: Don’t be paralyzed by thinking a big corporation is going to steal your product, their innovation team won’t be able to pull off what you’ve done in getting to production.
  12. 17:00: Kevin Mako: You don’t have to go big, in fact, your sole primary goal as a hardware startup is getting a quality-made product to market, even in just a small volume – That is the greatest milestone of a hardware startup.
  13. 18:13: Kevin Mako: The second advantage of getting a few units out to market is key feedback from customers to help you scale.
  14. 19:00: Mike Stemple: Entrepreneurs too often focus on too many features instead of just getting to market.
  15. 19:29: Kevin Mako: A startup preventing Feature Creep is the easiest way to keep your product development budget reasonable while also ensuring the features you do have are of great quality.
  16. 20:47: Customers want to buy not just your product, but into the journey of how your product evolves over time.
  17. 21:23: Startup products have a soul or a heart to them, big corporate rarely does.
  18. 23:47: The most financially lucrative investment you can make is the investment into new intellectual property that you ideate and develop, more than almost all other personal investment opportunities, especially in a recession.
  19. 24:50: The people who are going to make big money over the next 5 years are those who are investing into developing their own ideas through their own intellectual property.
  20. 25:50: Individuals via startups are going to be the innovators solving society’s biggest problems.
  21. 26:00:  You need to tell yourself that you are going to invest in creating intellectual property that is going to change the world, and your own life.
  22. 26:45: Look at an invention as an investment, not as a cost.
  23. 27:25: Kevin Mako: In the middle of a recession is when you want to build your product so that you’re ready to take advantage of explosive growth when the next economic booms hits.
  24. 28:50: 10 years ago it was very hard to manufacture a new idea, now companies like Mako Design exist to make it very easy for an entrepreneur to compete with big product companies.
  25. 29:05: Mako Design allows a product innovation to be designed right, built with quality, manufacturable, and with much of the risk taken out.
  26. 29:45: Hardware Startups are being acquired much earlier in the sales growth process by big corporations.


EPISODE LINKS

Mike Stemple Links:
LinkedIn | Book

The Product Startup Podcast Links:
https://www.ProductStartup.com/
Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook Page | Facebook Group | Pinterest | Twitter | YouTube

PTC Links:
https://www.ptc.com/
OnShape | Creo

Mako Design Links:
https://www.makodesign.com/
YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter

Kevin Mako Links:
Instagram | LinkedIn | Quora | Facebook | Twitter

Partner: PTC’s best-in-class software solutions Onshape: The only cloud-native product development platform that delivers full-featured computer-aided design (CAD), integrated product data management (PDM) and enterprise analytics in a single system, and Creo: 3D CAD solution that provides designers with the most innovative tools to build better products faster, such as generative design, additive manufacturing, real-time simulation, IIoT, and augmented reality.

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!