Giving makers of handmade goods or specialty food products the tools they need to grow a successful, thriving business.


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Starting a Product-based business - a step-by-step case study - the beginning

Starting a Product-based Business: A step-by-step case study – The beginning

I’ve launched a few businesses in my life, one was not so successful (I was young and lacked the drive and understanding of what it takes to run a business); and one, I like to say, is very successful. (I would contribute a portion of its success to having a partner who shared the vision and the fact that both of us have the passion required to make it go.)  And then there were those in-between businesses that sit dormant – still, we believe, good ideas, but lacking the time and dedication on our part to make a go of them. The truth is, not every business makes it, but each and every one is a learning experience.

My husband and I like to say we’re serial entrepreneurs. We’re now in our 17th year of owning and running the advertising and marketing agency that we call Mod. We have four awesome employees in addition to the two of us.

Over those years, we’ve helped a lot of small businesses get off the ground, from coming up with a name for their business through to developing the entire brand and all the marketing pieces – online and otherwise – that they require.  But now I want to be able to help more entrepreneurs do the same thing. And as a serial entrepreneur, it occurred to me that going through the process of starting a business together – so you can see how it all unfolds – could be extremely beneficial. But then again, do I seriously want to start another business?

Here’s the background and where this idea all started in the first place. My daughter, Olivia, has been having the normal teenage struggle with controlling her hormonal age-related acne. At the same time, I have had a similar struggle as I approach middle-age. So we started thinking about everything we put on our skin and how it might affect us. We realized that we pay way more attention to the things that we put in our bodies than the things that we put on our bodies. This got us thinking.

We decided to dig deeper into the skin care industry. In the process, we discovered that many natural ingredients, such as jojoba oil and several essential oils could benefit our skin. We dug even further and discovered that some of the other products that we were using for “acne-prone skin” could be contributing to our skin problems rather than making them better.

The timing was perfect. Olivia had recently completed a Junior Achievement program at school and really enjoyed it. She had business on the mind. I also had been thinking that I would love for my kids to learn about entrepreneurship – beyond what they’ve learned just by watching me and my husband. And I could use it as a teaching tool to help other makers start their business, too. So the decision was made. Olivia and I would start a business. We would focus on women in the hormonal stages of their lives. With her teen instincts and my business and marketing sense (as well as our skin problem experience,) we could create something out of this. We could make it a learning tool and see where it goes. She was super excited and truthfully, so was I!

This is the case study I want to share with you. Throughout the next several months we’ll write about the process of starting this business and the steps it takes to get it going. From the very beginnings through product launch and the marketing avenues we take. Many of the steps could translate into your own product-based business. I’m hoping our experiences will help you in the areas where you might be feeling stuck. I’ll share our successes and most likely some failures. Or as I like to call them, “minor setbacks”. Stay tuned!

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Next post topic? Research.

Jana (and Olivia)

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