Gronk'd Up podcast, episode 4 is all about how to spot an opportunity in the market. Chris Gronkowski has started several successful business over the last few years. In this episode, he discusses how he saw different opportunities and how he capitalized them. Though he has done well with his businesses, there are several things that he wishes he would have known on the front end. He does into detail on things that he wish he knew and how knowing these things could help anyone who may be interested in starting a business and/or developing a new product.
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Below is a high level transcript of some of what we discussed in episode 4 of Gronk'd Up. To listen to the full episode click here.
With this podcast, I wanted to walk through all the steps on spotting an opportunity in the market.
Every since being on Shark Tank, I now get emails and messages all the time from people that have these amazing ideas. The problem is that they have done very little research and have no idea how hard it is to actually get a product off the ground. You also have to make sure that this is a product that people want and not just something that you think is a great idea.
For me, the best ideas were always something that was already a proven concept and then I just made it better. For instance, The shaker bottle wasn't something that I invented, I was just frustrated with the one I was using and found a way to make a better version of it.
So why not try and think of something completely different like UBER did?
I am not saying that UBER was not a good idea, but there is a lot more risk involved when you come out with a completely new concept or completely different product. When consumers have never heard of the product or concept or idea before, it's going to take a lot of education about it which in turn means a lot of marketing dollars and a lot of fund raising. This is a lot more risky but could also turn into an absolute home run but the chances of taking a brand new concept or idea and making it successful are much harder.
I have always believed in taking a proven concept or model and making it better. Ryan knows this but not many other people do. The first time I did this was with an aquarium divider. Most people probably don't know what that is, but it's a divider that goes into an aquarium to separate fish that may be hurt, or baby fish and it stops the other fish from eating them or attacking them.
How the heck did you get this idea?
This is an interesting story. My now wife worked at petsmart in the fish department. And naturally she had bought an aquarium and one day some of her fish had babies. Well the other fish in the tank immediately ate all the babies. So the next time they had babies, we purchased an aquairum divider, but it was terrible. It was extremely flimsy, was hard to assemble and only attached to the tank at the top. So what ended up happening, was that I went to home depot and bought some material and made my own. It was super ugly but it got the job done. This is when I saw that opportunity. I said wow, I can't believe there is nothing better on the market. I then researched and looked every where to see if I could find a better one but everyone just carried the same old flimsy one. So I decided to make a better one. I loved that this was the first product that I created because it taught me so much. First off, just making one simply product was not that simple. It took a lot of time and effort to get drawings made, create packaging and source the product. Next, I thought that I needed to immediately go out and get a patent on the product. So I did.
I applied for a utility patent and figured I would be all set. I was the first one that designed an aquarium divider that attached to the wall of the tank with suction cups. It has these push pins to secure it to the wall of the tank unlike any other design in the past.
Well this utility patent was a beast. It was almost 3 years later and I still hadn't got it granted. I spent ALOT of money on it. And I was way in the hole between the patent and purchasing product. If I didn't patent the product, I would have been making some decent money as the product is a top seller on Amazon.
At the end of the day, if I could go back, I wouldn't patent the product. The product is such a small niche product that no one else is willing to spend the time or effort to get in. It has been 5 years since I put this product up and it still continues to be a top seller.
Listen to full episode here.