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Your Money & Your Life

R. C. Steif

I’m a preschool teacher and not a businesswoman, I’d like some help deciding if a product is truly a winner and how to market it

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

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1. How Much Time and Effort?

I GIVE YOU A LOT OF CREDIT for creating what seems like a great product and trying to build a business from it.

It is always helpful for anyone starting a business to isolate what one hopes to accomplish with the business. In your case, deciding whether you’d like to distribute your workbook primarily to inspire and educate children, or to reach certain financial goals, makes a difference in how much time and effort you’ll want to invest in this endeavor.

If you want this to be a successful business venture, here are some of the core issues that will help you decide whether this is a good business idea.

The first issue is figuring out whether your product is geared specifically to a Jewish audience or a general audience. As a rule, the wider the potential purchasing audience, the better chance there is of selling enough products to justify the time and effort you’ll expend on this project. There are certainly products geared to a specific market that have broken through — it’s just more of an uphill battle.

The second issue is determining the financial viability of the business. In order to do that, first identify the cost to produce each piece, the optimal sale price of the product, and the costs of developing the product. At that point, you should be able to make an educated guess about how many units you’ll need to sell in order to reach “profitability.” This is called a pro-forma profit-and-loss statement.

The third issue is how much time, energy, and effort you have to put into your business. It sounds like you are leaning toward trying to do it on the side while maintaining your teaching career. This is certainly understandable, even admirable. However, in general, businesses need a very significant amount of time and effort in order to succeed. If you end up deciding that this is a viable business, it may be worth considering bringing on a partner who can assist with the execution.

The fourth issue is whether this is a “product” or a “business.” There are many great businesses that got started with one product, but very few businesses are sustainable over a long period of time if they do not constantly evolve, develop, and innovate. The more products you think you can develop to put into your pipeline, the better off you will be over the long term.

Determining the answers to these questions will help you decide how viable this venture can be, and whether you’d like to consider launching into a bigger market.

I wish you much brachah and hatzlachah. 

Zevy Wolman, founder of the toy company Make It Real, is involved in The Jewish Entrepreneur, a non-profit organization that provides business owners with mentors. Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 671)

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