Product Development – who to choose?
It is a pretty busy world these days with lots of noise on the Internet and News Services so it can be hard to tell what is real from what is hype and what is just not true. If you don’t have an existing partnership with a Product Development company or are not satisfied with your existing relationships, how do you decide who to approach next?
To answer that question, I’ll back up to a time when we realised that they don’t teach you how to run a business in engineering school and we got a serious education in business principles in order for Successful Endeavours to be able to grow and make the difference it now does.
Our business coached asked us this question, “are you any good”?
And followed up with this statement, “Don’t say anything, don’t point me to your website, don’t tell me your SEO or traffic is good, don’t send me a glossy brochure; Prove It“!
My initial response was, “Give me a break“!
But then I thought about it. No-one want to buy a dud. I’d want the same confidence in selecting a supplier / partner to work with. So how can we prove to people that we are at least worth talking to?
The answer we came up with is awards. External confirmation that you are doing something at a high standard. The funny part was that at this stage 2 of the products we had helped develop had already won awards. I had never even though about letting people know about that because we always wanted it to be only about the client’s success. Since starting this process in 2009 we have won or been finalists for 54 awards across business, industry and technical categories. An example below.
Are there other ways to identify prospective suppliers?
The answer is yes, especially here in Australia. The tall poppy syndrome means that we are reluctant to promote ourselves. Which means very few smaller businesses actually do. The big corporates and multinationals know how to do this but 97% of all Australian businesses are less than $1M* in turnover and there are only some 15,000 medium sized enterprises in the whole country*.
So an excellent way to identify a business worth at least having a conversation with is to use industry directories. Because only the businesses that understand how to present themselves are going to be in there.
Another story from our business coaching days. When discussing the issue of promotion and Australian’s reluctance to do it, our business coach said this, “Ray, every time you don’t let a prospect know who you are, what you offer and how much they will benefit from that; you have not just robbed you, you have also robbed them“!
OK, so now I get it. It isn’t about us, it is about them and how they benefit. If I don’t do this (authentically) then I’m failing in my desire to change the Australian economy by designing complex and commercially defensible electronics products that can then be made profitable in Australia. I’m not yet comfortable but I have a reason to do this and learn to be comfortable with it.
Based on this we enterred the Casey Business Awards and won Casey Business of the Year 2010.
We also joined SEMMA and AMTIL who are Australian Manufacturing Industry bodies and have continued to add to Successful Endeavours Business and Industry Awards.
3rd part endorsements are always better than self promotion so this is an excellent way to prove you are worth approaching. There are a few that I will mention:
- Local council business groups and chambers of commerce
- Industry groups. In our case SEMMA, AMTIL and IoT Alliance of Australia
- Directories such as Design Rush Product Design and Development
The main question to answer when looking at groups to belong to and places to be listed is whether this will be favourable for new prospects to consider you. Always hard to know for sure but we have found what works for us by trial and error, and I recommend you do the same.
Note: * Australian Bureau of Statistics
Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years.
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