As I write this I realize how much time I wasted humming and hawing over my pitch deck. The solid statistics I had, the demographic for my product honed, patents moving forward, website, word press… What I didn’t have was the right team of believers; qualified believers.
You see, I spent the last two years working on my footwear product, whilst listening to every Tom, Dick and Harry’s input on the idea. I accepted every industry *expert’s* opinion as holy water in a church. Turns out that sanctification did not keep my head above water as I needed it to.
It was only when I moved a little bit away from a full on entrepreneurial “sell my idea” model to a “learn more about the industry” model that the right attractions began. I had to (almost daily) revisit my *why* over my *how*. My quest for the perfect business and selling model needed to be shelved to make room for finding the right people who not only shared the *why* but already were successful at marketing and selling a similar product. Complementary collaboration seems to be the winning way.
Find a big (or medium sized) fish that is already swimming up stream and *school* with them. In biology, any group of fish that stay together for social reasons are shoaling, and if the group is swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner, they are schooling. ~wikipedia
If you already have your patents, provisional or otherwise, a big fish can help you open doors and make connections… essentially carrying you with them up stream while you get *schooled* on the business you are trying to be successful in. I learned this more so through collaborations with Pensole designers and Portland Product Werks executives. Simply being around them has opened my eyes to the *how* UpRight Footwear Inc can move forward in it’s quest to save the world.
I have pretty big goals for my footwear, I’d love for the product to be available readily for those who suffer with leg length inequalities, through Zappos or Amazon. I’d love for the footwear to be the gold standard prescription after a loved one has had a hip or knee replacement. I’d love for scoliotic pre-teens and teens to love the coolness of the footwear so they’d wear them to school; all the while outgrowing all or some of their scoliosis. With all these *whys*, it is comforting to be amongst giants who are willing to help with the *how.*
Last words of wisdom… don’t be afraid to ask for help from the big fish. You find them at lectures, online forums and business incubators… Ask for help, because hey, you’ll never know how easy it can be to swim up stream when your surrounded by a school.