With a little thought, some imagination, and some inspiration, now might be the time for you to rethink where you are and where you are going, even if it means starting your own business. Remember, small businesses can grow.
Chuck Resor is a sole proprietor, which means he is the only one in his business. Yet, his Jackson, Wyoming company is a runaway success story. Resor invented his product, but rather than hiring people to design, market and manufacture it, he chose to do it all himself by outsourcing or sub-contracting everything about his company. Mr. Resor is the inventor of FlashMaster, an electronic game that assists students in learning arithmetic. He came up with the idea when one of his children was having difficulty with math in elementary school.
According to The Wall Street Journal reporter John Bussey, Resor spent several years
getting his handheld game designed and produced, but he has sold over 250,000 units around the world with a retail price tag of $54.95. All by himself. He outsourced to the lowest cost suppliers and even sub-contracted the software developers. He told Bussey “I wrote 40 pages, single-spaced of specifications…they did the programming.” He then contracted the production with a manufacturing company he had visited in China. In turn, that company sourced some of the products it needed from a company in Taiwan. Once his manufacturing was well in hand, he began marketing the product by traveling to education conferences around the country, handing out free samples and the product took off from there. As a result of his approach, he was not only able to sell his product at a price point that was appealing to the consumer, he was able to maintain huge markups resulting in a very nice profit for himself. From all appearances, his approach has been completely successful.
Charlie Emery of Benton, Wisconsin is another one man success story. He wanted to build his own pinball machines but could not find anyone to manufacture the electronic circuit boards for them. Instead of outsourcing overseas, Charlie reached out to Macro-Fab a circuit board manufacturer in Houston, Texas. Entrepreneur Magazine reports that Macro-Fab helped Emery build prototypes and then helped him manufacture the products in small runs. While this approach has traditionally been more expensive than production overseas, it does have a tendency to remove a lot of barriers by keeping everything domestic. In the meantime, Charlie Emery was able to get 10 circuit boards from Macro-Fab to help him in the creation of his $5,995 pinball machines.
It all started in her kitchen. The year was 2010 and Jamie was thirty-two years old. Jamie was wanting to try something new, something that was different, and yet, something that was an all natural. It was a new deodorant, not an anti-perspirant. Her product was intended to control the odor produced by sweat, not to prevent a person from sweating. Once she determined the ingredients for her product, she put it in a Mason jar and started selling it around her town. By 2012, a mere two years later, she was selling her product at a holiday craft market. Her first big break came when someone from Whole Foods attended the craft fair and became a customer.
By 2014, Fox News had heard about her product and wanted to know more about it. That inquiry resulted in an appearance on national television, giving her product huge exposure. That resulted in a significant bump of internet exposure. Jamie strategically managed her public relations and social media accounts for her product, helping to take her company to the next level of growth. That was only five years after she had developed her product. Jamie Schmidt was on her way.
The next step in the growth of her company included a capital infusion by a private investor, but by 2017, according to Inc. Magazine, Schmidt’s company had worldwide distribution and a customer list which included all the top name retailers like Walmart, Costco, and Target. By the end of 2017, she sold the company to Unilever for an undisclosed amount.
Jamie Schmidt is but another recent example of a small company that started off in their own kitchen, becoming a bigger company producing hundreds of thousands of units in a very short amount of time. Yet, it is another great example of how a small business became a bigger business.