From my garage to the NBA
6 Tips That I Learned the Hard Way That Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know!
After suffering a career ending knee injury I dedicated myself to creating a training aid that would help the next generation of basketball players. My intent was to give back to the game that gave me so much. I took all the pain of not being able play basketball anymore, and I combined it with the basketball knowledge I had attained over the years. What resulted was my invention, the Zone190 Zone190 – a first of its kind multi-angled pitch back with defensive hand configurations that helps players take their training to the next level.
I spent long hours working on the Zone190 prototype and all its iterations in my garage. Blood, sweat and tears, in this case, were real as my hands bled, and I sweated and cried in frustration, and finally in happiness that all of the effort had yielded the result I was seeking. Together with my awesome team, I was able to bring Zone190 to market.
Since then Zone190 was issued two patents (which have already been proven to protect the IP), been purchased and used for training by my many NBA teams, featured at the Final Four Convention, written about in Sports Illustrated, and most importantly, used across the globe to help players get better at basketball.
Here are six tips that I learned from this journey that could hopefully help you on your own entrepreneurial journey.
Priorities ~ Entrepreneurship is not a typical 9:00am – 5:00pm job. Entrepreneurs literally become one with their product. There is no day or night, and there are moments of extreme excitement and moments of crazy sadness. It’s very easy to get swept up in the process and lose focus on what’s important in life. Try to enjoy the journey, and take care of yourself mentally and physically so you don’t burn out or sick. Remind yourself frequently that after you put in all the hard work, whatever you are destined to get you will ultimately get. Most importantly, remember that family comes before entrepreneurship. Your spouse and kids’ overall well being is more important than your product. Develop and use great time management skills so you can try to balance your life and not lose those who are most important to you.
Vision ~ Be optimistic see where you are going, and actually envision your success. See it happening and make it happen. Your positive thoughts and vision can help create the reality you are dreaming about. There were literally times that I was working on my prototype and thinking of potential teams that would one day by my product and eventually those teams did by my product.
Resilience ~ One of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur is the ability to be resilient. You will need this alot. Having a positive outlook and vision, as noted previously, can help you be more resilient and overcome any challenges that you may face as an entrepreneur.
Your Team ~ Having the right team is critical to the success of your product. Find people that are positive, hard working, creative, team players, and easy to communicate with. For example, try to find a patent attorney who is easy to talk to, patient, available to you, and who explains everything in detail. Even if it takes longer to find that person or even if it will stall your product from getting to market, it’s worth it. Remind yourself there is someone out there that believes in you and wants to be part of your journey. Taking the time to find that person instead of settling for the wrong person, even if they have a big name, is key.
Functionality ~ At the end of the day you want a product that is functional and improves the current market. Something that is easy for investors and consumers to understand. Something that is easily manufactured and relates to the masses. Don’t always think about your own life. Think about the masses. What the consumers need. With Zone190, I learned that the top coaches are looking for one thing – a product that helps their players get better! It’s easy to get distracted as you go through the process but try to remember that your goal is to improve the current market with a better and more functional product that is more novel than anything else out there.
Marketing – There is an old Jewish saying that says: “By saving one life it’s as if you saved the world.” I believe it’s the same message with marketing. View and treat each individual as if that one person was your entire potential consumer base. At the end of the day word of mouth is still the most powerful tool in marketing. So by trying to establish yourself and product as a good person you will go along way. Finally, make sure your packaging is as cool as your product itself. Make sure when going over your budget that you allocate enough money to packaging – it goes a long way.
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A Jerusalem based biotech company that is working on a soon to be released product that will change the way athletes rehab.