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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023

What Makes a Successful Product?

What Makes a Successful Product? By JEFF WEISS Contributing Reporter In 1658, sometime author Richard Franck declared in his book “Northern Memoirs,” “necessity is the mother of invention.” Chances are Franck’s quote didn’t concern business, considering he was a salmon fisherman who wrote from extensive personal experience of how to take a salmon with a fly. However, his adage translates well to the business world in that a company’s success is partially based on its necessity in the marketplace. Yet history is strewn with examples of brilliant products that never met expectations. Ultimately, success hinges largely upon a combination of marketplace demand for a product and the creator/management team’s savvy, sense of self-promotion and general business acumen. Mehran Salamati, owner of Salamati Productions, invented his product, Hot Gears, for personal use. A cameraman by trade, Salamati worked on numerous film productions and felt that there needed to be a digital remote system that allowed camera operators to be disconnected from their cameras, letting them concentrate on their shots without having to fear for their personal safety. “The product came about out of necessity. I was doing a Toyota Corrolla campaign when I realized that if we had had this piece of equipment (Hot Gears), we would’ve had the shot,” Salamati said. “I made the first Hot Gears item for myself as a cameraman and I took it to a rental company to show him my invention. The owner of the company told me he wanted one. Jokingly, I told him OK, give me a deposit. To my surprise, he wrote the deposit and we started the company.” In order to facilitate the company’s growth, Salamati emphasized peddling an affordable product, doing a little bit of advertising, and ensuring that the product was simple to use. “I can’t speak for anyone else but my philosophy was to make my product affordable and to make it as smart as it could be. I wanted a usable product that people could afford. There are copies of our product for three times the price and they sit on the shelf. Price is crucial,” Salamati said. “We also used a little bit of advertising and a lot of word of mouth. 90 percent of our advertising is recommendations. There are other remote systems in the business, but we made it simple to use. For the guys who are on the set trying to get the show done, it’s efficient quick and very capable.” Being different Freelance camera operator Steven Peterson affirmed the idea that if one provides a product that is better or just plain different from the competition, the invention has a significant chance of success. “The product is easier to set up and more simple to use than its competition. I’ve used every remote system out there and a lot of them require another technician just for the use of the system. Some camera operators rent out Hot Gears, but I own one. I wouldn’t have bought one if there was something better,” Peterson said. Glendale based Mission: Renaissance’s genesis came when founder Larry Gluck discovered that art schools were neglecting to teach their students the basic fundamentals of painting. “I wanted to teach people how to paint the real world. Art schools had stopped teaching the basics. When I moved to Los Angeles a lot of people asked me to teach art. I decided to dig in and find the basics that I was never taught in art school.” Market demand existed, as Gluck’s chain of art schools expanded to twenty locations across Southern California. Gluck readily acknowledges that as much as his idea itself was crucial to the endeavor’s success, hiring good employees, and advertising significantly helped the business grow. “We carefully select people who are enthusiastic about life and turn them into art instructors. A lot of our business comes from word of mouth and signage is also important,” Gluck said. “We put ourselves in locations like shopping malls to make sure people can see us. We are in the larger malls in the area, or in upscale shopping centers, where people see us and get the idea about the program. We carefully locate ourselves so that parents can drop off their children and utilize their time shopping.” San Fernando’s Precision Dynamics Corp. has been around for more than 50 years, providing wristband identification devices to a variety of markets including healthcare, entertainment/recreation, law enforcement, and death care. Precision was one of the first company’s in its field to take advantage of the need to track the ever-expanding United States prison population. “The customer had a problem and we solved it. How do you track prisoners and how do you track hospital patients? The market tells us what the product development needs to be and we solved it. We promoted our product through normal channels such as sales organizations and the various counties and county jails,” Precision Dynamics President and CEO Gary Hutchinson said. “To succeed you need a business plan, a market and a strategy. We listen to the customer. You have to listen to the market. You can have the best product in the world and if you don’t listen to the market, it won’t sell.”

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