At Guardian Technologies LLC, Managing Partners Dave Brickner and Rick Farone have worked to minimize the risk with rolling out new consumer products.
“It’s all calculated risk,” Brickner says. “We do as much as we can as far as consumer studies and work off of what we have experienced in the past. It’s really pretty much a toss of the coin. We’re hoping that it will work out, but there are no sure bets when you’re a consumer product development company.”
The company, which focuses on creating home sanitizing products, has had success the past few years, and it has done so by soliciting input from consumers and retail buyers.
“We’ll try to engage them at the prototype stage and the concept stage and get their input and perspective of likelihood of success,” Farone says. “It also helps to get buy-in from them too.”
With the retail buyers in particular, Guardian employees ask for their opinion on the look, feel, features, value equation and if it’s something that they would sell in their stores.
“They won’t tell you directly, but they’ll give you an indication of how it’s stacking up against other competitive products they’re seeing or hearing about,” Farone says.
This focus on product development has been a big reason why Guardian has grown the past few years.
“A lot of it is knowing your products, knowing your industry and knowing your consumer,” Farone says. “The closer you are to your consumer and the better your true understanding of the products and what purpose they’re trying to serve, it’s a higher likelihood that you’re going to bring out successful products. You’re going through the process and you use that information to make better-educated decisions.”
This process also depends on bringing in people with consumer product development experience and that will also fit with the organization.
“There are a lot of people out there that can do a certain job,” Brickner says. “We worry first and foremost if they’ll fit within the organization. We don’t fall in love with resumes. We fall in love with a personality. … We have a very entrepreneurial organization, and for a lot of people, they can’t operate within our environment.”
How to reach: Guardian Technologies LLC, (866) 603-5900 or www.germguardian.com
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