If starting with nothing and building something great doesn’t interest you then stop reading now.
I meet people all the time who have ideas for a product or new company and want my thoughts on if they should go for it or not. One of the first things I ask them is if they have heard the Under Armour story.
In 1996, Under Armour was founded by Kevin Plank, a fullback on the University of Maryland football team. Kevin was frustrated the T-shirts under his jersey were soaked with sweat at the end of practice each day. But he noticed his compression shorts always stayed dry the entire practice. This gave him the idea to make a T-shirt using moisture-wicking synthetic fabric.
He ran his shop from his grandmother’s basement and did $17,000 in sales in his first year. His second year in business he generated over $100,000 in revenue and had to find a factory for production. The big break came when Under Armour gear was featured in two Warner Brothers movies Any Given Sunday and The Replacements. Company sales skyrocketed and the founder finally put himself on company payroll.
Today, Under Armour is a $2 billion dollar a year company. The company continues to grow and has gained considerable market share on Nike in children’s, youth and hunters.
In today’s world, new ideas, products and companies are a dime a dozen.
Early on, the question that separates the good from the bad is, “does your product or company solve a problem?” Kevin started Under Armour because he saw an opportunity to solve a problem for himself and every other football player who had the same frustrations as him.
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Think about some of the recent companies that had meteoric rises to success. Evernote, Square, 5 Hour Energy to name a few, all solved a problem.
Just in the last few weeks we have seen the dad who started a Kickstarter for his Bunch O Balloons project get national news attention. It’s amazing there hasn’t been a more efficient way to fill balloons up with water.
When you get a new idea for a company or product you have to first ask yourself, “Does this solve a problem?” Does it address a need in the market? Will this actually be beneficial or just noise to the consumer?
As leaders, I think we have to make sure the content we publish, products we create and companies we lead are actually helping make life easier for the people who follow us.
Do you have an idea for a product or company? I would love to hear about it: Tweet Me
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