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Many roads lead to the industry. The journey often begins with a very specific product idea inspired by day-to-day contact with children. However, anyone wanting to take one single product idea as the basis to form a company should first put it to the acid test:
The toy industry is undergoing upheaval, like most other consumer goods industries: Digital contents are increasing in importance. This can become very challenging for established market participants. For new entrants, however, the change can also hold out the promise of a road not yet travelled.
A business idea then grows out of this product innovation. However, before the founder or the founding team registers their business, they should turn the focus not only to the product, but to the general conditions as well.
Thorough examination of the market, the target group, and demand is essential. But in the absence of industry knowledge, this is nowhere near as trivial as it might seem. Like the target group, sales channels are quite heterogenous and differ significantly depending upon the product. So important questions are:
Based on this, a thorough review of the existing market in the segment identified can be undertaken.
Many founders underestimate the timing and financial demands of their venture. It is thus important at a very early phase of formation to set oneself a “pain threshold”:
Not a few start-ups fail at the level of self-analysis, since the input needed exceeds available time or capital.
The be-all and end-all for a successful brand is a dedicated network of industry experts, sales partners, suppliers and customers. In retail, especially, one must know the right people and understand what makes them tick. Only then can business be transacted successfully together. So, founders must ask themselves:
Patience is needed – along with vigorous and active participation and presence at network meetings. If competent experts are there to help, they might be able to open doors or give valuable advice on what to avoid.
Something else that all too often comes to light too late are the safety requirements to which the founder’s invention are subject:
As soon as a founder goes public with a product idea, there is the possibility of its being copied. An entrepreneur must therefore consider from the start how to protect an idea. Key questions for self-analysis here are:
Since these kinds of questions are very complex and often very difficult to answer for newcomers, it is wise to avail oneself of expert knowledge.
Confronting these many aspects can feel intimidating to founders as this constrains creativity and calls for much more drive than initially assumed. But in the face of all the questions, one thing is sure: the more and the more mercilessly a founder thinks things through before registering a business, the greater the likelihood that the business idea will be successful. And Spielwarenmesse is the perfect hub for using the market, retail, trends, and the network in one location, on a joint basis.
This article represents just an excerpt of all the questions that founders should ask about a business idea in the toy industry. It represents the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect that of Spielwarenmesse eG.