One Simple Idea – Stephen Key [Book Summary]

by Nick

Stephen Key argues that to create a business you only need a dream and a commercial idea.

He talks about how long-term partnerships with manufacturers and suppliers can help your business run smoothly, and how customer feedback can successfully sell your product on the market.

Stephen Key is an expert in the development of business ideas from creation to obtaining a license, the creator of 20 simple ideas that bring billions of dollars. In One Simple Idea, Kay described the lessons he learned from the creation, management, and development of his own small (later successful) Hot Picks company.

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Learn How to Start a Business With One Simple Idea.

Has it happened to you that when considering a product, you realized that you can do better? Or, looking through the shelves in the store, you suddenly got the idea that you could create a product that fills the gap in the assortment, and you thought:

“Why hasn’t anyone done this yet?”

No matter what your idea is, it’s time to bring it to life.

“One simple idea” will teach you how to turn your passion into a business and bring your product to the market on your own. The book is a roadmap designed to guide you in the wilds of the business, a guide on the development of one idea and its implementation, provides tools and useful tips for building a successful business.

From this book you will learn:

  • What is needed to start your own business?
  • How to bring your product to market?
  • How to manage your business and grow it?

Do Not Miss the Opportunity to Translate Your Idea Into Product Creation and Find an Experienced Mentor

You might think that, given the recent economic downturn in the United States, now is a bad time to create a product and bring it to market.

But this is not so. Even during the financial crisis, US consumer spending accounts for 60-70% of the national economy.

In fact, there will always be things that the consumer will like. Your main task as an entrepreneur is to identify such products and use the right channels to promote them.

Products that are sold even during a deep crisis are those products that will improve the quality of life of the consumer and, at the same time, will not be burdensome for their budget: the consumer is always driven by desire in the first place, and only then by need.

And when it comes to selling your products, choosing online sales as a priority will help you reach more people through social networks, work from home and not spend money on renting a place in the store.

In addition, social media can help you establish feedback with your customers in order to understand and eliminate the shortcomings of your product, in accordance with the needs and desires of the consumer, as well as respond quickly to market changes.

But even taking into account the benefits of online sales and social networks, you need help developing your business: find yourself a mentor who can give you advice based on your own experience. An ideal mentor for you will be someone who has already successfully launched a similar product.

How to find it?

Start Your Search in Your Hometown, or on the Internet – Look for a Successful Entrepreneur in Your Area.

Once you have found the right person, get the opportunity to meet with him, showing interest in what he has achieved. Even a little flattery will not hurt: most people like to talk about themselves, and he will be very pleased to satisfy your curiosity, as well as help you succeed. Thus, he will feel his worth and is unlikely to refuse you.

There are many opportunities and people who can help you start your own business. Do not miss this chance and start with one simple idea.

You must be truly passionate about your idea and ready to take full responsibility for your business.

Starting a business for the first time can be scary, but it’s interesting if you are the type of person who can become a successful entrepreneur.

But no one is born an entrepreneur. Like other, seemingly innate talents, the entrepreneurial ability is determined, first of all, by passion in relation to your idea and unshakable persistence in its development.

Fortunately, passion is nutrition for perseverance: if you have a passion for your idea and working with your customers is important to you, this will be the best motivation to create and develop a product, as well as to find those who can help you with this. .

In addition, a hobby will help you overcome the fears, ups and downs that inevitably occur on the way to building a successful business. Believing in your own idea will encourage you to be an innovator and an opportunist when your business needs it, and motivate you to make mistakes that are inevitable for beginning businessmen.

It is very important that the passion for your idea will stimulate you to solve more and more complex problems, which will inevitably lead to the development of a thriving business from the embryo, which was your idea at first.

Obviously, passion is essential for starting a successful business. But her alone is not enough. In addition, you need to be ready to take full responsibility for your business: this means that when starting a new business, you must be responsible for every decision and mistake and be ready to deal with the consequences. As the leader of your own enterprise, it is you who must do this work in order to choose the right course of action for your employees. After all, you are the boss.

Finally, to take full responsibility means working tirelessly at times up to 24 hours a day, since you will have to solve many problems and face unforeseen situations that arise along the way of business development.

Your Idea Should Be Simple, Saleable and Profitable.

One of the main reasons for the failure of many startups is that their idea is too ambitious and complicated. So, if you want your business to be successful, you have to start small and be simpler. The easiest way out is to modify an existing successful product.

This provides several advantages:

  • Firstly, such a product has already established itself in the market and does not require you to prove its viability.
  • Secondly, you can focus on various market niches by adding unique features. For example, CelebriDucks added celebrity images to a rubber duck, turning a children’s toy into a collectible for adults.
  • Finally, making your product look like an existing one, you will have more opportunities to find a manufacturer who will manufacture it at a reasonable price.

But in order to create a marketable product, first of all, you need to study the market:

  • Firstly, you should get a general idea of ​​the market in which you want to launch the product, analyze its main trends and identify future competitors, and also learn about the needs and the desires of potential customers.
  • Secondly, find your own unique way of sales by solving a common problem or dissatisfaction with demand in a new way.
  • After that, test your ideas in the market.

This will give you the opportunity to modify your product based on customer feedback.

Once you already know the market, you should find out as soon as possible whether your idea will be a “profitable business.” To do this, it is necessary that your product is sold at a certain price and in a sufficiently large volume, and the costs of its production are covered with a sufficient profit.

One way to compile your price list for customers is to multiply your costs by 5. For example, if the manufacture and packaging of your product costs $ 2 per unit, then your retail price should be about $ 10.

All that remains to be done is to find out whether this price is competitive and whether consumers are willing to pay it for your product.

Make a Short Business Plan Based on the Most Important Thing, and Start Small

So, You Have Created Your Product, Idea and Know Your Market.

Now what?

  • First, it’s time to draw up a business plan. This is the most important step when starting your own business – it will allow you to focus on the main thing: what you do, how you do it and why you do it. It will also help you predict your financial performance – income and expenses – and thus ensure that your business is profitable. In addition, if you are counting on external financing, you will need a business plan to present it to potential investors and get feedback on your business concept.
  • Secondly, the realization of a business idea needs to start small. You do not need to spend a lot of time or money in order to create a professional business product.

You can even start working from home, like many entrepreneurs (but do not use your “home office” for anything else, make sure that you create a subscription mailbox for business).

And the only equipment you need to get started is a telephone, a computer with Internet access and, of course, a website.

For tax and legal purposes, you must choose the most suitable conditions for your business. For example, becoming a limited liability company or corporation is more acceptable to protect your personal assets, while setting up an individual business is easier and faster.

Starting your own business, it is not necessary to have huge start-up capital. With a carefully designed business plan, your business is ready to run at minimal cost.

Protect Your Business Idea With Smart Competition and Partnerships

If you care about your business idea, then, of course, you are afraid that it might be stolen.

Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your idea from competitors.

While patenting is probably the best-known method, it is not always the best. Patenting assumes that your idea will be hidden from those who could help implement it and bring it to the market. In addition, the patenting process is expensive and time-consuming – the most valuable resource for you. So what are the alternatives?

Firstly, since it is difficult to compete with large corporations, you can outsmart the system by developing something unique, based on the existing one. So, you will have the right to protect your intellectual property.

Secondly, use your insignificance in the market as an advantage. Being a small company, you are more flexible than business tycoons, so you can introduce a great idea to the market much faster than your competitors. Remember: the first on the market, as a rule, has a huge advantage, so the speed is one of your best allies.

Finally, take a break to take care of your creative powers: even if success in the market is your primary goal, you need the resources to stay ahead.

Another way to protect your idea, build partnerships with all competitors. Forming such relationships with some of the major market players can turn them from competitors to allies, especially if you offer them a business opportunity.

For example, Hot Picks liquidated one of their leading competitors, Dunlop, by concluding a contract with it for the production of Hot Picks mediators.

Building strong relationships with retailers is also important. It is they who are able to give an impetus to your business if you offer them a good product and an attractive price.

Efficiency and good partnerships will be the best protection for your idea and a guarantee of peace for you before you launch it on the market.

Starting Your Own Business, Strive to Spend as Little of Your Own Funds as Possible and Attract as Much “free” Money as Possible

Even if you start small and simple, you will need some money at some point. Of course, there are many financing options available to you. The easiest way is to use your own money and try to avoid any external obligations as much as possible.

This is because people tend to work harder to save their own money; they don’t spend it in vain like borrowed money and, as a rule, have more control over them. After all, would you spend your own money on a business class flight without hesitation?

Another reason to use your own money is the lack of additional restrictions and external pressure when choosing the path of your business development. Of course, this advice has its drawbacks: no one will recommend liquidating all their assets and spending all their savings to start their business from scratch.

So how to find an alternative source of financing that will not have undue pressure on your business?

“Free” money

“Free” money, such as crowdfunding or grants, provide an opportunity to reduce the amount of the initial debt. You use these tools to launch a product to start generating your own funds.

You can promote your ideas through online crowdfunding, creating capital for a startup by investing small amounts by different people – users of crowdfunding platforms that cover the largest number of potential investors. Non-issuing crowdfunding is especially attractive because it means that in fact, you receive money for free.

Grants have the advantage of requiring you only to demonstrate that you need the money and to explain how they will be used for your business. To receive a grant, you must provide information on all the costs of starting your business and its further development.

That is why you need to use all possible ways to get money without forming a “coma” debt to run your business.

Find the Right Contractor and Set Up the Supply Chain

If you cannot make your own product at a reasonable price, you cannot make a profit. Therefore, it is important to find the right manufacturer. Most manufacturers who specialize in your area of ​​interest have enough experience to create your product.

To find a suitable manufacturer, you need to carefully research the market: find companies engaged in the production of a similar product, find out who manufactures products for competitors, consider all options and choose the best option, based on rating and company reviews. Explore the most promising options especially carefully, coming in direct contact and, if possible, visiting production facilities.

Since you will need to make changes to your product, especially at the beginning, it is best to choose a manufacturer based in your country. It is always much easier to negotiate with a company in your country than with a company abroad, if only because it does not require the involvement of the same translator. To help you narrow down your choice of manufacturers, gather information on prices, features and services of companies, and then choose what is most appropriate for you.

So, you have decided on the manufacturer.

What’s next?

You need to customize your supply chain. In order to work with your suppliers and partners to reduce costs and increase efficiency, it is imperative to build close relationships with them so that they keep you up to date with any problems related to your product and understand each link in the supply chain.

Once You Finally Started Selling, Keep Your Sales Under Control.

At the very beginning, you must have a certain amount of products available to meet the needs of retailers for a while, and a clear supply chain must be built to confidently answer the question: “How much time will pass from the moment of placing the order to its receipt?”

Partnerships and established deliveries are priority tasks in bringing a business to the market.

“Pull the market” and build relationships with your customers

Today, when the market is consumer-oriented, traditional “marketing promotion” is not the most successful tool for a startup. Instead, startups should understand the needs of their customers and make their products as close as possible to them. In other words, they should “pull the market.”

Today, the essence of marketing is not selling a product, but providing value to your customers. Small companies must convince their customers that they are able to give these customers what they want and need.

But attracting people’s attention takes a lot of time, and startups do not have enough money to spend them on expensive advertising. Therefore, instead of expensive print ads, it’s better to use cheap or free marketing channels such as websites, social media pages, and even YouTube.

The maximum use of these channels is an excellent tactic to stimulate interest in the product using the word of mouth method. In addition, it is important to find influential people among potential customers and make them an advantageous offer in order to earn their trust. And they, in turn, will talk about your product on the positive side, which will win the trust of your potential customers for you.

But targeting and building a customer base is not enough. You must also create a strong brand aimed at meeting the needs and desires of your customers.

Your brand should indicate the uniqueness of your product. For example, your brand – the name of the company, logo and slogan – should represent your product and contain an appeal to your target audience. For example, people believe that environmentally friendly products usually have a blue or green color, rather than black or gold.

Also, you can draw attention to the product with a bright and concise slogan.

As you can see, you do not have to spend a lot of money on marketing, you need a simple idea, feedback from customers and care about their budget.

To succeed in retail, you need to choose the right stores and get satisfied customers through the perfect service.

To sell your product successfully, you must put it in stores. But in which?

Fortunately, you have a great choice: in the USA alone, there are 1.5 million retail stores that collectively earn more than $ 2.5 trillion a year.

The Most Correct Way is to Start Small: Receive Orders From Several Small Stores Nearby.

It is very important to start small on the path of business development because large stores want to buy only those products that only they will sell. Moreover, they want a large enough supply from the very beginning.

Placing your products in smaller stores also means that you can establish close contact with management and track how your product is sold. It also saves you time and allows you to devote it to product optimization based on customer reviews. And if you succeed in getting repeat sales, these stores are interested in further cooperation.

So, your product has appeared on shelves and sells well. Now your task is to retain customers and make them come to you again.


The easiest way to do this is to get a perfect service.

As a startup, you can afford personalized relationships with clients, which will create an advantage for you over large competitors. Such relationships will ensure the satisfaction of your customers and allow you to further understand their needs for further product optimization. Also, this type of service will set your customers to the choice of those stores that sell your goods, and, thanks to them, will expand the circle of consumers of your product. This will inevitably increase the volume of orders from retailers.

Excellent customer service means being fully accessible to them and fulfilling their promises. If you provide an excellent product and service for your customers, this will inevitably lead to the fact that stores will be interested in having your product on the shelves and increase the volume of orders.

Keep Track of Business: Monitor Your Finances and Production Carefully

If your business idea is successful, your business will inevitably grow. As a leader, you will need to manage a large business ship and clearly control finances and production. Business finance management is a critical factor in management. This is a guarantee that you can pay your bills, so keep an eye on them and regularly review reports. You should also agree on terms of payment with suppliers and encourage customers to pay on time so that you can also pay suppliers in a timely manner.

Finally, although it is normal for a startup to have only a small profit, or even a loss, for the first couple of years, after this time, you should evaluate your development strategy and make adjustments.

Another important point is to track production because the number of sales directly depends on the quantity of the product, and profit on sales.

The main factor here is that you produce enough product to meet demand. At the same time, one should be wary of overproduction: why pay for the production and storage of a product that you cannot sell.

For example, if you manage to collaborate with a retailer like Walmart, you must optimize your production to meet demand on such a scale. And you need to do this quickly.

Another way to make sure that your company always has enough cash, reduce the deadlines for the execution of accounts payable (suppliers) and receivables (customers).

With constant monitoring of your finances, you can easily control your stocks and adjust the flow of production.

Confidence that you keep control over finances and constant availability of cash at the company is that minimum for your business to survive.

Make sure your business is in demand in the new market before you introduce it there. Get ready to sell your business when you need it

Any successfully developing startup comes to the point that it is necessary to expand the boundaries of your brand. But this entails an increase in the volume of work, establishing new relations, tightening quality control and hiring new employees.

Therefore, you must be careful, and first make sure that the new market segment is suitable for your business, and only then take measures to expand the brand.

The area you want to infiltrate should complement your core business. For example, if you want to launch a new product, you must make sure that it meets the needs of customers. Otherwise, you will have to look for a new market, and in the end, you will create a new business.

Consider Hot Picks, for example. The use of images of various celebrities, such as Disney or Taylor Swift, was chosen because it was connected with the main activity of the company. However, the innovation significantly increased the target audience, adding people with a different lifestyle to the number of potential customers than the very first customers of the company.

But what if at some point you need to sell your business? To prepare for this step, you need to structure your business so that you can simply delegate authority from you to someone else when you are ready.

This means that your brand must work and sell without you. So, when developing a strategy and creating a brand, imagine that you are writing a play that someone else can continue in your absence. However, remember: increasing sales will ultimately make your business more attractive to potential buyers.

The Final Words

You do not need millions of dollars in seed money and solid experience to build a successful business.

Most importantly is having a passion for your idea.

Start small to build a thriving business.

Use your advantage: small companies are more flexible and respond faster to changes in market conditions and customer needs.

Use social media for customer feedback: when you open your own business, social networks help to maximize the demand, desires and needs of potential customers for further optimization.

Social networks are also an excellent alternative to expensive advertising in the face of a shortage of start-up capital.


Why You Should Read “One Simple Idea”?

  • To create a product and to bring it to the market;
  • To start a small business;
  • To become an entrepreneur.

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print