Where Are They Now?
While I dedicate most of my consulting practice to providing problem solving services for large corporations, BFS Innovations also provides new business development services, typically for small companies and entrepreneurs. This work involves prospecting and approaching large corporate customers with my client's distinctive service, technology or product. This can be challenging work, especially in instances where I am seeking to get large companies interested in adopting value offerings that may not be on their internal "wants/needs" list. In this week's newsletter, I update readers on the status of various value-offerings featured during the past year. While the individual propositions may or may not be relevant to your business, periodic updates offer a glimpse into my world and provides a sense of deal making cycle times.
"ViaStone": Featured here last Summer, this calcium-carbonate based technology offers substantial performance and sustainability advantages versus pulp-based paper in decorated packaging applications at comparable cost to the materials it replaces.
Status: We are running print trials with some of the world's best known brands with very strong and favorable customer response. ViaStone should enter the marketplace later this calendar year.
"MatchMyFoot": Featured here last Fall, MMF is a smartphone enabled application that guides customers in photographing their feet. In doing so, it automatically creates a virtual 3D model that very accurately predicts best shoe size fit (especially useful for online customers where shoe return rates range from 35-50%).
Status: We are engaging in trials with two of the world's largest footwear companies.
"Hot Paint": Featured here in early Winter, Hot Paint is a patented coating that can be applied to virtually any surface. It radiates heat exceptionally fast and efficiently when electricity is run through it.
Status: We initially focused on developing battery-powered heated insoles for boots and shoes (work still in progress). We have recently expanded efforts to include small, corded electrical devices (e.g. toasters, clothing irons, sandwich presses) and heated mats. Initial customer interest is very strong.
Overall, I am quite pleased at the progress we are making with each of the above, especially in view of the relatively short elapsed time since having initiated business development efforts. This has helped validate my decision a couple of years ago to be much more selective in taking on small business clients. While it is important in the field of new business development to always have "several irons in the fire" to maximize success prospects, it is also wise to place smart bets with one's time...i.e. to limit longshots and also to choose clients who demonstrate appropriate professionalism, discipline and commitment.