After I had my quarter-life crisis, I put so much pressure on myself to create a business that would leave a mark on the world. I threw dart after dart, willing to try anything to make a profit and a difference. I spent many late nights at my computer feeling stuck, overwhelmed, and—despite all my effort—making very little progress.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was thinking too big. To make a dent in the world, not every idea has to be elaborate, complex, and innovative.
Some of the most impactful businesses today are based on the simplest of concepts.
Take it from one co-founder whose back-to-basics business is solving a global health issue. His “magic” business idea? Soap.
Meet David Simnick, the co-founder and CEO of SoapBox, a personal care company on a mission to empower consumers to change the world through everyday purchases. For every bar of soap purchased, SoapBox donates one bar of soap to communities in need in over 60 different countries worldwide.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Simnick shares his step-by-step process behind developing SoapBox, from the days of brewing homemade batches in his college apartment, to ultimately donating over 2.5 units worldwide.
Below, read Simnick’s tips for launching your own product-based business.
1. Position Yourself As Unique. When coming up with the idea for your product, it’s important to consider how you will differentiate yourself from what’s already out there. What is unique or better about your product? Do you offer a more natural and sustainable way of producing an in-demand item? Do you offer higher quality at lower price points? Is there a hero story behind your company?
“Our unique selling proposition was about the mission,” says Simnick. “The mission is the reason why we started SoapBox. Great brands have authenticity and have a story and stand for something more than just, this is a great product. So why’s your product matter?”
2. Consider Giving Back. Giving back can help you gain. When choosing between two brands of equal quality and equal price, 90% of US shoppers are likely to purchase a cause-branded product. If you decide to align your company with a cause, Simnick says to make sure your donation model is significant and relevant. Give away a portion of profits that will make consumers feel good about supporting you. Communicate in simple terms how their dollars are translating to a brighter outlook. And finally, select a cause related to your product, like a buy-one-give-one of the same item. “Don’t plant trees if you’re selling potato chips,” Simnick jokes.
3. Don’t Skimp On Quality. While the positioning of your product is important, it can only carry you so far. The majority of your customers will buy your product for the integrity of the product. Ask yourself, first and foremost, does your product speak for itself? Do you offer unmatched quality that your consumers can come to know and expect from your brand? “We said, we need to be the best personal care company, we need to make the best conditioner that’s gonna restore and moisturize hair. We need to make an amazing, fantastic product,” Simnick says.
4. Refine Your Product Before You Launch. When you feel ready to take your product to market, check your list twice—because once you’ve launched, you’ve virtually only got one shot to make an impression on consumers. Plus, making amendments can require a long and arduous process, such as getting a new patent. “Take the time to really get it right before you launch because it’s hard to change your brand, it’s hard to change your design, and it’s hard to change the ingredients once you get started in the marketplace. If I could go back in time I wish that we were more thoughtful from the get-go about how we designed and branded our products,” says Simnick.
5. Get Feedback. A quick hack to help you nail your product is to elicit feedback from others. “Come up with a minimum viable product and test it out on your friends and family. After you’ve won their approval, the question is, can you get strangers to love your product so much that they come back to buy it again and again?” Simnick suggests.
6. Go After The Right Distributors. Where you sell your product matters. 85% of consumers say they prefer shopping in physical stores to shopping online. If you can land a deal with a major distributor, you can greatly increase your visibility and profits. Seek out distributors who attract a high percentage of customers within your target demographic.
7. Don’t Give Up. Simnick says if you’re having trouble securing a distributor, don’t give up—instead, be persistent. “It wasn’t until begging, pleading, calling, emailing, and literally showing up unannounced in their lobby so many times that Whole Foods was like ok, you are a crazy soap salesman, we’ll let you have one store,” he relates.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com