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Small Biz Focus: Testing the Marketplace? Try Prototypes.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor March 7, 2018 at 11:45 am 0

This column is sponsored by BizLaunch, a division of Arlington Economic Development.

Let’s face it. We live in a fickle marketplace.

Shoppers have a short attention span and consumers are easily bored and quickly want the next cool thing.

Entrepreneurs are notorious for being spurred on by a single idea, that literal lightbulb moment, that drives their passion and turns their focus to producing one item or service. Some invest all their savings and resources into the promise of a profitable future, and if you’re lucky, smart, well timed and well promoted, that one product or service could be the only one you’ll ever need.

But even for hugely successful items (like the dizzying fidget spinner?) there can be a quick peak and never return to popularity.

Few have the opportunity or resources to get input, organize focus groups or engage deep demographic analytics that will help grow their business or keep their ideas competitive.

But for startups and small businesses in Arlington, more options for creating a stable path are all part of the County support for creatives.

For Lorilee Stultz at Dennison Lane, participating in Made in Arlington was the first step to a new product idea. Using a hand stamping process and natural fabrics, Dennison Lane was already well versed in table linens and home accessories that blended tradition with craft.

So when a fan of Made in Arlington said, “wouldn’t it be great to have the Made in Arlington logo stamped onto baby onesies?” Lori didn’t hesitate to say, “let’s try it!” Welcome to the prototype stage. Picking samples of soft baby onesies and using the Made in Arlington stamp in colors for girls, boys and ‘we don’t know yet!’ The items are now getting ready for sales.

Where can creative Arlington entrepreneurs look to test the market?

  • Limited edition items in small shops
  • Pop up retail like Made in Arlington at Plaza Shop
  • Local boutiques
  • Farmers markets
  • Seasonal opportunities such as Art on the Plaza

Alongside the vast array of business development services available through BizLaunch, the path to success is often taken in baby steps.

Check here for ongoing listings and opportunities.


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