I was suspicious of the abundant reviews of this book either on the same day or a day apart so I automatically thought they were bogus. I still decided to get this book just because I am launching a new product for retail and it's completely out of my marketing forte.
I have to say that this book is quite good. It's easy to read, especially from the beginning when the author, Stephen Key, talks about how he got started designing, creating, and selling products through retail channels. It made for an interesting read.
I think he started irritating me when he would talk about a success story (coincidentially there were many women success stories in a row, which is fantastic) then mention a sentence about how they survived cancer. There were a couple of such stories and, although the success stories themselves were inspiring, why mention that they had cancer out of the blue when it didn't have anything to do with their successes or the story about their product? It didn't make any sense.
Then he goes onto talk about patents and how they are mostly useless, especially in the early time of your business. I do agree with this just because there will be so many design changes by the time you get a prototype that it's too costly and time-consuming to get a patent on a product that will ultimately be different, even slightly, by the time your first "model" or prototype is created. Plus copy cats will change your design very slightly and trump your patent with their rip-off model of your product anyway, especially if it becomes a hot seller.
But...for something that the author doesn't believe in, it's like the guy continually wanted to talk about patents seemingly forever in the book. I'm not sure if this was to fill space or what. For something that he articulated that is mostly a waste of time and money, especially in the beginning, why keep talking about it page after page after page? This is where I started losing interest which was about 2/3 into the book.
Shortly thereafter, he goes on and on about having a business plan. I've found business plans as mostly useless and I'll agree with MJ Demarco who wrote The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime. (a highly recommended book, by the way) who also can agree that business plans are a waste of time to put together unless you are seeking out venture capital.
I really did like what Stephen Key had to say about trade shows and learned a lot. In fact, I got more out of his short section on trade shows than many of the other books I have solely on the topic of trade shows. One small part I did disagree on about trade shows is that he stated you won't be able to get a list of the attendees of a trade show. This is incorrect and misleading. I just signed up for a trade show for wholesalers and I'm getting the complete listing of attendees to send mailings to before and after the event. So, I don't know if he's talking about trade shows for consumers or what he's talking about but to throw out a blanket statement and claim that no trade show offers the contact information for the attendees is false and irresponsible on his part. Even the other book I'm reading right now on topic of trade shows (which is highly recommended, by the way, if you're doing a trade show soon) called Trade Show in a Day: Get It Done Right, Get It Done Fast!, the author says that not only do you get mailing lists of the trade show attendees before most shows but also talks, at length, about how to do a multi-step mailing to these prospects before the show starts. So, I think it really sucked that Stephen Key not only doesn't talk about this marketing tool but misleads people into believing that you can't even get a listing of the prospects/attendees going to a trade show beforehand when really you can get these lists provided that you're registered as a booth exhibitor.
I did like how the author covered the process of retail distribution, especially through wholesalers, because it's very difficult to find a book ANYWHERE that covers how to distribute your product via retailers by contacting buyers, going to trade shows, etc. For that reason, I highly recommend this book just because you won't find this information elsewhere. I didn't like how he mixed consumer-direct sales at the end (i.e. doing radio commercials or using television commercials to sell your product...huh?) when the whole idea is to sell to small, medium, and large retailers or wholesale distributors and not selling consumer-direct (which sucks since I've done it for years) via direct marketing channels.
I do love how easy this book is to read. I really love Stephen's writing style because it's quite engaging, interesting, and makes it extremely easy to read through the entire book in a few hours. I also like how easy he makes the process seem and how he motivates you into knowing that all it takes is ONLY ONE simple product idea with kick-ass packaging to make millions (even billions) of dollars. I don't think there's another book out there that can simplify, motivate, and effectively explain exactly what types of simple products to sell and package and exactly how to do it.
In his updated version, I'd like to see him correct the stuff I mentioned above (especially about the trade shows) and maybe showcase some much bigger types of products that were truly a One Simple Idea such as 5-hour Energy Shot and others out there that ended up being much bigger, highly successful operations with literally one simple product that went wild in the marketplace.