The former head of Amazon Services, the group that recruits almost all new sellers to Amazon Marketplace, James Thomson, co-founded The Prosper Show, a conference to unveil insider secrets and build shared success knowledge. We both share intellectual space when it comes to helping e-commerce sellers avoid the time-wasters and launch profitable products that thrive. The 1400+ attendees look for real honesty and nitty-gritty advice and are tired of failing, tired of bad business and product advice, or both.

Seven out of ten consumer products fail. Fourteen out of fifteen home shopping products fail. Hayneedle is gone. Toys R' Us is going. Big brands fail too... but they have a much longer runway than you do, and can afford more failure than you. So to help level the playing field, I'm sharing the secret formula million dollar sellers use to launch products, and breaking it down into a the three essentials so you can begin integrating it right now.

Out Design + Out Source = Out Profit

The thing about experience is that it allows you to, over time, simplify processes that seem unmanageable in the beginning. Business is this way. When I first began in the product world, my fears and missteps were directly related to what I didn't know that I didn't know. When you don't know about things you don't even know about, everything starts to get foggy. This is when the 'hazards' get over-looked and failure begins.

I am twenty-five years in, and there's plenty I know now, that I didn't even know I didn't know when I started. Now, I can see a lot more of the broader picture and that is how this formula came about. Experience, mistakes, learning the things I didn't know, and of course, those pesky blind spots.

Out Design from me-too into me-only territory.

Good design is valuable, intentional, the right fit for the right market, competitive, and cost effective. Many product-first entrepreneurs skip this step because they want to invent or create what they want and not what is going to build value.

Good design isn't just color and logos. It's a necessity. Consumers have so many choices and surface differentiators don't buy longevity. I cannot tell you how often I see poor designs when I am at a big box store. Those are the products that will eventually contribute to the massive failure rate I mentioned above. Poor design equates to uselessness for consumers, and even poor quality, even if it is bought out temporary necessity.

Out Source and become a merchant not a buyer.

Personal relationships are the foundation for your sourcing journey. Without personal connections and interactions, you will miss out on potential savings, simplified processes, and more cost effective options or measures. My partner and I have never been the type to "make a phone call" when it comes to our manufacturing needs. We go in person, and we build up a network we can rely on for quality, quantity, efficiency, and trust.

By showing up, in person, you reduce risk. By understanding every step of every process along your sourcing journey, you eliminate potential vulnerabilities that most certainly fall into the category of "you won't know until you know" and by then, it will be too late. The idea of Out Sourcing is to do it better, whatever you are doing. At this stage, a lot of entrepreneurs think they've made it and are willing to rush or ignore crucial metrics and explode their product line unprofitably. This is the time to slow down, understand everything, look at every detail, and do it as good as you possibly can.

Out Profit by becoming valuable and launching product assets.

Competitive proof. Designed to last. Built for profit. Sold for higher valuation.  

Isn't this the goal of every inventor, entrepreneur, designer, and startup ever? This three-step formula is something I have seen prove itself, over and over again. The best products and ideas don't win. The best brands do. Real asset building value is original, long lasting, priced for profit, and has competitive proof. These are the baseline for building value that will have sustained longevity.

There is no fast track to the kind of success that is sustainable. There is no asset building magic trick. If you think it looked easy for someone, you weren't paying close enough attention. There will always be work to do, so use this strategy to make sure your work is the right work.