Do Your Market Research - Miller IP

Do Your Market Research

Do Your Market Research

Abdul Kalumbi
Devin Miller
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Do Your Market Research

You need to do your market research. You need to make sure that the market is healthy and that there is space in the market for your idea. And going back to the idea of validating, there is a great book. I do not remember who it is written by but, it is called "Nail It And Scale It". I think it was a book produced here in Utah. The book "Nail It And Scale It" talks about how doing short, easy market tests That allow you to validate or invalidate the demand for your idea/product in the market.


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Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

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you need to do your market research uh you need to make sure that the market is healthy that there's space in the in the market for your idea and going back to the idea of validating there's a great book i don't remember who it's written by by a couple guys i think it's called nail it and scale it i think it's a book that was produced here in utah but the book nail it in scale talks about doing short easy uh market tests to allow you to validate or invalidate the the demand for your idea or product um in the market [Music] 

everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller the serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups into seven and eight-figure businesses as well as a ceo and founder of miller ip law where we help startups and uh and uh small businesses with their patents trademarks everything else related to their business and if you ever need help with your business just go to and grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great uh guest on the podcast abdul and kalumbi 

perfect yeah 

all right hey i very seldom get names right that aren't very straightforward so i'll take that as a win right off the bat but to uh introduce um abdul just a bit so originally started out in dc uh washington dc and then he actually moved to utah and grew up grew up in a place called american fork and started his entrepreneur journey as early as high school started a hat and t-shirt business and did that for a period of time and made a bit of spending money in high school as he's going through that and then in adulthood he started a few different businesses tried some things out also then went to school at uh uh i think it's uvu is that right uv yeah uvu and studied entrepreneurship and for those of you university or i guess it's a utah valley university i had to think about it for a second which is a school here in utah and then went back to dc interned for oren hatch for a period of time got a job worked in dc for a few years with oren hatch and then senator scott and then it was in dc was getting a promotion and then the last promotion he was kind of getting turned it down because he wasn't necessarily happy or wasn't the direction he wanted came back to utah and starting and building a business which is a consulting business which is where he's at now and uh growing that and and putting his time and efforts there so with that much is an introduction welcome on the podcast abdul 

thank you so much thank you for having me appreciate it devon absolutely so i gave kind of that quick kind of run through a bit of your business and a kind of your journey a bit but take this bad a big back a bit if i don't get tongue-tied too much but take us back a bit to kind of being in high school and starting out with your initial entrepreneur journey of the t-shirt and hat business well i've always wanted to be an entrepreneur since maybe eight nine ten years old i always wanted to create value for other people so i would just create or invent different things and try to sell it to my friends and family members one time when i was a little kid i created something called the yo-yo ball where i would take a golf ball because there was a golf course near a house so sometimes the golf balls would you know come over the fence and i would grab the golf ball and i took some rubber bands and tied the rubber bands together then tied it to the golf ball and taped the rubber bands to the golf ball and made like a little elastic yo-yo ball you know and i i would try to sell those to my friends and so forth moving into high school i was always interested in fashion so i was interested in looking good so i created a clothing brand called dizzy c uh in which um it uh it was it was fun i learned some graphic design i uh created my own designs and uh that was that was fun i made a little bit of money there and um that's sort of that's sort of my the high school phase of entrepreneurship um i also had a high school i actually had a graphic design company too where i would do logos and things for other people so that was fun 

no that and i think that's awesome so you so now you do you did that in high school starting even earlier you did the entrepreneur thing kind of did the yoyo balls got into high school made a little bit more of a business you know sold the hats and the apparel for a bit of time and then you graduating from high school kind of you know after you as you're graduating where did that take you next or where did you go from there after high school 

i went on uh an lds mission which is commonplace here in utah so i went to new york city for two years and served for my church and that was a great experience and the lds mission was hard but one of the things it taught me was to [Music] work hard and we did a lot of street contacting in new york city and i was able to learn how to uh just be fearless as far as like uh talking to people and trying to uh basically sell them on uh the message that we were sharing at the time which is the christian message you know so um those are some good skills i learned um also learned to deal with rejection well being in new york city it's hard to hard to sell religion so um learn rejection and i think that's a great part of entrepreneurship is dealing with rejection that discouragement and picking yourself back up uh that reminds me uh i was telling a friend the other day that like there was this girl in college that i really liked and she had no interest in me but i asked her out multiple times and she kept on saying no but i had so much confidence in myself and who i was and who i you know who i could be as far as possibly her boyfriend but i asked her out multiple times and she kept on saying no but i was telling my friend entrepreneurship is like asking this girl out nine times and she said she she said no all those nine times but you still ask her out the tenth time because you have that much confidence so i sort of equate entrepreneurship to that so those are sort of sort of my post high school experiences and sort of things i learned 

so now so you and so now you kind of you first of all learn from high school start out entrepreneur you go on an lds mission further get some experience with you know selling people so to speak on things that they may not at least initially or know that they need and then you come back from your mission is that when you went to uvu or did you get back in the business before going to ubu 

uh i went to uvu i went to uvu and i had it i i took a little break from entrepreneurship for a couple years or so went to uvu and i at uvu i did studied entrepreneurship so and they have a great program there so now so you study entrepreneurship you come out you know you have the a bit of the education you're saying okay what am i you know i've i've been on a mission i've tried this out in high school i always want to be an entrepreneur now how did you get into deciding you know to go into dc and intern for norton hatch and kind of take that route as opposed to something else for entrepreneur or kind of what led you to that well uh um in college i was a president of a couple clubs so i had i rubbed shoulders with a lot of the higher higher executives at uvu so i was fortunate to be able to have an opportunity to enter in dc foreign hatch because someone told me i should apply for the uh internship and that i would be a good candidate for it so that's right that's what i did um so i got the internship um i went to dc for three months just during my last semester of college [Music] and uh it was a great experience um i loved my experience in politics so much that uh at the end of my internship i walked into my chief of staff's office and i asked him for a job and he gave me a job so i didn't go home after my internship i just stayed in dc and i worked another couple years or so and i then went to after senator orrin hatch retired i i went to work for senator tim scott from south carolina so that was a great experience too 

hmm no and i think that sounds awesome so so you did that you know did the or internships and then what turned into a job for a period of time so you're going through and you worked originally for you know uh oran hatch and then he went and worked for scott you know that you know is it's a kind of a com an aside but is that exciting is it you know is you know was it like on tv or you got all the fast pace and the politics is it as much as it is or is it a bit more boring or kind of what is it to work as an intern and then on the hill at dc with the various senators 

yeah i mean man it is it is nuts it is nuts um it was it was a thrill it was exciting it was stressful it was emotional it was all the above and not to get the political but the last four years have been you know challenging for the city of dc um and i think that really affected just the environment and atmosphere of uh of capitol hill where i worked but it was it was great i learned so much and on the hill you you typically have to be a type a personality to to work there you have to be super driven and super smart and i didn't think i was those things but other people thought i was those things so i was fortunate and blessed to be able to work there 

no and i think that's awesome so now and you had that opportunity i think you know gained a lot of experience and a lot of kind of know-how so to speak and you know get and get that so now what was the and i think we chatted a little bit before uh before the podcast you know you you kind of were up for a promotion you were look you know you're continuing to move up the chain so to speak and you had a decision that hey i don't want to do this anymore so kind of maybe share a little bit about how you decided that you were you know you were done with that phase of life and what drove you to come back to utah 

yeah man that was a real hard decision i mean i i kept on getting promoted in congress and the last promotion i got or it was offered at least i i had to decline it because i just knew it wasn't going to make me happy i thought going to dc and staying in dc that that would be my career trajectory that is politics i was sure that i was going to be in politics and do that as a career but i i was just reminded that when i was in dc uh that i always wanted to be an entrepreneur and that's that's what i want to do i want to own my own business um so i made the really hard decision to to quit uh politics and quit congress and move back to utah and i moved back with no job with no money i was just like i'm going to take a sabbatical and which was much needed um and i'm going to come back to utah i'm going to start a business or so and you know to be honest like working in congress it's it's not an easy job to get i mean people are very envious of those positions and you really have to know somebody to to get in many times a lot of times people people do multiple uh internships free internships to just get their foot in the door in congress so i was really fortunate to work work there um but i had to make the hard decision and just follow my heart 

no i think you know that's always a hard thing it's but you know if you've done doing something for a while you start to you're being successful at it people are wanting to promote you and you're you know kind of working that direction to finally make the decision okay i'm just not happy or this isn't the path i want to be and i'm going to walk away from it is you know sounds easy on the you know to the outside all you just go follow what you love but on the other hand you put a lot of time and effort and doing or gaining experience and doing those things and so now that you decide okay not happy i want to you know i'm going to leave this i'm going to come back to utah and build a business you know and took that sabbatical coming off of that sabbatical how did you then kind of figure out what you were going to do or how you're going to do it or where you're going to put your time and effort 

i didn't have very much direction to be honest evan like i didn't know what business i was going to build i had no idea what i was going to do i just knew i wanted to be an entrepreneur so i just i meditated for many months i've been back in utah for 10 months or a little nine or nine ten months now i meditated for many months trying to figure out what business i should do um and it was really discouraging because i was like a lot of times i was like i shouldn't have moved back to utah i should just stay in dc because there was security in dc you know for me and i was i was comfortable um but moving back to utah was such a risk uh that i i felt that risk as i moved back here because i didn't know what i was going to do and um and i think it's challenging too devin that you know there is a lot of security in having a job and you increase that insecurity when you're an entrepreneur because you have to get leads you have to you have to sell you have to i mean entrepreneurship doesn't end at 5 pm you know like a job does 

so even now um sometimes i envy having uh uh having a job because it's it's it's really hard work entrepreneurship does 

yeah as the old joke goes you know the best thing about being an entrepreneur is you get to choose what 80 hours of the week you work and i think there's a lot of a lot of true tune in the sense that you know there is you know a little bit of i don't know even necessarily security but comfort in hey once i get my job done for the day i can go home i don't have to worry about things i don't have to always have things weighing on my mind otherwise you know go down that route and so you know it's one where it's it's there's a lot of perks and a lot of you know fun things about being an entrepreneur but there is also that trade-off so now as you've done that and you've kind of gone through the um you know figured out what you wanted to do kind of started down your business and i think it was you know business consulting and uh and building that and especially on kind of how to evaluate emotional well-being in that for you know people are doing startups and small businesses and helping them out how has it gone has it been great and taken off has it been bumpy on a hit of covid skids or kind of how has that gone and kind of where do you see things going from here yeah it's it's been challenging it's been challenging just because uh with consulting uh companies need to have a budget you know uh for consulting because consulting isn't cheap you know so um so it's been challenging with covet because uh there's been a lot of layoffs and businesses have closed so a lot of businesses are their budgets are thin so i've been i've been working working and been doing a lot of free work to get my my foot in the door i've been doing coaching sessions with individual employees and and also groups of employees helping them to manage their stress and uh better live more mindfully and work more mindfully so it's been it's been it's been challenging but i think i just hired a personal assistant so she's going to be able to help me get some leads and what i'm doing right now i have a full-time job but i'm building my business on the side uh so i i just pay uh a personal assistant maybe around ten dollars an hour to make you know easy easy cold calls and things like that and that's a real good way as an entrepreneur to not stretch yourself out too thin i was trying to do it all by myself for the first few weeks my business that is and i just got burnt out so just this week i hired a personal assistant to help me out so that should work out well for me 

um no i think that's you know i think that bringing on the people that can you know provide that help and that assistance in order to continue to grow so you can spend the year your ability and and what you do best and focus your time and efforts on that as always sounds like a great way to continue to grow things and to expand so that kind of brings us up today and a little bit looking into the future so with that we'll kind of transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of the podcast so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it 

the worst business decision i ever made um probably my clothing company probably was uh one of the worst business decisions i made just because i did not validate in the market that there was a demand for my particular clothing brand i just sort of created this idea this brand in my mind that i liked but i had no validation from the market that they would like it so selling those t-shirts were were much harder uh than than it should have been um so that probably was the biggest worst decision that i've made 

all right now definitely definitely a decision that you can learn from and to grow from is is as you continue on in your entrepreneurial journey so now we jump to the second question which is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them 

um i would i would say you need to do your market research uh you need to make sure that the market is healthy that there's space in the in the market for your idea and going back to the idea of validating there's a great book i don't remember who it's written by by a couple guys i think it's called nail it and scale it i think it's a book that was produced here in utah but the book nail it in scale talks about doing short easy uh market tests to allow you to validate or invalidate the the demand for your idea or product in the market i would also say when you're testing the market you always want to create a uh a minimum viable product ideally you don't want to have to create a physical product as of yet because you're just testing the market if you can do like a um a digital design of your product or some other kind of version of your product to show other people to see um what they think and i would also say as you're you know showing people your minimum viable product is called mvp um you always want to make sure that you're not seeking validation or confirmation from your family and friends because your family and friends are not typically your customers if they give you money for your your product uh they're probably doing it just because they want to support you not because they actually want the product so sometimes entrepreneurs get confused that uh they're they're getting a few dollars from their family and friends which is good money is money but you want to go out to the greater market and validate your idea and when someone that's not your family or friend opens their wallet and gives you money for your product or service that is an indication that your your product is uh is is the space in the market for your product 

no and i think that that figuring out a product you know whatever level of product it is you can then go out have that minimally viable product as you mentioned um get it out in the marketplace kind of get that feedback see how to adjust it and otherwise start to not and as you mentioned not even just go to family because family is always going to be nice they're always going to be supportive of you you want you to succeed and they've not won't necessarily give that honest feedback but go ask a stranger no just ask a stranger what do you think but ask them hey will you pay for this or would you buy this and you know why don't you buy it right now and if they say well i think it's a great idea but i don't think it's right for me or i don't want to buy it then i think it gives you that feedback that you may want to see that you know hey people are while they're nice they're not going to buy it then or you know they're not paying for it then you know you go back to the drawing board a bit so i think that those are that's certainly valuable um feedback as well or valuable advice so well as we now wrap up as if people want to find out more about your consultancy and what you're doing they want to be a customer they want to be in client they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you and find out more 

yeah let me tell you a little bit about my business first my business is called zelia leadership that's m-z-e-l-e-a um so i'm zelia leadership uh i am an executive coach and a mindfulness coach so mindfulness is uh is is a practice that comes from buddhism that basically teaches you how to live in the present moment it helps you with your decision making helps you stay calm it helps you stay focused and concentrated and i teach leaders how to be more mindful in the workplace so they have better uh responses to to stimuli uh at their job and they're less reactive to these to the stimuli um so basically i'm a mental health coach for for employees and other leaders so i do that executive coaching and also do like group sessions with employees and teach them about mindfulness so but you can reach me at abdul at azalea and again that's mzel ea 

awesome well i definitely encourage everybody to reach out find out more so certainly support and if you're you know use or i think there's a lot of room especially with covid working from home stresses everything being uncertain to be a bit more mindful have that uh that coaching and that uh air assistance so that you can be able to continue on your journey be successful and perform to the best of your ability well as we wrap up first of all thank you abdul for again for coming on the podcast it's been a pleasure now for all of you listeners if you have your own journey to tell we'd love to have you on the podcast for you to share it just go to to apply to be on the show and uh if your listener also won make sure to click subscribe and your podcast listener so you get notifications as all of our awesome episodes come out and to leave us a review so new people can find about out about us as well last but not least if you ever need help with your patents trademarks or anything else with your business reach out to us at miller iplaw just go to and we're always happy to help well thank you again abdul it's been fun to have you on it's been a pleasure and uh wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last 

all right thank you

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