Find The Right People
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Find The Right People
The Inventive Journey
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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is commit like commit to what your goals are commit to what your visions are and then find the right partners find your right co-founder find your right resources because it's very hard to build something alone compared to with a team i think the chances of success and the timeline gets much shorter when you have a co-founder and a team that complements the skills that you have so that's the number one advice i would give to somebody [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur has grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help now today we have another uh great guest on the podcast ravi patel and give full transparency ravi is an awesome client of the firm and so we've uh i already know or have a relationship with him he had some really cool technology come some cool things he's working on so hey you would be a great guest on the podcast i invited him to be on and absolutely excited to have him here so this is a quick introduction to ravi so he went to high school and college in india did a master's at nyu and got an engineering degree also met his co-founder at nyu and both of them had engineering and business backgrounds um i think they're either when you and you'll have to come here wrong either roommates when they met or roommates after they bet uh but then they decided that you know they were always kind of bouncing ideas off of each other what would be a fun idea what would work in the marketplace and they kind of landed on murphy beds for apartments and so they looked at that and there wasn't really any good options out there and they were all extremely expensive and they didn't work very well and so as they graduated and they or ravi went off and worked for a consulting company and they also decided to design and work on doing murphy beds on their own so went through the several features of what they wanted what would be cool what would be different about the design process design process took a while went through a few different manufacturers to figure out one that could manufacture the complexities of what they wanted and that's kind of led to where he's at today so with that much is an uh brief introduction welcome on the podcast ravi thank you thank you david it's a pleasure to be here so i came kind of the quick run through of your of a journey that took him much longer in time than the 30 seconds that i went through it so maybe take us back a little bit in time to doing high school and college in india and how your journey got started there yeah yeah absolutely so i as you said grew up back in india did my high school and college in india where space was not necessarily the problem for for my growth where i grew up but uh you know we always had enough parking in a space but then after the college moved to new york city started attending new york university for my masters and as you said that's where my co-founder today and a very good friend met and it was an instant spark between our personalities and you know we started hanging out a lot together during college we weren't roommates but we always visited each other you know stayed over at each other's place and always always talking about something that we can do outside of the college and getting a job and the usual route so we spent many nights talking through what can we do and uh unaware of the fact that the problem was right in front of us in our new york city apartment shoe box now one question i'm going to dive in just because i'm curious before we dive into the final solution you guys landed on what were some of the crazy ideas or some of the ideas that you guys came up with that you didn't pursue or you didn't or you didn't end up going after yeah so i mean as long as the maximizing space and making it more functional is concerned and our motive was to be able to host friends without having them sit on our bed right so we were like what what else can we have like if we get five chairs that's not gonna fit so the only viable option for us was was the humble murphy bed right and uh we we really didn't land on any other solution to just you know make the space more open other than the murphy bed and we always knew that there is a product like this that exists we never looked for it but we knew we can't so you know to be able to solve our problem and that problem actually we couldn't see it it wasn't right in front of us but we couldn't see it so we were just talking about what else can we do what else can we do so to your point we started a management consulting firm before the murphy bed uh development or was conceived and you know a year or a year and a half into the firm we were like you know now we are in a position to really get started with this vision that we had years ago and you know when we had the vision years ago obviously we went out to look for that perfect murphy bed and we were very disappointed to learn that the murphy beds available out there there the design is kind of stuck in the 70s and the appeal factor is not as strong especially when you compare the price tag that comes with it so it's like two to five thousand for a regular murphy bed and we couldn't really justify the appeal factor to the price factor and then when you add delivery and installation in the mix that's usually third parties that the buyer has to get involved and just the buying cycle and buying experience was not appealing right so we had to kill our dreams of owning a murphy bed back then but then as i said a few years later we were in a position to start developing one of of ourselves and you know the way that journey started was we wanted to one question just curious because you touched on it you said you know we weren't in the position to do it back then and definitely understand but there are a myriad of reasons it can be hey the timing's not right we're busy getting married having children graduating from school starting our consulting or was it more of hey we don't have the funds this is going to be an expensive endeavor kind of what was it that made the timing not right then that you guys held off for a period of time before deciding to pull the trigger yeah so that time was when we were actively pursuing our master's degrees right so i mean you know that for a fact that pursuing a master's degree is not an easy feat so and we knew that developing something like this would take full-time dedication and commitment on top of the resources which is time money and people and you know we didn't think we was fresh off the [Music] india and just a couple years into the united states so we were still learning and even even the language i would say back then right we were still learning and uh trying to meet the right people making the right connections so back then we were just too early i think and we still wanted to graduate make our friends happy that hey we've graduated you got a job now we can do something else no go figure how crazy is it they want you to graduate actually uh you know be able to uh utilize all the time and expense to go or to go into school so no that definitely makes sense so so now you guys get into that for a you know period of time you do the consulting firm and i think if for you can correct me where i think that's still active and still going um but if not but you know so you're doing the the consulting firm for a period of time and then you know what was it kind of what triggered you guys to kind of re you know go after again um the the murphy bed and the concept that you guys said hey we think there's something here but we the timing's not right what kind was that trigger to jump back into it yeah so a year or year and a half into the consulting firm i mean you know consulting is a services business and we wanted to help other businesses so we started the firm but then outside of services we wanted to think of a product in the mix just for our long-term planning as me and my partner in our careers and companies together so we could have come up with a 10 50 product but you know we didn't really have any ideas the idea we had is this big old elephant that takes two years to develop and a much bigger lift than a ten dollar product so the idea was always there and we wanted to expand our you know expertise portfolios outside of the service and then help individual people because a product like this you've seen it it can change lives and we wanted to change lives of people no i think that's cool and and the timing definitely makes sense so so now as you guys are kind of jumping in you say okay timing didn't make sense then we did you know water under the bridge took some time now timing does make sense and you guys are getting that going you know as you're getting it going you know how was it to dive into what was a i mean i don't think maybe i'm wrong you tell me where i am but you guys didn't have necessarily a ton of experience in murphy beds as far as manufacturing and mails and air you know manufacturing and prototyping and marketing and sales and doing all you know and doing all of the concepts and then some of the areas you had more experience than others but kind of how was it as you guys dived in and got that going yeah so you're right we had zero experience in the furniture industry especially when it comes to design and development and then sales and marketing we had some experience and obviously those are the things you can learn but to your point design development was completely uncharted water for us and the the process we started was just a piece of paper where i put down list of requirements in black and white that i would like in the murphy bed so no visual per se again no design experience but just a set of requirements off of looking at different murphy beds available in the market that hey this is missing this feature so reading light ambient light switch panel storage desk these are like key features we need to have so that was the type of requirement list i put together and then we started looking for a designer who can take that set of requirements and put it into a visual so i reached out to to my high school friend back then uh and you know she gave her the vision gave her the requirements and she loved it and she got to work and i think a few weeks later she came up with a few drafts of the design no that's cool and it's always interesting a lot of times you know as you're getting your business started and up and going oftentimes you'll turn to your friends one because you know that they're talented they're reliable you have a good working relate you know good connection with them relationship so it's interesting how often times as you're getting a business going that's naturally who you turn to versus hey who do we know that can help us here as opposed to you know going here shooting in the dark so to speak so it definitely makes sense so so now she you know your friend comes up with the design says okay and it takes a few weeks you get that and knocked out how was it as far as you know now figuring out how to actually make and manufacture this thing that you guys have come up with you know on the on the pen and paper as a design yeah yeah so you know after the design up until the design we were never really worried about how we're gonna develop it how long it's gonna take we just took it step by step that way the first thing is we come up with requirements second thing is we put a visual to the design now that the design is ready let's look for manufacturers who can manufacture this for us now when it comes to the murphy bed that we have come up with the design it required a hundred percent custom development it wasn't an off-the-shelf product that you make some changes and you know it turns into our design now so you know we got turned away from i think three or four manufacturers because it was they knew it was gonna take a long time for them to perfect our product before they see some money coming in their way so a lot of them didn't really take up the challenge to to develop our design but then we landed on the last option that we had and we got lucky the guy is really good and he he accepted the challenge he was like you know robbie and team you have designed something amazing i've been doing this business for five decades manufacturing the beds but this is really something cool and i would love to take on the challenge to develop this for you guys and and then it was a process in its own that we'll get into no and that that definitely makes sense and sounds like it was and so you know one other kind of question just diving into because it's interesting journey you know as you're finding you know a lot of manufacturers saying hey this is too complicated it's more work than is worth we don't want to die or we don't want to take on the project how did you find the the manufacturer that would actually do that you know were you flying out meeting with a lot of people were you sending out emails were you asking your network or kind of how did you go about finding that manual or that initial manufacture yeah so i did everything i could it was it included everything that you said calling people that i know in the industry them calling their peoples a second circle then flying out writing emails everything but i think what really stood out was the second circle because when when you call the people that you know and you can count on and they call further that really speaks volume because number one they believe in what you're trying to do so that's that's the introduction relationship that they have with the other person and that that's what really got us to where we are so so now you get the manu you know you go from design you go to manufacturing and then you actually get it how long was this process kind of from there when you originally started with the idea to where you actually had something manufactured that you could start selling yeah so i think it took about a year and a half to two years from that requirement list to a prototype or three prototypes that we could actually market and sell so now you get the prototypes you can market and sell you put you know and that's always you know first of all it's a lot of time it's a lot of investment both on time and and money to do all of this and you put it out in the marketplace you know you actually put it for sale or to start taking you know trying to take purchase orders how was it was it hey we had a flood of orders and people loved it was it hey it was a slow build and we had to figure out the marketplace hey we did a lot of trade shows the timing was horrible the timing was great kind of clueless into how that went as you were getting things up and running yeah so we are still in the process uh the the website is is work in the works so we haven't really started the full-blown sales efforts but we have tested the market you know we have reached out to different businesses some direct customers they've reached out to us on our instagram page and they're like hey guys this is beautiful can we buy it so we haven't really opened up the doors to everybody for sales yet uh but to your point we know it for a fact that it's gonna take a lot of dedication right reaching out it's not going to be an easy sale even with a product like this which is something that people have never seen before it still takes a lot of education and awareness brand awareness and on top of all that like it's not just the murphy bed as a brand we have to educate them that you know oklahoma is more than a murphy bed and how how can we back that statement and that then that goes into our design process and thinking and what type of things we considered in our design no and i think that you know it sounds like it's one of those you know it is one of those where you have to do that iteration that kind of go along that path and figure that out so that brings us a bit up into where you're at today but now you're looking saying okay we've got some of our prototypes we're working through things or you know getting the website up and running we've had some initial positive feedback where do you see kind of the next six to 12 months going for you guys next six to 12 months uh we see quite a bit of sales coming uh manufacturing ramping up supply chain delivery installation so all the operations we are looking forward to it it's gonna be a lot more than we expect but we are ready for it well that's cool so and one of the things i think you mentioned is you also you know and we've chatted a bit and back and forth but in and out of the podcast is you're looking at different manufacturers different avenues who which country to manufacture in which you know what is the right price point and kind of all of those as you're continuing to go out in the marketplace so how do you kind of go about looking now as you're looking at to ramp things up to further sell things to get it on the marketplace how have you kind of tackled all of those of hey should i go to china should i go to india should i go to south america should i go to the u.s for manufacturing and how do i you know sales and do we take pre-orders or do i wait till we have products ready to ship and what type of inventory kind of how have you guys tackled or how are you guys planning on tackling those yeah so i mean in the past we knew that a product like this cannot be manufactured in the u.s because it takes more than one one professional to come into and then figure out the engineering of it it's not just a wood and metal furniture it's an engineering behind it because it's a moving product so the the precision that you need is a millimeter to millimeter you can't be off for a single millimeter or your product doesn't work so we always knew that manufacturing in the us is gonna take a longer time and a lot more money than compared to if we got it done in asia so you know we we got started in india india has a lot of good manufacturers that does this job and you know we were lucky to find the white one who took the writers with us i mean which manufacturer sticks with you for a year and a half to to see the money right so we did find the right partners in the process well that's really cool that's awesome and exciting and i'm excited as you guys continue to further push out in the marketplace or you know look to make those sales look to make that big splash definitely a fun uh journey that i'd love to see how it continues to play out for you guys well as we start to wrap up the podcast i always have two questions i had asked at the end of each episode so we'll jump to those now 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 that's a good question i think the worst business decision was to choose the wrong partner i mean they're not with us anymore and when i say partner it wasn't a co-founder per se in my my case it was just there was a manufacturer a very good friend of mine he thought he could develop the product for us i i trusted him and just a couple months later the true color started to come out so i think that was a bad decision on my part that you know i got carried away in a relationship that that thing could help me but i should have looked at the business and my goals and vision from a broader perspective before picking the right partner um no i think that is one and it's hard because you know especially if unless you've been once you've been doing it for a while you find out which are the right partners and the right people but that also comes with you've been doing it for a while and you figure that out and it makes sense and so you know as you're getting into it it's not that easy or that straightforward to say oh yeah here's the right partner here's a person do it and so i think that you know definitely makes sense how you can you know have that stumbling block or make that mistake but it's also a good one to learn from because you also as you do that you'll learn who is the right partner or which ones do make sense so definitely it works error works and makes sense on my end so yeah well with that and this now we'll 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 i think i can i can think of one but the first one i will start with is commit like commit to what your goals are commit to what your visions are and then find the right partners find your right co-founder find your right resources because it's very hard to build something alone compared to with a team i think the chances of success and the timeline gets much shorter when you have a co-founder and a team that complements the skills that you have so that's the number one advice i would give to somebody all right and i definitely agree i think one of the things that you know building the team that one you can trust you can you know that uh is going to do a good job that you know that you can that are going in the same direction or have the same vision all of those are definitely an important one it can have a big impact on your business and so building that right team and getting that core foundation of people is a big deal for any business but especially a startup or a small business so well as we now start to wrap up but people want to find out more about your product they're looking i need to have a murphy bed i'd love to buy yours if they want to be a customer or client they want to be an investor that say this is a great opportunity they want to be a employee they say hey i'd love to work for this company 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 the best way to reach out to is just text my personal line uh you have it you can put it in the the list but it's 201 736 1784 or you can find our brand okla designs on instagram and there you have you can be ms it comes straight to me and my team i always keep an eye on it so there are a few ways to get in touch with me and i would love to hear from anyone who's interested to be in touch with me awesome well i definitely encourage people to reach out connect up to you find out more um because it's you know i think it's a cool and innovative product and certainly one that uh where uh be useful for a lot of individuals well thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on a podcast to share it we'd love to have you just go to strategymeeting.com and apply to be on the show or sorry not strategy me that was a little bit later go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show i'll talk about strategy you mean just a second um now for two more things as a listener one um is a listener make sure to click subscribe and your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and to leave us a review so other people can find about all of our awesome episodes last but not least if now if you need any help with your patents trademarks or anything else with business just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat well ravi thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you thank you david for the opportunity was a pleasure [Music] absolutely you