For some time now, I have been telling aspiring entrepreneurs that they now have powers and abilities formerly reserved for multi-national giants.
The power of modern computers and the vast reach of the internet permit a solitary individual to research and confirm the promise of any market, anywhere. Even laptops can now accommodate computer-aided design of complex products. 3-D printing at remote shops can deliver prototypes in timeframes limited only by the speed of Fedex. Factories in multiple countries are ready to bid on production of the finished product. And then those products can be shipped directly to waiting customers around the globe, already recruited via very cool websites fed by social media engines.
Well, talk is cheap. So I decided to actually demonstrate the concept.
In the US, many, many people spend lots and lots of money on lawn games. Only about half a dozen of them exist, and all of those have modest-to-severe limitations that reduce their total playing population. All but croquet have significant participation limits: only four to six people can play at one time. Croquet and badminton both require relatively large, flat playing areas. Horseshoes tear up existing grass, or else require a permanent set of “pits” dedicated to the game. Most games require score keeping, sometimes a challenge. In short, there is a clear master market for this sort of outdoor entertainment, and a potential opening for a clever entrant.
Enter Throquet. I have always enjoyed the relaxed pace and social opportunities that make croquet particularly appropriate for parties. Unfortunately, I've never had a large, flat lawn. And when I moved to the edge of the Jefferson National Forest a few years ago, I despaired of ever playing croquet in my own yard. A couple of years ago, I enjoyed yet one more thoroughly enjoyable afternoon of croquet (at a friend's home). That did it! I went home and invented Throquet - a cross between croquet and disk golf.
Once I decided that a new lawn game was worth some serious thought, I found some rings and cones, made up a prototype set, wrote up the rules, and threw a party. The guests all loved it. I loaned the game out to others. They all loved it. Market test - positive. Price points - fine - plenty of margin space.
The adventure of taking Throquet to market then began in earnest. It is truly a virtual startup. Even though Throquet is a tangible product, I have no office, no employees, no factory, and no warehouse. Everything is/was electronically handled through third parties except field-testing the prototype version of the game. The requirements to make a bet like this in the 21st century include only a computer, internet access, modest risk capital, solid suppliers, and plenty of MOXIE. Things will change if Throquet is a big success, of course; but right now it’s just me, a browser, and reliable helpers, all over the world.
I'll keep you posted on the outcome. Meanwhile, click on the logo for more info.