Katherine Krug & BetterBack – A Startup Success Story
Do you want to start a business but not sure where to begin, or perhaps you are still looking for start up business ideas?
The reason I write articles on successful business start-ups is to give people like you ideas, hope, motivation, and very often a road-map to follow in starting at business.
Do you still think you have to be lucky, come from wealth, or have everything perfect in your life before you can consider starting up a business? Perhaps you want to read about Tina Aldatz, the inventor and founder of Foot Petals. Daughter of an alcoholic mom and a heroin addicted, gang member, father – but today she is counted among the ranks of millionaires. Not because she came from a picture perfect background but because she depended on hard work, effort, and a vision to start her business and create wealth.
For this article “How to Start up a Business” I have chosen to profile 33 year old Katherine Krug of San Francisco, who has been written about recently in Forbes and Money Magazine as an up and coming entrepreneur who was able to build her business start up (BetterBack) to approximately $1 million in sales with no employees.
So, if you want to start a business and want to know how other people get ideas for starting a business, studying Katherine’s pathway to start up success could be extremely helpful.
Katherine Krug and the BetterBack Start up
Katherine’s business success grew out of her own need to solve her aching back, literally. She rightly suspected that her sometimes severe back pain and sciatica condition was related to her not so good posture while sitting for up to 9 hours a day developing apps.
When the app company she was working for went out of business, Katherine turned her attention to solving her back pain. Research revealed that 90% of people will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. Katherine understood that the right product could not only help people who already suffered back pain, but could help prevent back pain in the first place by developing the habit of good posture.
Katherine had tried other back support solutions already, but none seemed to sufficiently solve her problem. Katherine set out to develop a better solution. Some people might use the phrase “to build a better mousetrap.”
Her solution for solving her own back problem was amazingly low tech. She set about developing a simple strap that would provide back support, train the muscles and develop good posture while sitting. She would eventually enlist the help of two industrial designers to come up with a prototype that she could present to the marketplace.
The next step was to find out if there was in fact a market for her new product. Having some experience in product development, Katherine knew that one of the best places to test the need for her product at raise start up money, at the same time, was on Kickstarter.
If you are new to studying business start ups – Kickstarter is the top crowdfunding site on the internet. It is a great place to learn if your new product or idea fills a want, need or desire in the marketplace. If people like your idea and the way you present it (called a campaign) it is possible to raise even more start up money than you originally ask for.
Katherine’s Kickstarter campaign raised $1.2 million from over 16,000 people and is considered one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever. Some of the money raised was for pre-orders of the product.
One of the things that made her campaign so successful was her ability to identify the problem that effects so many people, and offer a convincing solution. Katherine explains that her BetterBack Strap stabilizes the pelvis thereby correcting the curvature of the spine while providing lumbar support. Worn while sitting it will re-train your body’s default posture so that when you stand or sit without it your posture is greatly improved. Other features are that it is lightweight, portable, and pretty much turns any chair into a perfect ergonomic sitting environment.
To build the business as a one person company Katherine Krug had to collaborate with other professionals – as contractors. In addition to the two industrial designers she contracted with, she used a Brazilian marketing firm and a virtual assistant in the Philippines.
Online tools such as Google Docs and Skype helped facilitate the exchange of ideas and goals as the business grew.
Katherine Krug recommends the strategies of serial entrepreneur Steve Blank – often credited with helping to start the “Lean Startup Movement”, as well as Eric Ries – author of The Lean Startup.
If you want ideas for starting your own business, you must focus on the wants, needs, and desires of the masses. That is where it all begins.