PITCH 1 Wise Fox Planner
Welcome to the week 4 of Go Pitch Win! We are half way in our first season! Each week Greg is joined by a guest judge to hear 2 entrepreneurs pitch their business or product. After hearing the two pitches they will pick the weekly winner to move on to the final 6. At the end of the 6 weeks, Greg will select the top 3 and then we need you to help us pick the winner! Once the 3 finalists are announced we will open the voting for you #FreedomBuilders to choose our $10,000 winner!
Greg Mercer, Jungle Scout Founder
Greg is the founder and CEO of Jungle Scout, a suite of tools that empowers freedom builders. As a successful entrepreneur, Greg leads a team of 65+ employees. He is also an influential educator, offering free and inspirational content that has helped thousands of people build their own businesses and freedom.
Liz Saunders, Go Pitch Win Project Manager
This week's guest judge Liz Saunders. Liz is a project manager here at Jungle Scout, she's an entrepreneur at heart, has her hand in many different successful businesses, and loves travel and logistics.
PITCH - Wise Fox Planner
The Wise Fox Planner is an intentionally designed planner to help you be more productive. Rob Wise is the researcher and designer of the planner.
Rob: About a hundred years ago Charles Schwab ran a steel company that made him one of the richest people in the world. In order to increase productivity at his steel company, he hired a man named Ivy Lee as a consultant. Ivy didn't request any payment up front but instead asked that if Charles thought his advice was useful then in three months he could send him a check for what he thought it was worth. Ivy then spoke to the executives at the company and told them that each day they should write down only six items to complete the next day, prioritize them based on importance, and then work through them one at a time starting with what was the most important.
After three months Charles was so impressed with the results that he sent Ivy a check for $25,000, which is the equivalent of about half a million dollars in today's figures. These days we don't have to pay a half a million dollars or even $25,000 to get that kind of productivity advice. We can access that information for free, along with countless other advice about being productive. So with all that information at our finger tips, why do so many people struggle to achieve their goals and feel that they're constantly stressed and there's never enough time to get things done in the day? That's the problem I'm going to look at and hopefully provide some insights in this pitch.
First thing I'm going to look at is the cult of busyness. Researchers from Columbia, Harvard, and Georgetown Universities conducted a study that found the busier people seemed, the more important other people deemed them to be. According to the study, busyness has replaced owning luxury cars or having free time as the measure of how other's judge our status in society. Being constantly busy makes other people view us as important in the workplace and our social lives. It's so prevalent that it's almost become standard that if you ask anyone how they're doing they'll probably give you the answer, "I'm busy."
However, being constantly busy should not be a status symbol as it can lead to serious health problems, such as sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and heart disease, just to name a few. 80% of people have already failed their new year's resolutions before March. Day after day, week after week, and year after year, the majority of people don't achieve the goals that they set and don't live their life to the fullest.
My story was similar to these examples. I was once subscribed to the cult of busyness. I was in a full-time job working every day, including weekends, while trying to become self employed. I felt like the work never ended and I was unable to move from full time work to becoming self employed. I barely read or exercised and each year I would see my new year's resolutions and goals slip away as I failed to achieve them. Instead of having the time to build a business or go to the gym, I spent all my time responding to emails on the weekend and working overtime in a windowless office. I was never in control of my day but instead reacting to whatever occurred, never getting on top of anything. It was as though I was always being pulled in a million different directions and none of them were the direction I wanted to go.
I turned to productivity apps, to-do apps, and every kind of digital productivity hack I could find to help me. The constant use of different apps and the digital distractions that came with phones and computers meant I was more distracted and tried to multitask even more than before.
There's a common belief that one of the solutions to getting things done is multitasking, however most people can't multitask the way they believe they actually can. When people believe they're multitasking they're actually just switching between tasks, leading to all tasks being completed much slower and to a lower quality. Studies show it takes a person on average 25 minutes to get back to work after they're interrupted, and even if your smartphone is turned off, it leads to a reduced cognitive ability and lower performance on tasks if your smartphone is within reach. This leads to people constantly being in reactive mode, not working to the best of their abilities, always dealing with distractions, and never focusing on any task for an extended period of time.
In ancient Greece, Socrates was concerned that writing would lead to a decrease in people's ability to memorize information as they could just rely on writing or stone tablets to remember the information for them. Socrates probably didn't let his students use a stone tablet, but thousands of years later even Steve Jobs didn't let his children use a tablet computer. Just after the release of the iPad, Steve Jobs was asked whether his kids loved the iPad. He replied, "Actually, we don't allow the iPad in the home, we think it's too dangerous for them." He was aware of how addictive the iPad and digital devices were and that addiction has only increased since then.
In today's society we're starved for time but we're data obese. Digital planners and apps provide information overload and a constant stream of notifications. This wears down your willpower constantly having to resist checking your email and other apps when you check your to-do list. You've probably found that you've taken your phone out of your pocket to do something then minutes you found yourself scrolling through your Facebook feed forgetting why you took your phone out in the first place. So, what is the solution to this?
With machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, running on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, we can become more productive. I'm just kidding you. The answer's a little bit more low-tech. While paper planners may not have all the bells and whistles of the latest productivity app, they actually work at helping you get things done.
Paper planners help you resist the constant pull of digital addiction and gain back your time. They help you improve your cognitive ability, your focus, your attention span that it may have been reduced through smartphone use. They help you reduce anxiety and the feeling of always being overwhelmed. Paper planners allow you to focus on what is important instead of what constantly seems urgent. They lead to improved sleep and allow you to start your day right without always being in reactive mode.
I've decided to switch from digital apps to paper planners, however I always found they were lacking in many areas. They were either too specific and only covered one area of productive or mindset, or they tried to do too much and crammed it all into a small space. This resulted in me using at least two to three different planners each day to get things done, which was not practical to use or carry around.
When I started creating the planner I typed up a Word document with everything that I found worked for me and that I wanted in a planner. The basic version helped me become more productive and feel less stressed when getting important work done. I then looked at whether I could create a hardcover version instead of just using a printed paper version.
I'm aware that there are already a range of planners available on the market. This planner really needs to stand out to compete in the market and I believe it does. The problems I found with existing planners is that, as mentioned, they're very specific. They're either purely a gratitude journal or they're only productivity journal, and they require a lot of planners to be purchased to actually have a complete system. Many planners are goal focused or they don't account for daily tasks and habits, which isn't balanced if you're only focusing purely on one goal. They try to include other areas and are often cluttered with no room to write. They don't break goals down into manageable chunks or milestones, and they don't follow a process for reaching your goals.
Many planners don't have daily routines or habits, if they do have routines they may require that you write out your daily routines each day. The planners on the market either don't contain daily calendars or it's a fraction of a page. There may be too many priorities without clear structure, which leads to unstructured task lists. They also don't focus on mindset or the motivational aspects. Basically, there's a lot of planners on the market that either do one thing really well or a lot of things poorly.
This planner aims to fill a gap in the market for a high quality planner that can be used as an all-in-one system for productivities, goals, calendar, daily tasks, and mindset. It contains effective goal setting designed for process based goals instead of just our outcome based goals. An example of an outcome based goal is a goal that's out of your control, such as lose 30 pounds or increase business revenue by 10,000 a month. A process based goal would be within your control. For example, exercise three times a week or make 20 high-value sales goals a week. Outcome based goals leave you in constant state of failure until you achieve that goal. Processed based goals encourage you to move towards your goals being in a constant state of success as you achieve milestones and complete the process.
The goals in the planner also link together with milestones, quarterly, weekly, and monthly, breaking them down into small daily tasks and habits as you work on them each day. It prioritizes the three most important tasks of the day to keep you focused on what is important, it reminds you of your weekly goals each day to help you ensure that you take action towards it, and you don't get to the end of the week forgetting to work on your important goal. Each day it prompts you to complete your morning and evening routines along with your habits. It reminds you to review your goals daily, reminds you to learn something new, and exercise. It contains weekly and monthly review questions, it also has areas to complete focus sessions when you work on each task.
It contains a separate section for people to contact so that it doesn't clutter your task list and you know who you have to get back to. It contains gratitude, wins, opportunities, ideas, positive things, and lessons learned each day with plenty of room to write in them. These sections have been researched to insure they're effective and helpful. It also contains a separate section for small tasks to separate them from your main priorities, and a daily calendar to schedule in your most important tasks and take back control of each day. It contains weekly challenges as well to help improve you or push you outside of your comfort zone. It does all this while being simple to use and easy to use.
Originally I planned to create this for myself as it was a product that I wanted. I've also completed some market research and I do think there's a good market opportunity for this planner in the USA and Australia. The target market is people that are already buying planners but aren't happy with them, people that have used paper planners but feel stressed, overwhelmed, and never seem to get important tasks completed, people the use digital planners or to-do apps and find them distracting, difficult to use, or ineffective, people that use digit planners but are concerned about the ever control of digital devices over our lives and the impact it has on our concentration, focus, and brain.
It's a broad target market but I'm only focusing on two main markets to start and only Amazon shoppers. The first market is the US market, and I've completed research using the Jungle Scout Chrome extension in the US market. I've looked at the Word Cloud of what people are searching for to find out what they're actually looking for in a planner and the keywords they search for. The price points of this planner would be just under $30, however the intended price range of the planner would be $20 to $25 on launch until I gained reviews and traction. This would move to 25 to 30 as popularity and positive reviews increased over time. This is line with the pricing of competitive products.
I've also looked at whether I could rank for these keywords and the board range of sales and revenues. I've removed the highest and lowest figures from the estimates of any planners that weren't a similar match. In a search for productivity planner there's a range of 3,000 to 26,000 a month which 100 to 1,000 units sold a month. In terms of life planners it's 2,000 to 39,000 a month with units sold of 100 to 1,000 units a month. For goal planner, 1,000 to 26,000 a month, with 50 to 1,000 units sold a month, and for gratitude journal it's 1,000 to 5,000 dollars a month, however there's no gratitude planners that are really in the price range that I'm looking to launch this for.
I've also looked at Google trends using the Jungle Scout Chrome extension, which shows the demand and interest in productivity planners is steadily increasing over time. There's also a lot of interest from the United States and from Australia, which would be the two target markets. I don't have a lot of information on the Australian market yet. Current planners either don't ship to Australia or they take a very long time to ship there.
Speaking to Australians that would be interested, they've told me that they haven't been able to order planners or it would take too long to get them. There is a high interest in productivity planners, goal planners, and gratitude journals in Australia as shown from Google trends. Australia is the newest Amazon FBA market which provides an early mover advantage, and Amazon only launched FBA recently and was only FBN until then.
Where will the money be spent? The quota I received from the supplier is $6 per unit for 500 units, which will be $3,000, or $2 per unit for 3,000 units, which would be $6,000. So the initial order would be 6,000 for 3,000 units, inspection and shipping would be around 2,000 to 3,000. I would plan to ship about 500 units to Australia initially with 2,500 units being shipped to the US. That would leave about a $1,000 for Amazon PPC ads and marketing. At cost it would be around $2 per unit purchase price, about a dollar per unit shipping, Amazon FBA fees would be estimated between $8 to $10, which might vary depending on the final weight, which would leave around $11 to $13 cost per unit based on a $20 to $25 initial sale price, with $20 being the low end and the initial launch price, and $13 being the high end of the cost price. That would leave about $7 profit per unit.
I was originally planning on launching this on Kickstarter, but if I win this competition I would have a margin of about 30 to 40% of the product at the initial price point of 20, which could be discounted to launch the product on Jump Send instead.
The planner helps data obese time starved people to achieve their goals, stick to their habits, and live a balanced fulfilled life in a way that reduces stress and fights the ever growing pull of digital addiction.
Greg: Overall, I like it. Essentially you're selling a more or less blank book that you're purchasing. Costs you $3 which you're making $7 profit, over 200% ROI. I like the idea of this. It seems like overall a good business plan.
I think the biggest hurdle that I see would be how do you convince people to purchase this particular productivity planner versus the other like hundred on Amazon?
Rob: That's something I've looked at. With the name, so the branding of the name I've gone with Wise Fox planner as an initial kind of idea. When I looked at what was currently on Amazon, the top two are Panda planner and Elephant planner. It seems that branding is the biggest factor. When I actually came up with names I came up with about 250 different words and then combined them all together, which gave me about 5,000 or so suggestions. When I ran them past people they were all generic like Motivational planner, Balance planer, Our Productivity Balanced Life planner, things like that. So I'm moving towards Wise Fox planner as the brand because it's memorable and it is all about branding.
So yeah, in terms of competition it really is just making people aware why this is better. That's going to be marketing, that's going to be social media, YouTube channel. So it's really about awareness of why this planner is better and then the branding around it.
Greg: So you feel like your value prop is the branding around it as opposed to kind of like the structure of the goal setting and that type of thing inside the journal?
Rob: No, I believe it is better, that's why I have created it, is that I don't believe that the current planners on Amazon, as I mentioned, there's one that's purely for gratitude and then there's another one that's purely for productivity, and neither of them have a calendar in them. So if you're buying those planners you're spending $20 to $30 each and you still don't even have a calendar or a complete system. I believe that it's a complete system, I do believe it's better than what is currently on Amazon, and when I look at the top rated ones, which is Panda planner and Elephant planner, they try to do a lot and they're cramming it all in. So if you look at a page on one of them, they're got a gratitude section but it's a tiny box that's right down at the bottom. You can probably just write one or two words there.
So I feel that it definitely is better. I've crossed all the aspects that it tries to do, I think in terms of goal setting it's more effective. A lot of them just get you to write your tasks, this one tries to take you from what are my quarterly goals, break them into monthly milestones, the monthly are then set into weekly, and then daily. So it really takes you through a whole complete system of how this retains goal setting as opposed to just setting a big goal but what you're doing daily doesn't line up to your big goal.
Liz: Very well done. I liked your presentation.
My first question is, so your opinion about the Panda planner and the other one in the way of the kind of value proposition that you have that's better than what they're doing, does that line up with their Amazon reviews?
Rob: It's going to be hard to compete on Amazon reviews for those. So like when I looked at the actual ranges I excluded the Panda planner because it's doing around 150,000 per month. So when I did those figures I've excluded them as outliers because I don't think I could catch up immediately to that, but I do think that there are going to be people that are dissatisfied with it as I was when I used it, and so we'll be making those people aware yes, these are the things you were dissatisfied, there are one star reviews on that planner, and then making them aware why this is better.
Liz: And a way of a content plan, do you have something laid out, stuff that you want to show on the site, if you want to do videos, tutorials, those types of things? Like I was on the Panda planner site. It looks really good but I see testimonials I don't see any how-to's or any of those sorts of things. I mean, it looks like, I haven't seen their videos, but it looks like it's pretty good. Do you have a content plan to kind of walk people through some of that stuff with your planner?
Rob: I've already written around 15,000 words in a book. That was originally just going to be the introduction pages. So the idea will be, like I've kind of explained in the presentation, just take people through what makes you more productive, because it is like looking for the next productivity hack or the next thing. There will be a lot of people that will just buy it thinking this will solve all my problems. I think it's great but you do also need to apply to other things, like you need to have focus and you need to stop being distracted, and using a planner will help with that but having a course and having content that actually helps people be more productive and use the planner I think is essential to making the most of it.
Liz: With the Australian Amazon FBA opening up you would be one of the first to market on the Australian FBA, yes?
Rob: Correct. So at the moment if you search for any of these planners they're all shipping from Book Depository in the UK. So Amazon doesn't really have any books or planners or office products at the moment that are like this, they're all still shipped from overseas.
Liz: Wow, well I think being one of the first to market in Australia would be a huge competitive advantage.
Greg: Rob, do you already have the designs for this done? Like the pages and the cover and whatever else?
Rob: Yeah, so the pages I put some of them in the presentation bare.
Greg: Yeah, I didn't know if those were examples or those are the designs you're using out of it.
Rob: The design is already done up, I've received a sample, and I've sent back the modifications for an improved sample.
Greg: Where are you getting them printed at?
Rob: So there is a printing company in Shenzhen that I found on Alibaba. I contacted a few and they were the ones that were able to do custom interior printing, whereas a lot of the others only had lined paper or very basic designs.
Greg: If you win this money what's the plan for the next like three to six months?
Rob: The next few weeks I will have a sample back. I would then, after receiving the money, I would place the order to get the final version so that the order would be on the finalized version. I will then ship that to Amazon in the US and then also in Australia, and then I will launch it, like I said, using discounts on Jump Send and then PPC ads to build up the reviews, the traction, until I can get to a level that I can increase the price to the $25 to $30 range. So that will be the goal. Yeah, launch in the US and Australia and just slowly building the product and interest in the planner along with the website, and of course just to do some content marketing off Amazon as well.
Liz: So I'm curious, can you tell us a little bit about the research that you did? Because I mean the Jungle Scout and kind of the keywords and that kind of stuff, but in way of like you said that you had the sections researched and there were a couple other things I think what I would consider kind of like offline research. Where did you do that?
Rob: When I looked at what was in the existing planners, so affirmations is a big thing that's in planners, and so that was something that I really wanted to know. Is there any value in having affirmations? There's mixed results on it. Affirmations will work if you have an affirmation to say, "I am someone that goes to the gym even if it's raining outside." That works as an affirmation because you're putting your mindset, okay that's an action that I do, and when you're telling yourself that and you don't do it you can see yourself failing the action. But affirmations don't work if you say, "I am someone who has a six pack and great muscles." You actually feel worse about yourself. So a lot of those ... Because you know it's true, it's kind of like you're lying to yourself and that.
So to things like that it was like I'm reading the research online andbooks and just seeing what works. And so I did a lot of research with that, just reading what was put out by universities and books and just seeing what is actually effective in those areas.
Greg: You mentioned that you may sell this on Kickstarter, especially if you don't win the money. Tell us a little bit more about your plans around that.
Rob: Yeah, so there have been a lot of planners that have launched on Kickstarter with mixed results. This is again when I was looking at coming up with names, and that pretty much every name has been used for this type of planner. What I would do with that would be ... I would really build the initial pre-marketing it. I would create that content first in terms of the costs, how it works, the benefits, and things like that, and build a mailing list and do some marketing to actually just get those people interested in the planner before it actually launches. So I think that's probably one of the differences.
With launching on Amazon I would have the product first and then ... Tying it with a Kickstarter you really need to have the initial interest before you actually buy the product, so that would be a difference. So I would build the interest in productivity, get a target market of people that will buy it, and then not buy the product until after I had the Kickstarter funds.
Greg: What's your experience to date with building websites, driving traffic to them, getting people to purchase these products? Do you have any prior experience or is this a new thing to you?
Rob: No, I've done web design before and run like a small web agency and design, WordPress types and things like that. I've also got basic landing pages. Like I do a lot of Kindle books, paperback books, and audio books, so with all of those I have lead magnets and landing pages which I create myself. So I have experience doing that particular type of marketing and then sending Facebook ads to those pages or building the interest from the Kindle books to the landing pages and building my own lists there.
Greg: Is this a product that you're particularly passionate about or are you selling it just because you see the need or the opportunity?
Rob: Primarily it's something that I'm passionate about. I think it's probably not the easiest way to make money, like I think if I was going to continue to build up income I could do Kindle, I could do paperback books. This is something that I really want to create, and when I talk to other people they're interested. So it was kind of like the market opportunity became something I was aware of after I started creating it. I was quite happy just creating it for myself, and so it's not something I'm doing for the market opportunity, it's something I'm creating for myself, the market opportunity is there, and I think it is a good opportunity that I could capitalize on. Yeah, it's not the primary reason.
Liz: Any of those Kindle books that you mentioned that you have or other products that could be used to push sales over to the planner?
Rob: That's an area that I'm also planning on doing pre-launch. So if I was doing Kickstarter what I would do would be build those initial interests through books, so like through Kindle books and mailing lists, and then I would also communicate with other authors that I know that have similar mailing lists around the self improvement and productivity niches, and then I could use those to have a mailing list of people that have been segmented or targeted based on those kind of interests. So definitely something that I would do before Kickstarter or I could actually do with existing mailing lists from other authors now.
Greg: All right, so we have two final questions for you then. Any final thoughts on why you should win?
Rob: That's a good question, I didn't think of that. I think it's something that would be interesting and useful to the Jungle Scout audience. I think for me it's something I'm creating for myself, I believe that it's good, I'm planning on launching on Amazon. I think there will be a lot of people that ... I know that when you did those case studies two of the biggest issues that people had when launching a product was time and money, and so I think that this is something that helps address that productivity and the time issue that people have when actually trying to launch an Amazon product or start a business, that they never feel they have the time to do it.
So in terms of that I think it's of interest to the Jungle Scout audience and other Amazon sellers, and then I think that launching at Amazon Australia and a new product is also an interesting case study.
Greg: If someone's listening to this in the future and they want to buy the Wise Fox Productivity planner, where's the best place for them to find it?
Rob: So I have it in my name, I haven't put a website on it yet, but it will be WiseFoxPlanner.com.
Greg: Rob, thank you very much for joining us today. We've enjoyed listening to your pitch and getting a chance to ask you some questions, and we will let you know if you are going to move on to the final round or not.