Nathaniel Weiss' $5 million company, G-vox Interactive Music, has 50 employees and is doubling in size every year. Weiss, 32, started out in 1993 with his first invention: G-vox, a hardware/software package that automatically transcribes notes played on a guitar into sheet music. Guitarists love the G-vox because they don't have to stop and write down the notes they're playing. The product's uniqueness enabled Weiss to launch a publicity campaign in major guitar magazines and sell the G-vox in small guitar stores and through direct mail.
Today, Weiss has expanded his line to include a wide variety of music software and guitar products, and has also teamed up with major corporations such as McGraw Hill to sell a host of school-related products that work with other instruments. G-vox's products not only show students the notes they're playing, but also play the sounds of other instruments so students can experience playing in an ensemble and allow teachers to transcribe their own compositions for students to play.
How did Weiss transform his small initial success into a major company? In my more than 20 years of experience launching new products, I'd estimate only 10 to 15 percent of inventors successfully make this transition. Weiss did it by following three vital steps: He asked for help from knowledgeable people; he created a big bang in the market; and he brought in industry-connected management to grow the company after its initial success.
Don Debelak (email@example.com) is a new-business marketing consultant who has introduced new products for more than 20 years. He is the author of Bringing Your Product to Market (John Wiley & Sons, $19.95, 800-225-5945).