The following information is from an interview with Entrepreneur Arthur Soroken, CEO of MAD Athletic.
Do you know what this strange looking device is? Find our how Arthur Soroken turned this odd-looking device into a successful business.
MAD Athletic has been a mad, mad, mad success! The developer of an innovative training tool for football linemen has shipped over 170 units to 50 teams at all levels of the sport from youth football to college programs to the National Football League, where it is used by Oakland Raiders, the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals. How cool is it that Paul Alexander, head Offensive Line Coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, is even willing to endorse MAD Athletic’s products? All this success was achieved in just one year.
No company succeeds without a CEO with a vision. MAD Athletic’s CEO, Arthur Soroken, first learned of the product through the Cornell University Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization. When he initially considered the product for commercialization, he surveyed 100 coaches on the product concept. The responses were universally positive, giving Arthur his first big “Aha!” moment. MAD Athletic was born.
Arthur knew the blocking tool would be a success early on when, with no marketing effort, Clemson University Tigers, a perennial top-ranked college team, called Arthur to inquire about the product. They bought 10! The Cincinnati Bengals came calling shortly after. Once MAD Athletic began advertising in professional coaching magazines, orders started coming in from all levels of football.
Like every new venture, especially in a very unique industry like sporting goods, there were key lessons to learn. For Arthur, one key insight was learning that, contrary to initial expectations, sales actually declined during the football season. As a training product, the blocking tool is most-commonly ordered during the training and preseason. This in turn led Arthur to a second insight; MAD Athletic would need additional products to round out its portfolio and even out the sales order flow over the year.
Entrepreneur Arthur Soroken’s key lessons from the success of MAD Athletic:
1) To be a successful entrepreneur, you don’t need your own idea, just the ability to recognize a good opportunity when you see one.
2) A successful entrepreneur does not need to be an expert in the field prior to entering, however, once in a specific industry, a successful entrepreneur must learn fast.
To quote Arthur, “Seek constant outside feedback, making sure to really listen to your customer instead of emotionally attaching yourself to an idea.”
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