When Arman and I first began planning our “bring to market strategy” for our innovative world's first adjustable catch bolt lock - Ajustlock, we had so many ideas. Finding out which one is going to be reality is the tough part. Just about every entrepreneur is off track on their projections. Usually only the large established corporations have the experience and resources to predict the future path of a product and they are often wrong as well.
This plan has to be realistic enough for investors to consider the risk. Even if your position in year 1 looks nothing like your initial map it doesn't matter as long as you are getting the job done. I remember one investor looking me in the eye and saying “let’s see if you can pull this off”. He knew how hard this task was going to be and still is right now as I write this post.
Our plan was to get on the shelves of the small retailers in year one and deal with the big boys and international markets in year 2 and 3. Well, life changed that plan real quick. We debuted in Vegas in May and every large US and International retailer approached us to work out a deal to get our innovative adjustable slide bolt lock and other barrel bolt lock products onto their shelves. This is a good problem to have but it requires a huge shift. We have been rearranging our plan to meet this demand ever since. Of course, like most start-ups, we need to raise more capital and we are about to begin that process now. Getting our production ramped up for these orders cost money, the deals take longer which requires us to have sustaining cash flow to get us there, and the payment terms are longer which means we won’t see checks for 90-120 days after delivery of shipment. It is a lot more work and faster than expected but it gets us in the whole market, not just a piece of it, faster than anticipated.
We could have raised more money in the first round but we had already spent over a year raising our seed capital and we needed to launch. We knew that we could always raise more money after/if we received a positive response from the market, and we did receive that response. Many of our investors told us we were going to need more capital than our initial raise, and we agreed, but we did think there was a chance we could grow organically if we hit the small stores first. Well, our investors we right.
If you have ever seen an episode of Shark tank, which I am sure you have, the Sharks often say that they know that a project is going to need more than the initial capital the Entrepreneur is asking for. There are many tolls on the way to success. It is often a good practice when writing a business plan and financial projections to mock-up a worst case scenario where you will need more cash to get to your goal. Arman and I wrote out many versions or probable futures. Be honest and transparent with your investors and you will succeed no matter what happens. Let them know how you are doing whether good or bad. No one likes bad news but it is better than sugar coated s—t.
We have to be flexible and adapt to what the world is asking. We can’t stick to the script all the time, like in a movie. We have to improvise on the spot. It is an exciting adventure of spontaneity. It is nerve racking but has a start-up ever been relaxing and calming? Keep your energy high and enjoy every moment of the journey. If you had the courage to sail that ship into the unknown than I believe you have the persistence to see your project through to the end. Dig deep down inside your SELF. You have a rich mine of inner resources that will help you accomplish anything you focus your whole Heart on.
An important part of new product and company launches is telling a story. There are many ways to do so, which is the job of the marketing group to figure out which ways can be most effective. Ajustco's marketing agency of record, Blueliner, is overseeing an integrated marketing campaign, that includes multiple types of video production, digital marketing and creative merchandising strategies, such as the creation of interactive quarter pallet displays and power wing, sidekick displays for hardware stores.
This clever 90 second animation shows one of the most frequent and frustrating problems faced by homeowners, apartment tenants, contractors and anyone who has ever used a public bathroom stall - door lock shift and misalignment, which prevents doors, gates and stalls from being locked properly. AjustLock, the new adjustable barrel bolt lock, by Ajustco, is heralded as the "hero" which saves the day. "It's Just Better" tagline says it all.
Kudos to Director, Danny Klein, Brand Strategist @ Blueliner, as well as Animator, Moran Barir, for their creative work!
Ajustco is excited to exhibit at the Orgill Fall Dealer Market in Boston (MA), between 22nd and 24th of August this year.
Orgill is the world’s largest independently owned hardlines distributor providing retailers across the United States and in more than 60 countries throughout the world access to over 75,000 products and industry-leading retail services. "We are thrilled to showcase our Adjustable Slide Bolt and Barrel Bolt Locks Collection not only because it is a high-end environment with a great tradition of over 150 years, but also because it is the next step in consolidating our brand and making more dreams come true" says Jason Stile, Founder and CEO of Ajustco.
The Ajustco Team is looking forward to meeting you all at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center Thursday and Friday (22nd and 23rd of August) from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturday (24th of August) from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM.
July 12, 2013 - Today, Team Ajustco filmed its first commercial for its flagship product, AjustLock, which is the world's first adjustable catch bolt lock. The spot was Produced by Blueliner Marketing, with Blueliner CEO Arman Rousta as Executive Producer and and Danny Klein as Director. The series of videos features Ajustco's Co-Founder and CEO, Jason Stile, providing How To guidance on product installation.
Kudos to Matt Garland (Director of Photography - DP) and Castle Gosselin (Production Assistant) who executed the vision beautifully. The production crew met at Anar Studios, a hi-tech production space in Jersey City to shoot the video. It was a fantastic day, from which a significant amount of quality footage was gathered - which now moves on with Danny Klein to Blueliner's post-production division in Los Angeles.
Various snapshots from the shoot are shown below.
More updates, and some sneak peeks into the video clips, coming soon!
Ajustco's CEO and Co-Founder, Jason Stile, always loved the Shark Tank, ABC's popular show where inventors pitch their products to some of the top Venture Capitalists and Entrepreneurs in the world, including Mark Cuban and Daymond John. Today, he may get his long-awaited shot at one of the Sharks - Kevin Harrington - who will be among several high-profile investors and buyers attending the INPEX show in Pittsburgh, PA, looking for the next big thing. "I would love the chance to present AjustLock Barrel Bolt Lock to the Sharks. We just raised sufficient capital and already have big time backers; but that said, I would never turn down the chance to face the Sharks."
Will AjustLock be identified in its category - Hardware & Tools - as a hot item? If the recent National Hardware Show in Vegas was any indication, we certainly believe it will be.
"These are the moments that we most look forward to" notes Ajustco Co-Founder, Arman Rousta, whose marketing leadership has the company attending numerous trade shows throughout the year. "Shows give us a chance to get our highly visual, tactile products in front of potential customers. I believe that we will make a great impression at INPEX - our first time here - and hopefully meet Kevin and other high-profile buyers."
Ajustco is up for an award as Best New Hardware Product - we will keep everyone posted on results. Ajustco's Booth # is 421 for anyone in the Pittsburgh area who would like to attend the show. Day 3 (June 21) is open to the public.
Las Vegas, NV (5/7/13) - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ajustco Founder Dreams Up the AjustLock Barrel Bolt
Who says dreams can't come true?
Four years ago, electrician - Jason Stile - encountered a highly frustrating situation, while doing some volunteer construction work, and dream of a solution to the problem, which he subsequently named AjustLock. "Ajust" without the "d" because the product and company represent a philosophy that Jason shares with his Co-Founder, friend and serial Entrepreneur, Arman Rousta - one of being noble in life and always standing up for just causes. Based on that principle, they named their new company Ajustco, which is short for "A Just Company", that makes just products by making simple adjustments to existing products that make them well...just better.
The Patent Pending AjustLock solves the common problem whereby doors, gates and stalls get misaligned due to loosing of the hinges, and the barrel bolt lock no longer secures the door properly. The typical solution to this age-old problem would be to shift one or both parts of the lock back into alignment, which requires unscrewing them, drilling new holes and then patching and painting the old holes. Stile wanted to come up with a better solution to this dilemma, and his dreams provided the answer. Today, with the formal market introduction of AjustLock, at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas, the management duo, supported by an array of angel investors and incubation by Blueliner Marketing, is bringing Stile's dream to life.
"I knew from the start that my dream had to become a reality" said Stile, "no matter what it took. That is why I approached the most successful people that I know for advice, partnership and investment. I am learning from them, and together, we are going to make a lot more dreams come true."
AjustLock threatens to unseat a cadre of current household names that sell what Stile calls "now outdated" barrel bolt locks, in what is a billion dollar slice of the enormous global hardware security market. "There is no reason to use the old lock anymore" adds Rousta, "as Jason's invention renders is obsolete. It is like when they added wheels to the suitcase - you just don't see the old product in use much after a while. Within five years, we believe that AjustLock will be the de facto barrel bolt lock."
Ajustco benefits from having Rousta on board, due to his previous successes in building and launching products from scratch, and then taking them through successful exits. He now runs Blueliner, which invested infrastructure, marketing and digital technology resources into Ajustco that have helped the startup company off the ground. "I believe that Jason has all the qualities of a first-class entrepreneur" notes Rousta, "determination, high and positive energy, incredible social skills, problem solving ability and strong personal ethics."
The company is expecting its first large production order of AjustLock units, in two sizes (4 inch barrel bolt and 6 inch barrel bolt) and two colors (Zinc Plated and Brass Plated) within 45 days. The product is being manufactured in China, and warehoused in Pennsylvania, where quality assurance and fulfillment partner, ISI (also an investor in Ajustco) plans to ensure a successful distribution process. The initial sales targets will be the 20,000+ local hardware stores across the United States, and distributors who service them. Ajustco is in the process of interviewing Manufacturer's Reps who can help to accelerate the process of getting AjustLock in stores. Interested parties can learn more about the product, company and opportunities at www.ajustco.com
Anyone attending the National Hardware Show can visit Ajustco at Booth #8047.
About Ajustco, LLC
Ajustco is the inventor and manufacturer of AjustLock, a patent-pending barrel bolt product. Based in New York City, Ajustco is run by Co-Founder and CEO, Jason Stile, and incubated by established marketing agency, Blueliner Marketing. Blueliner's CEO, Arman Rousta, is a Co-Founder in the company as well. Ajustco is a product development company that solves common problems with simple, practical solutions.
About Blueliner Marketing, LLC
Blueliner is a top-notch, full service marketing agency, with a specialization in digital marketing and product development. Blueliner Labs is the incubator division of the company, which has invested in Ajustco, as well as other startup ventures. The New York based company has an international presence, with offices in Asia, Europe and Latin America. Blueliner is the pioneer of the 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing, a methodology for planning, implementing and analyzing digital marketing campaigns.