After conducting our survey it seems as though our primary customer/target market will be owners of public places with restrooms (26.8% of surveyed) and women who are married with or without children (89.5% said of surveyed said they would buy). Also, 94.3% of women found toilet cleanliness to be very or extremely important. Men seem to only have complaints about toilets in public places being dirty (100% have had to clean urine or feces off of a public toilet) and women seem to have complaints of the men/boys leaving the toilet seat up (expage.com) or urinating on the toilet seat.
Majority of the people surveyed who had back problems felt that they didn’t have much problem with lifting toilet seats (men 6.25% and women 10.5%). They more had problems getting up from the toilet or bending down to sit (in which there is already a product for this which is a ‘lifter’ that boosts the person into an upright position). Something like the ‘Mobility Airlift’ (tchomemedical.com), which ‘pushes’ the person up off of the toilet, would be of more use in a nursing home than the ‘Toilet Stepper’. The survey results showed that nursing homes would have had an average feasibility of 21.1%. This information is believed to be somewhat inaccurate due to the fact that many students were influenced by class discussion that nursing homes would be a good place for the ‘Toilet Stepper’. In reality, it would have little or no use because most nursing homes already have a product more suitable for the elderly.
A potential customer would be someone like a mother or wife who is fed up with her husband leaving the toilet seat up and having to put it down every time she needs to go to the washroom. Also, in the night time when it is dark and would hurt her eyes to turn on the light she will end up sitting in the toilet bowl if the seat is left up. In addition if the woman has young boys they will tend to ‘forget’ or not care to lift the seat up and urinate on it. This creates extra work/stress that a wife/mother would have to go through if she doesn’t have the ‘Toilet Stepper’. Another example of a potential customer would be a restaurant owner.
The last thing an owner wants about their restaurant or business is a bad reputation or bad experience by one of their customers. If an individual goes into a restroom and sees urine all over a toilet seat they obviously won’t be very happy, especially if it is an expensive place. This product would virtually eliminate this problem and the worries of the manager, allowing him/her to focus on more important things.
If we were to sell 6.7 million units at $21-25 each our sales forecast would come out to be between $140,700,000 and $167,500,000. If we sold 8.7 million units our sales for the initial year would be between $182,700,000 and $217,500,000. (ToTo today Timely News Letter No. 30) or if we sold our toilet seats in Japan we could have up to an estimated 822.51 million dollars in first year sales. Unfortunately our product is already protected by intellectual property rights. The basic idea of our product is the same as the patented product with some minor differences in design and features. For example, one product was electronic and another used a hydraulic system to raise and lower the toilet seat, also one almost identical to ours flushed the toilet after the foot was taken off the pedal. Since this toilet seat resembled ours the closest we will consider this the patent owner of “our idea”. (Patent # 6,907,621)
Porter’s Five Forces Analysis: The threats of substitutes are important in the home improvement industry because there are many competitors doing business. There are other products similar to our idea of improving your toilet, such as the Nearest. However, their product uses a control panel installed on the wall. It looks somewhat like a home security panel. Our product would be more basic. The seat moves up or down when a pedal is depressed, and flushes automatically. We are trying to reach out to the consumer who does not want to touch the toilet seat, or for women who wish to avoid the feel of cold porcelain because a male forgot to put down the seat.
Getting our product on the market might be hard because there are only a few other companies that deal with toilets and toilet seats, and they are large, established companies. An example of a company that deals with the same idea for the toilet seat is the Nearest, by Toto. The Nearest is ready for competition because no one likes to touch toilet seats in public restrooms. There will be competition, but enough room for a new company in the industry because everyone uses a toilet. The bargaining power of the suppliers would be for us to make the toilet seat that is inexpensive but sturdy. People would not buy a special-feature toilt that breaks easily, but also would not want a toilet seat that is so expensive that it would be cheaper to simply install a whole new toilet. We are focusing on people who want a new feature, but nothing as extravagant as the Nearest toilet by Toto.
To see how attractive the industry might be, you need to know if people are willing to spend money on improving their toilet seats. The industry is attractive because people would spend money on a toilet seat that offers convenience and hygiene. This toilet will make it easier for men to lift the seat and for women to avoid sitting on cold porcelain. The industry is a five because people are willing to make their toilet seats fit their needs. The difficulty with our product is that there are already different patents based on the same idea. One flushes after a person is done with the toilet seat, and the other also lifts the basic toilet seat before it is used.
The life cycle in toilet improvement is growing because of the basic need for the product and the customer’s willingness to enhance its appearance and usefulness. In addition, toilets and toilets seats break, or people want to remodel-often moving up to the most recent innovation. There are three major companies that focus on toilets. A few more companies focus on the toilet seats themselves.
The sales in this industry are growing because there are more and more innovations in toilets. For example, the customer can get a toilet seats with a variety of shapes, textures, and colors-and even seats that are heated. The diversity of products shows that this industry will accept innovations in toilet seats.
We just missed the market because there is already a patented product, so we cannot get into the market with what we are thinking of. There is also a similar, complicated toilet that presents more problems because it requires installing a panel to make the toilet work. People like a product that offers convenience, and this product will. The Nearest is an example of our competition that has the same feature. This toilet has many components, including in-wall installation, but we are offering a toilet that requires minimum installation. This is the time for this product rates about a four because we are not the first company on the market, but our company offers a product that is more basic yet convenient.
The niche we are marketing to is women with families. We want to target the women who are tired of having to put up the seat and want an easy solution. We are going to offer this toilet to contractors who are building new homes, and we will also have a website where individuals can buy our product themselves. The major disadvantage is that a few large companies dominate this industry. They are the power players. The direct competition is a company like Toto that also sells a lift up seat. The indirect competitors are the companies that sell any type of toilet or toilet seat. Future competitors are people who come up with a new idea for a toilet. This is a product that will always be needed and probably will always be improving because people always need toilets.
The management team right now is composed of the people who have the start up idea. We are still in college and are all business majors. Jillian is in Management, Louie is in Business Administration, and Jim is in Marketing. As a team, we have the knowledge to get this job done. The qualifications are: Jim would do the marketing since he has the most education and experience; Louie would be the tech guy because that is what he is passionate about; Jillian would be the people person specializing in interacting with the various publics.
The legal form we need is a founder’s agreement to make sure everyone knows what is going on with each job description. We would need to follow patent laws and file for that. Another legal form would be a nondisclosure agreement between other potential people who might want to invest in our toilet seat. The additional members we will need are a person that is more of a human resource person to make everything run smoothly. The human resource person can give the heads up and keep everyone on track so that nobody strays from the basic fundamentals of the organization. Another person would handle inventory so that we can keep up with a growing business. We also need to keep improving our industry so we can grow as a company and be a real competitor to the industry.