In collaboration with KD Smart Chair. Your products are good. You’ve entered a mature market. You know how to hustle and launch your ideas. You’re nearly there. But the game isn’t won yet. Roland Reznik, co-founder and CEO of Miami-based KD Healthcare, takes us behind the scenes and reveals how he’s shaking up a 4-billion-dollar industry.
Roland Reznik, co-founder and CEO of Miami-based KD Healthcare, set his sights on entrepreneurship at an early age. “Maybe 11-13. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss and not work for someone else,” he said.
Today Reznik is a rising star in the global electric wheelchair industry – manufacturer of KD Smart Chair, an innovative electric wheelchair for people with mobility disabilities.
It was an unusual industry to stumble upon. “I had family members who were in the healthcare business. I saw how bulky, heavy and unattractive the traditional chairs are and I said to myself, ‘I need to improve this and make it better for the people who are using these chairs to make them more practical and mobile/travel friendly.’”
Reznik saw a rare opportunity and quickly capitalized on it. Yet, like any entrepreneur new to a mature market, Reznik had to quickly overcome his own self-doubts. “It was a bit intimidating going in this business knowing I will be competing with these million/billion dollar companies,” he explained. And rightly so.
The global electric wheelchair market is expected to account for $4.48 billion by 2020.
Blazing your own path
Raised by immigrant parents who came to the U.S. from Russia, Reznik’s parents taught him that achieving the American Dream was possible. But you have to work hard, Reznik said his father told him. “Work hard and be the best at whatever you do.”
“Work hard and be the best at whatever you do.”
In 2006, Reznik launched his first business in the automotive sales industry – Xtreme Auto Group, a high-end auto sales business catering to celebrities and high net-worth individuals.
Eight years later, with one successful business under his belt, he tackled a new opportunity. In 2014, Reznik co-founded KD Smart Chair and set his sights on becoming an industry leader in the lightweight folding power wheelchair market.
His father’s involvement in the medical industry gave him an inside look at outdated products that needed a new spin. “He provided these old bulky chairs to his patients. I saw how unattractive they were and knew I have a chance to make an impact in this industry by changing the design and make the standard wheelchair more portable for travel,” he recalled.
His bet on a growing niche market paid off.
Betting on yourself
Reznik attributes his career in sales to KD Smart Chair’s early success. “I was always in sales,” he explained. “I applied my knowledge and sales techniques to go knocking on retail chains doors to get our products in front of their consumers in their retail stores.”
KD Smart Chair quickly debuted as a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. Meanwhile, they have expanded their distribution strategy. Currently the company ships from a U.S.-based warehouse direct to customers. This year, KD Smart Chair will be sold in Walmart, Costco and Sam’s Club during the holiday season. For people who aim to regain their mobility, KD Smart Chair is becoming a well-known household brand.
While short-term prospects are promising, Reznik realizes he has to take the long view in order to meet the needs of an est. 4-billion-dollar industry. To that end, the company intends to scale and work with U.S.-based manufacturers. KD Smart Chair is also in the process of expanding their overseas facility to meet demand. These strategies will help Reznik and his team effectively meet the needs of big box retail chains.
The bootstrapped company has not raised outside capital to-date, but plans to in the future.
Roland Reznik’s success playbook
Reznik attributes a series of smart moves to his success. Here’s an inside look at his playbook:
- What does it take to be successful? To be successful in this industry, you need a quality, innovative product and a proper team to market and provide support. Getting the word out is crucial to any business.
- What business risks have been worth the return? Running expensive advertising campaigns and media buys. The key is to track everything to make sure you are getting a return on your investment. ROI is everything in business. I wanna know that if I spent $1, I will make $2 from my advertising campaign efforts.
- How an entrepreneurs make a name for themselves in an established market? Tap into the social media to promote the brand. Get the brand seen with advertising or sponsored content. For example, we were featured on The Doctors Show by giving away a free chair to wounded Veterans and a victim of the Boston Bombings. To get the word out, we use several forms of advertising channels to promote our products with ads, social media, and content marketing.
- What tip do you have for founders who struggle with pricing their products? Hire a research firm. Analyze the price structure of other competitors and price your products competitively to attract potential buyers to lookup/research your product models for purchasing considerations.
- What is the hardest business lesson you’ve learned? Intellectual property (IP) and patents are critical to any manufacturer who wants to stand out from the competition.
- What key factors underpin KD Smart Chair’s success? We have a strong community of affiliate markets who promote our products and generate commissions based off their sales from their traffic.
When Roland’s not running KD Smart Chair, he is on dad duty raising his daughter, Arianna, and collecting stamps on his passport. “I like to dedicate my time with family. I also like to stay active. I travel a lot and like to visit unknown destinations and places I have not been before,” he explained.
Through lessons learned and successes, Reznik is clear on the hardest lesson he’s learned to date as an entrepreneur, “Don’t give up!”
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