Graham Henshaw has been a runner most of his life. But the founder and CEO of Adhesion LLC had the idea for his newest product—PaceTat ™-- while he has watching a race.
Henshaw explains, “As a runner, I was frustrated with the paper pace bracelets that were distributed to runners to help pace themselves during a race. Then, last year, I was a spectator at a race and I realized that everybody struggled with the old product and decided to design something better.”
The result was PaceTat, a 1.5” x 6.5” durable transfer that adheres directly to a runner’s arm and clearly displays pacing goals. PaceTat has another major advantage as far as race organizers are concerned: PaceTat provides advertisers with a new way to reach an attractive, upscale audience. With the advertising, race organizers are often able to offer PaceTat to runners for free (versus the usual runner-direct price of $2.50.)
With product development complete, Henshaw decided to go to SCORE, a national not-forprofit association of successful business executives. From offices located all over the Chicago area, these multi-discipline business professionals provide free one-on-one counseling, teach low-cost business workshops and supply other resources to entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Mitchell Morris became Henshaw’s lead counselor, and together they went to work analyzing his business and opportunities. They dug into the financials to look at sales trends, product pricing and profitability. They discussed existing and potential target markets and ways to reach them. Morris reviewed drafts of his business plan. Since much of Henshaw’s business was over the internet, Morris also brought in counselor Peg Corwin to analyze and make suggestions to improve his website and Google Adwords ads.
“I am a mechanical engineer by training with a background in new product development. One aspect of engineering is knowing where to find the right information and I knew that I would need to seek sound business advice as I moved forward. SCORE is the place where I can go to find the answers to many of the questions that I’ve come across in starting and running this business.”
After more than 10 sessions over a five-month period with Morris and Corwin at SCORE’s downtown Chicago office, the business is now growing steadily. As Henshaw describes it, “We started working with the business plan and then refined the marketing plan. But most of all Peg and Mitch helped me by getting me to focus and decide the business model I am going to use.”
Within 2 months PaceTat was the star of the Frederick (MD) Marathon Expo. Hundreds of people purchased the product at the expo and gave it rave reviews in surveys completed after the race. Then the Chicago Marathon and New Balance Shoes bought more than 10,000 PaceTats for distribution at the Chicago Marathon Expo. Since that success, many other races and sponsors have expressed interest in PaceTat, both as a runner’s tool and advertising medium.
Adhesion LLC is now launching its second product, Life Drive ™, a tiny USB drive that clips to an athlete’s clothing and contains emergency contact and relevant medical information. The information can be accessed by EMT’s or doctors in the case of an accident. With continuing support from SCORE, Graham hopes to develop and market more innovative products for athletes in the future.
Should you take up racing and need to keep a pace, you can purchase pacetat at pacetat.com. Should you need help developing and marketing your product, set up an appointment with a SCORE counselor at www.chicago.score.org.
Morris attributes Henshaw’s success to an original idea and hard work : “Graham has been successful because of the uniqueness of PaceTat and because he has the drive necessary to constantly make contacts and sales presentations.”