MB024: What it takes to Design, Manufacture and Distribute a Product with Matt Butler

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In this episode we talk about using an idea book, developing a lawn game, and building your company foundations with Matt Butler.

Episode 24

The Pre-Brief: Our guest today is Matt Butler. Matt is an Active Duty Air Force Officer and Inventor. He has created a tailgate style game called Rollors, which combines the concepts of Bocce Ball and horseshoes. Rollors has been featured on the Today show and named one of “The Best New Spring Gear of 2014” items in Men’s Journal.


  • Matt’s Connection to the Military Community: Matt always had a desire to serve the military. When he entered into college, he had an opportunity to go into Air Force ROTC and that was where he started his military career.
  • Business idea: During a deployment, Matt came up with the concept and entered that idea into his inventor’s notebook. The concept of the game was to have players roll discs to goal posts in order to score points. Matt kept tweaking the concept until he got back from deployment.
  • First Steps: Matt prototyped the first version of the game. He hand-made the first pieces in his garage and affixed stickers. After developing the first prototype and play tested it, Matt decided to do what he calls foundation building. Foundation building consists of protecting the idea through using a Utility Patent. A Utility Patent protects an idea for 20 years from anyone else copying that same concept. The next part of building his foundation was to register the trademark Rollors. A trademark protects your brand, so no one can use the name Rollors or the Rollors logo. After protecting his concept and brand, Matt determined which legal entity he would use to run the Rollors Company. Lastly, Matt did all the work he did in partnership with his wife. Entrepreneurship is going to take up a lot of time, so Matt really emphasized he need to work with his family to make the company successful.
  • rollors-outdoor-game-inventor

Resources for the show:

  • Small Business Admiration (SBA): The SBA’s website should be your first stop. It’s full of information and resources for veterans, and acts as a clearinghouse for other agencies’ veteran business programs. The SBA page for the Office of Veterans Business Development includes links to programs throughout various government departments. In addition, the SBA oversees federal procurement and loan programs for veteran-owned small businesses, including Patriot Express and the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The Small Business Development Center also offers outreach to veterans. http://www.sba.gov/
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: This site helps small businesses become certified as veteran-owned or service-disabled veteran-owned. Once certified, the businesses may be eligible for procurement programs and can be found by contracting officers for the Veteran’s Administration. http://www.va.gov/
  • Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE): SCORE has specialized programs for veterans to learn how to access information and financial and contracting opportunities. https://www.score.org/

Vetrepreneur Facts:

  • Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely to take the plunge into entrepreneurship than people with no active-duty military experience, according to a May 2011 study from the SBA Office of Advocacy.
  • In 2007 (the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau), veterans owned 2.4 million businesses, or 9 percent of all businesses nationwide, generating $1.2 trillion in receipts and employing nearly 5.8 million people. Government agencies, colleges and universities, and even the private sector, have recognized this phenomenon and responded with support, training and business opportunities for veteran entrepreneurs.
  • An estimated 20,000 are leaving military service every month

How to reach Matt.

Checkout more information about Matt:


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