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Last Update: Saturday September 18, 2021

Key Idea: Make a Product to Make a Difference

This is a Baby Think It Over doll made to teach young people to think hard before they decide to bring a baby into the world. 

Key Question:


Mary Jurmain demonstrates the fact that small business owners are problem solvers with a purpose. BTIO Educational (Baby Think It Over), now known as Reality Works, Inc., began because two people, a husband-wife team, said, "We could do that better." They were watching TV. And like so many of us who said, "Hey, I could've done that" (but don't), they did. They made a baby simulator!?! What madness. What sheer audacity. And look at Mary. Pure Wisconsin. Squeaky clean. Their's is a story that could charm a stone.

Q: Why should your product or service make a difference in the lives of your customers?

Because it is the only way to grow a business. A "me-too" product will suffer from price pressure and a "ho-hum" product will die because customers are fickle. If you don't care about making a difference in the lives of customers, it will be hard for you to recruit and retain talent.

Think about it

How do you know that your product or service is making a difference?

Clip from: The Winners - SBA Awards

Every State & Territory of the USA: Each year the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) recognizes one owner from each state and each territory for their creativity and tenacity and for creating jobs. The SBA is the only agency in the federal government chartered to help turn dreams into realities. And it could be argued, this agency is closest to the intent and the results of the American revolution, that is, to make it possible for businesses to grow.

Since 1963 the President of the United States has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of Small Business Week.

In this episode of the show you meet the Small Business Person of the Year from Hawaii, California, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. You'll also hear from winners from Maryland and Montana. You'll also see  winners from Delaware, Guam, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Montana, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Washington.

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BTIO Educational Products

Mary Jurmain, Chairman

2709 Mondovi Road
Eau Claire, WI, WI 54701

Visit our web site:

Office: 715.830.2040
Toll Free: 800.830.1416

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Year Founded:

Make a Product to Make a Difference

HECTOR BARRETO: And, congratulations, Mary.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) First runner-up is Mary Jurmain from Wisconsin, founder of BTIO Educational Products.

MARY JURMAIN (BTIO Educational Products): (Voiceover) The whole purpose of the company and the product is to help teenagers make informed decisions about things that will impact them for their entire lives.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Mary Jurmain demonstrates her invention, the infant simulator that has already been used to teach over one million teens about the responsibility of parenting in an effort to help reduce the alarming rate of teen-age pregnancy.

MARY: I'm going to put the baby in something called `presentation mode,' which is what I use when I just kind of want to run her through her paces and show people what she can do. This is not the way the kids would be interacting with the baby. It would be much slower, you know. The baby might be quiet for two or three hours at a time. But since we're doing this, you know, to show people, this will be a much more speeded-up version.

OK. I'm going to take this little remote-control unit and find presentation, press it. Now I have to touch this to the back of the baby. So I'm going to touch it to the baby, you'll hear a beeping noise to indicate that she's activated. And she's hungry. So now she's feeding. Now if I want to--she'll just make that little sucking noise periodically just so you know that she's doing what she's supposed to do. I'm going to move her onto the next activity, and she's going to cry for a minute because I'm taking her bottle away. But what this will do is end the activity with a little coo. Now she'll be quiet until I want to move her onto the next activity. And in order to do that, I'm just going to do this again. And she's going to want to be burped, so the student would be doing this, and as long as I'm burping, she'll be quiet. If I stop, she starts to fuss again. And when we're done with that--listen carefully. So that's her burp.

I've heard it said that people make decisions on an emotional level, and then they fill in with logic. So I think we get them at a gut level. They really, really understand the down--the challenge and the frustration of being a parent, and generally they say, `You know, now that I've been through this, I understand what my parents went through and I know I'm not ready. It's too soon.'

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