10 Truths for Inventors
By Bob Cannon
My experience as an inventor combined with my work as a coach for inventors has resulted in the following 10 truths that every inventor needs to know.
1. New product ideas are a dime a dozen (An invention’s value is directly related to how close the product is to commercial success).
2. More inventors waste more money thinking that other people are going to take their product to market for them. (Moving an idea to commercial success is a long, time consuming, expensive process and you are the best person to do it. You have more knowledge, more passion and more at stake.)
3. Friends’ and relatives’ opinions don’t count! (Your product has no market value until you actually sell a product and collect money for it.)
4. Very few ideas sell themselves. (Inventing is easy, the hard part is to make it easy for every one in your channel of distribution to say yes and buy your product.)
5. You never have enough prototypes. (Never produce one of anything.)
6. Do not commit to large production runs until you have proven the commercial viability of your product. (Unsaleable inventory is expensive and a constant reminder of a mistake.)
7. Do not commit to production tooling until you have market tested enough working prototypes to feel comfortable that you will not have to make any more changes to the product. (The first or second designs are usually never the same as the finished product. Iterations of a product are necessary to finalize a saleable product.)
8. Don’t trust anyone to evaluate your product. See rule #3. (I once turned down a product that became a huge success when $6 per unit was spent on advertising a product that sold for $18. Remember the “Pet Rock” if you are old enough.)
9. Beware of people who want to produce an infomercial for you. (There are too many tales of inventors who lost $10,000, $20,000 or more with no results other than a promotional video.)
10. In most cases, you are going to need help moving your product to commercial success. (Look for resources that have multiple attributes. If you need financial support, try to find financing where you might also gain manufacturing or marketing know how. If you need marketing help, try to find actual experience in marketing new products or your particular market. Then start with small steps until you develop a confidence level that you are getting value for your expenditure of time and money.)
Bob Cannon is a coach for inventors. Check out other interesting articles available in the Taking Aim newsletter available at www.cannonadvantage.com/.