How to give your business idea the best possible chance of becoming a popular and profitable product.
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Sadly, only one invention in five thousand make back the money the inventor paid out in patent fees to protect their idea in the first place.
Believe me, I have been inventing for almost 20 years and haven’t met one person yet who didn't believe that they had the next best thing that could, if only they got the right break, solve a major every day problem of one sort or another and make them at least a millionaire.
It's a fact that the invention itself equates to only 10% of what is needed to get it sold, the other 90% is down to other more important factors, like implementing marketing and sales techniques to get it in front of the right people. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of inventors focus on the easy 10%, and its little wonder that those odds of success are so staggeringly poor.
So, for the inventors out there hoping to monetise from their creative endeavour, now is the time to significantly stack the odds of success in your favour, firstly though you must shift your mindset from delusional to real!
The delusional mindset is common, most of the inventor fraternity inherit the methodology that comes with the territory, those voices in our heads that tell us, as they have told tens of thousands of inventors before us that, "we are only the ideas people and not marketers."
The delusional characteristics take us over, we can wear casual clothes (because James Dyson does) or tinker for months on an idea that is far too big for us and just kid ourselves the solution we strive for will appear any minute now - unfortunately that minute rarely shows up.
Actually, what is more likely to show up is another invoice from the patent Agent indicating that our first 12 months patent protection is due to elapse, and that we need to pay another £3,000 plus to secure our international patents.
Panic sets in as we suddenly realise we've not even developed a decent proto-type, let alone an idea of what it is worth and to which sector of the market it belongs to.
If you’re an inventor you need to beat the patent clock
Before I go through my 3 simple steps to monetise your invention, you must start to "shed your inventor skin" and swap it for a business style dress code and attitude to match.
The more business minded you become the more value you add to your idea, and the better chance you have of securing your first customers, or that elusive investor, it's as simple as that.
When I made this shift in mindset I finally realised that there was no better person to evolve my idea into a saleable product than me, and it resulted in me beating the patent clock as I profited from getting sales that paid my patent fees within a 12-month cycle. Here's those 3 steps...
Tame the beast you have created and take away the" bells and whistles" that complicate matters and take up your precious time. You may only need to settle on a first phase version of your solution that is unique enough to compete in the market, one key feature that works well might be better than adding 4 more that function less than adequately.
And don't forget, your customers feedback will help you create the upgraded Deluxe version when the time is right. Polish the rough edges and buff up your product, and match this with the way you present yourself too- you and your invention are starting to form a formidable partnership!
The baby you are nurturing and beginning to love even more needs its own identity. One day it will probably need to survive without you being there, so as well as giving it a name, give it a character and define its worth (features & benefits.)
Inventors often fall into a trap of thinking that potential customers or investors can somehow work out exactly what their star performer does - get those thoughts out onto a product sheet and produce a "simple to understand" instructional leaflet, including set up steps with images.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, what would they need to know in order to understand the unique qualities of your creation?
Just like a precious picture needs a frame, your product needs the same! - so frame your work of art with the best packaging you can muster (put time into being inventive with the presentation). I am a great believer in the Ronseal's advertising slogan for their paint "It does what it says on the tin."
Going to the effort of refining every aspect of your product, within the minimum time frame of 3 months into your patent pending status will add perceived value and increase the chances of you using the remaining 9 months to make sales. The more sales you acquire the more confidence you gain to charge the premium rates you deserve.
The unfinished tired looking Tri-Creaser I started out with sold for £359, and the more evolved and polished version I tamed, named and framed sold for £1,050, and the manufacturing costs were comparable. Ditch the casual wear for a decent business look, sharpen your image to match your product, and your confidence will soar.
Now pitch it
Those three steps will bring together everything you need to gain the renewed energy and self-belief that is so crucial to you pitching your product. Love the way you tamed and polished your product, be proud of the name you gave it and rehearse the benefits you placed on the brochure.
Sit your framed product on the front seat of your car if you can, and if you are anything like me you will practice your pitch whilst on the way to your first few customers.