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Some inventors move way to fast to market, overlooking key items that could help them succeed, or help them from wasting a lot of money. Other inventors move too slowly, paralyzed from too much analysis and fail to move on their idea when it has a chance to succeed.
The question is how do inventors find the right balance between too fast and too slow.
Too Fast – Cautionary Steps to Take to Avoid Major Errors.
- Understand what your projected price will be. Get price quotes on your idea and then multiply that price by four. That is your projected retail price. People at SCORE, which is a society of retired executives, www.score.org, who offer free consulting. Most offices have retired manufacturing people that can help you estimate a final manufacturing cost. Make sure you have a manufacturer that will make your product.
- Understand your competition. What products address the same need as yours and what are their retail prices? Don’t rely on your shopping experience to do this. Most trade magazines, which are magazines that cater to retailers, such as Kitchenware News and Housewares Review, have product directories that list most if all products available to retailers. Do a Google search for trade magazines in your product category and then inquire about the magazines product directory.
- Understand what percentages of users feel that the issue you are addressing is important. Often an issue that is key to an inventor isn’t really that important to others. If the issue is only important to a small group of potential users your product probably won’t succeed.
- Understand your start-up costs and your funding plan to meet them. SORE Consultants can help you understand start-up costs like molds, product literature and trade show expenses. You might also have shipping costs, upfront payments for raw material, or for finished product if you have outside manufacturing. You need a funding plan if these costs will be substantial.
- Decide on a distribution channel to use. Try to meet at least one or two people in that channel to be sure that the channel will be open to you. You may need to explore two or three channels to find one that will be open too you.
Too Slow – Knowing when to Move Ahead.
- Understand that you will never have all green lights for moving ahead. Most ideas succeed with only 15 to 25% of the lights being green.
- Don’t worry if many potential customers don’t express a strong preference for your product. I don’t know of any product that everyone is behind. All you need is about 20% of potential customers to really like your product.
- Learn to trust others. You can’t possibly know everything about making an invention, and some details like having your product made overseas call expertise that few inventors have. Once you have a potential vendor, check out their references, before moving ahead. But once you select someone trust that know their doing and take their advice. Trying to do every detail will paralyze you into action.
- Accept that for most contacts you will be a very small customer, and one that may never produce any business. Don’t expect potential vendors to go all out for you until you are ready to spend money. It is up to you to prove yourself to the vendor. You may prefer it the other way around, but the reality of the situation is that you are the unknown quantity. Be happy if the potential vendor treats you professionally.
- Don’t worry about having enough money for a big product launch. All you need is initial product success that shows the product can sell, then you will be in a better position to raise money from your industry contacts, vendors and family and friends