Getting Help from Your Customers

How would you like to have a team of Ph.D’s and Doctors with decades of experience consulting you on how to create the perfect product? What if you didn’t need to pay them? What if instead of paying them, they pay you for your products and recommend them to others? Does this sound too good to be true? It isn’t if you know how to tap into your customers’ knowledge. [Read more…]

Consider Manufacturing

Inventor Story: Art Fry

Art Fry, a 3M employee, was singing in his church choir when he came up with his world famous invention: the Post-It Note.  Under Fry’s direction, 3M developed and manufactured Post-It Notes.  We have not yet discussed an invention that was developed by or in a corporation, but I think Fry’s story is a good one for all inventors to learn from. [Read more…]

Tapping into Consumer Concern

Inventor Story: Christine Ingemi

Christine Ingemi is a mom of four who got tired of hearing her kids blast their mp3 players.  But what could she do?  Telling them to turn it down maybe worked when she was around, but as soon as she was out of sight, what would stop them from turning it up again?  Something had to be done. [Read more…]

How to Get a Boost in Sales without Advertising

Inventor Story: Maureen Kelly

Maureen Kelly was tired of buying cosmetics from the cosmetics counter.  She liked how she looked at the store with the help of the make-up artist, but when she got home, she could never recreate the same look.  She realized that the cosmetics industry was creating products for the experts that normal people like her didn’t know how to use.  In 1999, she decided to solve this problem and create cosmetics that the everyday woman could use and look great. [Read more…]

Is Your Product Unique Enough?

Inventor Story: David Reckseen

David Reckseen’s dogs love chewing on the garden hose, but a standard garden hose is quickly punctured causing a significant amount of water to leak out long before it reaches its destination.  Reckseen thought he could just buy an industrial hose and be done with it, but when he asked at Home Depot, he found out that they had nothing of the sort.  The clerk told him that actually his was a common request, but they didn’t know of an industrial strength hose for the consumer market.  Reckseen searched the market and found out that Home Depot was right — there just wasn’t a product like that available. [Read more…]

Catalog Success

Entrepreneurs Jim Moritz, 32, and Greg Nieberding, 44, developed the Baby B’Air, a safety vest for babies to wear on airplanes.  After examining many different sales channels, they decided to introduce their product through catalogs. According to Nieberding, “The main advantage of catalogs was we didn’t need retail packaging.”  Also, the baby market, like nearly every other niche market, has many successful catalogs with wide distribution and high sales.  If you have ever been shopping with a baby, you can understand the appeal of baby product catalogs, but also due to the limited space in retail stores and the non-concentrated population of babies, catalogs are one of the few realistic ways of giving consumers the products they need.  This is true with nearly all niche groups, for instance, there might be 3 million silent film enthusiasts in the U.S., but they would be dispersed through out the country.  A catalog might be one of the only ways to reach an audience interested in silent film products. [Read more…]