What are biggest barriers that prevent inventors with great products from achieving success?
Interestingly, the biggest barriers to inventor success are not what immediately comes to mind for most people: money, competition, or lack of connections.
Why? While those are big challenges, creative financing, a great product, and hard work and persistence can win the day.
Watch Out for Bear Traps
Below are 3 big traps that inventors fall prey to:
- Ready, fire, aim – lack of research and due diligence
- Hubris – this invention will sell millions
- Invention marketing scams
Ready, Fire, Aim!
Invention ideas come to us in a flash of inspiration, often in the strangest circumstances. My idea for a thin, flexible wallet design came to me in the shower one morning in 2002.
Unfortunately the instantaneous delivery of ideas may cause us to feel compelled to act upon them immediately with little or no further investigation. Bad idea!
When your next flash of brilliance occurs, take a few minutes. Draw up your idea as best you can on paper. Describe it to the best of your ability in your own inventor’s notebook. Then put it away for at least a couple of days to clear your mind.
Then, take our your notebook. Open it to a new page and begin research to see if it is already in the market somewhere. In a previous blog, I described specific steps you can take to see if your product really is new and unique. I cannot tell you how many times an inventor breathlessness describes his new invention when a 5 minute search of Google, Alibaba, and USPTO.gov shows it is not new at all.
Investing a small amount of time and effort into such research and due diligence can prevent spending thousands of dollars chasing a truly impossible dream! This may be the best investment you make.
Inventors must be passionate about their product and what benefits it can provide or they will never succeed. The dark side of being passionate about a product or business is that you often turn a blind eye to any and all criticism of the product.
Hubris will kill your business quicker than anything.
If you don’t believe me, try the following with your next group presentation to a room full of potential licensees for your product.
You: “My new product will outsell all competitors in the marketplace and make all of us millions!”
Your Audience: Dead Silence
No one can predict whether any promising new invention will fly or flounder, that is why over 90% of new product launches fail.
Let’s face it, everyone hates criticism. Such a downer.
But constructive criticism is something of great value you may get absolutely free of charge. Criticism from knowledgeable parties will help you to reshape or redirect the path of your product; and, in the process, direct you onto a new pathway to success. It worked for me.
Shockingly, modesty is a great business skill.
Always let the light of admiration shine on others, not you. You must learn to welcome criticism or you will never receive it nor the valuable insights that may come from it. Hubris will kill you, modest may save the day.
Invention Marketing Scams
I have written quite a number of blogs on how to recognize and avoid invention marketing scams. Three of my earlier blogs on this topic are below:
- No No’s for New Inventors
- Invention Marketing Companies
- A Template for Screening Invention Marketing Companies
Having written quite a lot about invention marketing companies, I’ll keep my comments succinct in this post. It is very challenging licensing any product, even a great product. Therefore, the legitimate companies who assist inventors in licensing their products (Lambert & Lambert is one) do not advertise much at all. Why? They have so much business, so many inventors are contacting them, they don’t ever need to advertise.
The invention marketing scams, on the other hand, have big advertising budgets. They advertise on radio, TV, the internet, everywhere. How can they afford such expensive advertising? They promise fame and fortune but deliver value-less, low cost, generic materials, yielding huge profit margins for them from gullible inventors.
To quickly smoke out such charlatans, you merely need to ask them 3 questions:
- Who are the key competitors to my invention in the marketplace?
- Can you provide me a list of 3 – 5 inventors I can contact whom you helped succeed?
- If you worked with me and my invention, what would be your first 3 steps in moving forward?
For 1 and 3 above, your answer will be only silence. To question 2, they have no success to point to so they will give you a vague and ridiculous answer like: ‘that is proprietary information’.
If you don’t believe me. Try it out. It is really fun and will quickly get them off the phone!