The next several blog posts will be upon “checklist” items for inventors:
Today’s topic: Inventors Checklist: Get Real
In the last post, Inventors Checklist: Due Diligence, I discussed the importance of doing solid due diligence in two arenas:
- Patent research
- Selecting a marketing channel
I have addressed these two arenas in several previous blogs because I think they are very important.
So, now, I want inventors out there to Get Real. What do I mean about getting real? Here again, I have two key areas of concern around getting real:
- Quit “chasing butterflies” – avoid grandiose projects, focus on smaller realistic projects
- Investors? – You can’t be serious!
Quit Chasing Butterflies
Much has been written about creative destruction – the buzzword du jour of our time – as a key element of entrepreneurship. But, unfortunately, inventors suffer from a sort of creative destruction of our own. Grandiose projects requiring huge capital outlays and many years of development are entrancing to inventors – just as bright lights are to insects at night. In both cases, the subjects get zapped in the end.
Unless you are Elon Musk with access to $500 million of disposable capital, I strongly suggest you avoid grandiose projects and focus your efforts upon simple, low cost items that offer clear benefits and improvements. Simple, low cost products can be prototyped and developed with your own capital, within a reasonable budget. Interestingly, consumers easily understand such products and are more likely to buy them.
Investors? – You can’t be serious!
Inventing is one of the riskiest businesses on planet earth; less than 5% of all patent holders profit from their inventions. Inventors seem to understand that bankers rarely wish to fund risky business ventures. Why would a banker chase high-risk ventures when there are so many moderate risk business businesses at their fingertips?
But, the inventors think of investors as financial Sugar Daddies ready to plunk down funding for even the riskiest inventions. Investors may be willing to take on higher risk projects than most bankers, but they take calculated risks. Investors prefer proven products with established sales, not products still in development with little or no sales. Unfortunately, the latter describes most inventive products.
In summary, you should quit chasing butterflies (big, grandiose projects) and looking for Sugar Daddy investors. Instead focus your efforts on smaller projects you can bootstrap yourself and you will greatly improve your chances for success.