This month, all of my blogs are going back to basics to answer a question:
What are the first steps you should take with a new invention idea to move forward in the best way?
Please click here to read last week's blog New Invention, What Should be Your First Step? if you haven't already. Today's blog is about your second step forward – it will pick up where last week's blog left off.
My Invention Idea is ‘Healthy' – It Makes Sense – What is Next?
I mentioned that in many ways, launching a new invention is a bit like buying an expensive racehorse – you may easily spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars over a period of years. You want to make sure in the beginning that you move forward in ways that give you the best chances for success, to actually make money from your invention.
So, what is your second step? You must be able to answer to the below simple question:
How does my invention stack up against competitors in the marketplace?
Trust me, if you breeze through this second step, or worse, skip it entirely – it will be to your detriment! Before you invest a lot of blood, sweat and tears (sorry I love clichés) and money into your invention, you really must know how you stack up against the competition.
How can you find competitors? It is very easy, really. Perhaps you are developing a new, improved duster/cleaner for ceiling fans, take the below three steps to assess your competition:
- Do a Google search on “ceiling fan cleaner”
- Go to Amazon.com and search on “ceiling fan cleaner”
- Go to Alibaba.com and search on “ceiling fan cleaner”
Wow! Who knew there were so many ceiling fan cleaners out there?
This exercise is going to take time to research properly but it truly will be valuable use of your time. Take a look at each of the different fan cleaners. Some you will quickly eliminate as they are nothing like yours (maybe one is a spray can). Others will require more time and further analysis.
Amazon is especially helpful, because you can look at comments from buyers, those that gave it 1 star and 2 star ratings (what didn't they like about the product?). What are the comparative retail selling prices? How does your invention compare? What types of materials are being used? Are some flimsy and others strong? Do they have comparable features to your product or does your product have features theirs lacks?
Create a comparison grid of yours versus theirs of features and benefits. Here is where the ‘rubber meets the road' (another cliché, sorry). After detailed research and analysis, does your product clearly provide features and benefits that competitors lack? If so, you have a USP – a unique selling proposition that can be used to differentiate your invention from other products. That is great news!
What if, after all is said and done, your product really is not that different than others already on the market?
That is also great news of a different type. It means your invention idea is really not viable; therefore, you will not spend thousands of dollars attempting to market another “me too” product. So many inventors only discover this after wasting years and thousands on their invention idea.
Better to spend nothing and find out early than to spend thousands and find out late!