Yeah, we get it, you have an idea – but is it a good one? In an era of people lining up for “cattle calls,” queues are stretched around the corner and full of inventors hoping to get a shot at pitching their ideas for an infomercial or hitting the “big time” on a major network TV show. Creative juices are flowing with invention – now more than ever – in which direction they are flowing is still undecided.
As part of the Business Development team for ROBRADY design, I am on the front lines – one of the first levels of filtration to full engagement – and trust me when I say: I want your idea to be a home run! I’m a guy who will be pitching it to the review team and it only helps my task when something truly innovative crosses my path. I’m often inspired by what is presented; however, I can’t stress enough about the importance of “preparation”. Although you may have invented the next mousetrap, I need to know if it makes sense from a business stand point- is there a market? Is there a need? Can it be built affordable? And yes, is there a profit to be had?
Invention, of course, breeds innovation. Your best shot at success is to prepare your idea or invention to its fullest prior to presenting it. In all business there is a level of risk and when it comes to taking an invention to market there is substantially more. Have answers in your arsenal readily available of how to mitigate that risk. Here is the checklist:
-Where / what is the market opportunity?
-Are there potential for different versions, accessories, monthly subscriptions, apps, etc?
-What is your experience in the industry?
-Be prepared to discuss your funding needs / capabilities.
Just yesterday we were presented a product which we thought had a tremendous amount of potential but weren’t sure of the market timing. It would have been to the inventor’s advantage if they had come to us with rough market research, an initial business plan or draft sales forecast. Proving the viability of the idea would have helped develop partnership opportunities sooner rather than later.
There is no skeleton key that will unlock the doors to success. In the current economic climate the market drives us; we do not drive the market. I am of the opinion that successful ideas making it to market these days are the ones that enhance proven products already in the marketplace. High unemployment numbers, down economy, loss of homes – we all know the drill. It’s likely that if consumers are going to part with their hard earned money it will be for something that makes a product they already understand even better.
“Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.” - Warren Buffett