Successfully bringing a new product to market is something that requires persistence and patience, yet too often people rush ahead and make the same mistakes as others before them. While anyone can have a great idea, almost everyone can benefit from learning where others went wrong. Here are the top seven mistakes that inventors make:
#7 Falling in Love with Your Invention
It’s not easy to remain objective about that brilliant idea you just came up with, but you need to force yourself to look at things through the eyes of others.
We all have biases for what we have created (yes, your baby is the most beautiful!), but only by recognizing our biases can we proceed. That new idea may truly be great, but let’s take it one step at a time.
Your solution may be new, but is it really better? Is it really different? You need to ask other people for their opinions, and those people should not be related or friends with you. Often your friends and family are not in a position to give you honest, objective opinions. It’s likely they will say only positive things in order to avoid conflict or simply to show their support.
You need honest, objective feedback, so make sure to get feedback from potential customers and take their comments to heart. If enough people don’t “get it” or don’t see the value in your new idea, consider going back to the drawing board. Or save your time, energy and effort for your next great idea.
#6 Failing to Research the Market Early
The phrase “rushing blindly ahead” could have been coined to describe what often happens to people when they come up with their first big idea. They run out and spend money and time building prototypes, hiring patent attorneys, and creating sales sheets without ever checking to see if something similar already exists.
Just because you haven’t seen it at Walmart doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. Before you impulsively spend your time, energy and money, make sure to thoroughly explore the market. This means going to actual stores, as well as looking online using every search description you can think of.
If you discover a product that’s similar to your idea, that isn’t necessarily a deal breaker. The more significant the improvement is, the better your chance for success. Just be sure to determine if the other product has a patent, and that your solution doesn’t infringe on it.
#5 Doing Everything Yourself
Because there are so many hats to wear in launching a new product, inventors frequently make the mistake of trying to wear all of them. Sometimes it’s because they want to save money, and other times it’s because they think no one else can do it better.
There’s a time and place for both mindsets, but you won’t know which is which until you objectively analyze your own strengths and weaknesses. Different aspects of the invention process are more right-brain or left-brain tasks, and while most of us can do a good job at some aspect or another, very few of us are good at both.
The last thing you want is to have all your worthwhile efforts undone by a shabby looking logo or an ill-conceived marketing plan or an incomplete patent search that you tried to do yourself.
#4 Rushing to Get a Patent
Do you really need a patent for your invention? The answer depends on many things, including your idea, your goals, your path to market, but most importantly, timing.
Before you rush to protect that idea of yours, make sure you have something worth protecting. Do your research. Understand your market opportunity. Refine your design.
At a cost of $7,000 to $10,000, a patent only gives you the right to stop others from copying, producing and selling your invention. The only better way to stop others from copying is to have a product idea that has no market or just isn’t profitable.
Countless times each year, I’m introduced to people who, after learning that I’m an inventor, want to share their idea with me. Often these ideas aren’t earth-shattering (six minute abs!), but frequently they sound pretty good.
Then I ask the question, “So what have you done with it?” The answer is almost always, “Nothing”.
Remember, you can’t be the first to market if you never start the race.
#2 Worrying about Others Stealing Your Invention
Worrying about others stealing your idea is the biggest reason people make the last two mistakes I outlined above.
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that coming up with a great idea is only the first of many steps to being successful and profiting from it. And those other steps take a commitment to your idea that, in most cases, only you are willing to make.
As we discuss in Inventors Blueprint, there are some simple, inexpensive solutions to help protect your idea early on before you get to the point of thinking about filing and paying for full patent protection.
I’m sure that there are people out there who are trying specifically to steal other people’s ideas, just as I’m sure there are people who get hit by lightning every year. But if your idea truly fills a need, then there are guaranteed to be others who are trying to invent similar solutions.
So, forget the worrying. Spend your time taking action and beating the other solutions to market.
#1 Not Learning How Others Have Succeeded
Every other profession has apprenticeships or schools that teach you how learn a new trade. But for some reason, people constantly try to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to creating a new product.
The single biggest action you can take to improve your chances of having success with your idea is to study how others have succeeded, then follow a proven path to the market. Whether you use Inventors Blueprint, study other books, or find another program, please take the time to learn what works from the successes and failures of others.
This list only talks about the top seven mistakes that inventors make, but there are countless other tricks to know as you learn how to invent. The School of Hard Knocks is a good teacher, but the tuition is pretty high in terms of lost money, lost time, and wasted energy. The tragedy is that many good inventions are lost and many creative people get discouraged after learning one too many lessons the hard way.
For more information on the Inventors Blueprint and to access several free videos that can help get you started, check out www.inventorsblueprint.com.