In the previous blog – C – Creative Financing – I mentioned the value of incremental financing and networking as creative ways to finance otherwise unaffordable things.
Today’s post is the final topic in this series – K – Keep Going, Persist for Success.
Much has been written about the importance of persistence, especially in sports and business endeavors. I feel that persisting in the face of many setbacks and discouragements is particularly important to inventing.
I have many inventor friends, none of whom have achieved notable success quickly. There is a great deal of trial-and-error in commercializing a new product. This is because each product has its own unique path to the marketplace and the first efforts are often not particularly fruitful.
Malcolm Gladwell described in his book, Outliers, the 10,000-hour rule – most people must put 10,000 hours of effort into a craft (or career) before they may truly become highly skilled experts.
When I invented the Savvy Caddy wallet, I saw it as an innovative thin, flexible wallet that solved a problem just about every man has: a bulky uncomfortable wallet. It was so clear to me then (still is today) I felt certain it would be equally clear to others – it wasn’t. So, I set out to license the wallets to a major manufacturer fully expecting to obtain successful results within a year, at most.
Three years later, I seemed no closer to success than the day I began the process.
A rather frustrating pattern continued to repeat itself with every company I presented to: initial interest; further consideration; ultimately passing on the product. The most poignant and disappointing company – one whom was intensely interested, but later became disinterested gave me advice I almost ignored: take it to QVC. They felt it would be a hard sell in a retail store, but on QVC where it could be demonstrated, it should do well.
They were right. I took it to QVC and it sold well for two years and gave me an extremely important initial success. I now feel an even better path forward for Savvy Caddy is direct response TV (DRTV). That is the direction I am taking the product now. In the process, I may return to my initial goal and path: to license the product instead of producing it myself.
My point is that the rather circuitous path I took of attempting to license for 3 years, then manufacturing, packaging and selling it myself and on QVC, my website, military bases and VA hospitals resulted in my attaining the Gladwellian 10,000 hours. Because of all this trial and error and persistence, the path forward for my second product – an innovative cat toy – is much clearer and it will take me vastly less time to get it to market.
Whatever your product, whatever your challenges and barriers, I encourage you to find the fortitude to believe in yourself, stay focused and persist until a better path forward emerges when you least expect it.