Very few inventors achieve commercial success with their products. Successful inventors typically toil tirelessly for many years before they succeed.
Would you like to accelerate your inventing success? Consider a simple 3 F formula:
- Follow Through
Full disclosure: it took me 13 years to achieve commercial success with my first product. I wish, back in 2002, I had know what I am about to tell you now.
Success in businesses with clearly defined products, processes, and procedures is all about focus; focusing on goals, objectives, and financial metrics.
But inventors must flourish in an environment where nothing is ever clear cut. Products must be divined, metaphorically from thin air, then processes and procedures must be created from scratch; furthermore, the process is different for every new product. How is focus even possible?
Focus, early one, to learn what your are good at, what you enjoy doing and why, specifically, you want to devote time and money to invent new products. Ultimately, what is it you hope to achieve?
Nothing about this personal mission will be easy. You may need to consult friends and loved ones who know you well for answers and obviously look within yourself. Once you have those answers, you have found your mission; and your most valuable asset, your time, will be used for maximum efficiency.
I spent years doing things I wasn’t good at and didn’t enjoy: manufacturing, packaging, and marketing to put my product out there and sell it myself. I enjoy and am good at developing new products, then finding someone else to fully develop and market them in exchange for a small royalty. I knew this in 2002, but I strayed from what should have been my focus and it cost me many years.I have my mission and my focus and won’t stray away again.
Once you have done the hard work described above and have found your mission, you must have absolute faith in developing and moving forward with your product.
You cannot succeed on your own, you must sell many people on the merits of your product including patent attorneys, prototypes, lenders, buyers, retailers and licensees. Your unwavering faith, enthusiasm and conviction must permeate every presentation you make so others will be enticed to join your team and become a part of your future success.
Even with your unshakeable faith, enthusiasm and conviction, the most common response you will receive is a negative one: no, not now, not for us, and the evil twins: maybe later and let us think about it. You will hear no so many times you will begin to wonder if they ever say yes to anyone.
This is where your follow through (aka persistence) comes in.
Follow through is all about asking questions to seek guidance and details.
What about my product makes it a no for your organization? I’m going to present this product to others. If you were me, what would you do to make this product more attractive to buyers (retailers, licensees)? Now that you understand my product, who would you recommend I should take it to? If timing is not right for your organization right now, when might be a better time for me to get in touch with you?
By asking these questions you may come away from a disappointing meeting with the formula for success in a future meeting: changes you should make to the product, a list of people to contact, etc. Then, you must follow through and be persistent. Keep trying. Refine, rework, and retune your presentation and get out there again and again. Don’t give up. You will learn something new and valuable from each presentation.
One day someone will say yes, this is for us!