Five Business Strategies for Your Invention
An inventor may come up with what he or she believes is a brilliant idea. Friends, family and fellow inventors may agree. But there comes a point at which the idea has to become reality.
Inventors can fall at this first hurdle. This is often because they regard themselves as “ideas people” and not practical men or women with business acumen.
Unless they have business partners who turn ideas into products, inventors must address this problem. And this isn’t as hard as it may at first seem. What inventors must do is apply their skill at producing great ideas to the realm of business strategy.
CommunicationOne of the key business strategies for inventors is communication. Those inventors who can express their ideas in simple terms verbally and in writing give themselves an advantage.
To see this strategy at work, inventors should watch TV programmes such as Dragon’s Den. At the end of each entrepreneur’s presentation, they should ask: Do I fully understand what the entrepreneur has said? If so, how did the entrepreneur make his or her points? If the presentation was poor, what could the entrepreneur done to have improved it?
What comes out of this process is a realisation that in business, good communication sells products and services. Inventors don’t have to know sales techniques. But they do need to communicate with clarity and enthusiasm.
Know the CustomerWhat may seem like a great idea to an inventor may meet with indifference in the outside world. Inventors therefore need a customer strategy.
Whenever an inventor starts developing an idea, he or she must ask one question: who is going to use this new product?
Potential customers may number in the millions or hundreds. They may be consumers or business people. They may be wealthy or have an average income. It doesn’t matter. Inventors must have a clear idea of who is going to buy what they make.
WorldwideInventors should not be parochial. They should adopt a worldwide business strategy.
This sounds rather daunting. It’s not. A worldwide strategy simply means that investors should consider whether their ideas would do well in foreign as well as home markets. They also need to decide whether it’s more practical and cost-effective to make a product abroad than in the UK.
OnlineBusiness strategists regularly talk about the need for websites and online advertising to promote new products. Inventors should therefore think about an online strategy.
Online marketing is sophisticated. Standalone websites do not succeed. They need support from online and traditional media ads; SEO (search engine optimised) promotion from articles and linked websites; press releases; and appearances in social media. With the right support, online marketing can bring an inventor’s new product to the world’s attention.
Survive for Twelve MonthsInventors need a survival strategy from the moment they begin inventing. The business world can be tough. The frequently quoted statement that 50% of new businesses fail in their first year is an unfortunate fact.
Inventors who work at their ideas full-time must have a twelve-month strategy. They must know in advance how they are going to pull through the first year and pay their bills.
During their first year as sole traders or as directors of limited companies, inventors will learn a lot about the business world whether they want to or not. Many of the lessons are harsh and can damage financial resources. A twelve-month business strategy that allows for the unexpected can mean the difference between long-term success as an inventor and abrupt failure.