Why can’t I have an idea that makes tons of money?

We watch programs like Shark Tank in the US, only to sink back into the reality of holding down a job. A prisoner of our circumstances.

As someone with an entrepreneurial leaning and a successful inventor myself, let me pour a little cold water on the inventing something new idea. I soon discovered that that having a product or service is only 25% of the solution.  The other 75% is letting people know and persuading them to buy it.

If you achieve what I consider to be the near impossible task of dreaming something up from scratch, you may be tempted to end up making the big mistake of making the circumstances fit the plan rather than the plan the circumstances.

Did you ever see the guy who invented a weird plastic overall that enable you to somehow discreetly have a pee?  He had successfully persuaded himself that people would actually use it, presumably without any research in public!.

Another popular mistake is to argue that there’s a “gap in the market” without researching whether there’s a market in the gap.

So is there an alternative way to generating a business idea?  Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Airlines, addressed this in his book saying don’t bother about re-inventing the wheel. You just need to do things better than the competition.

He talks about frequently flying for his record business and getting fed up with the poor experience. He figured he could do better and persuaded Boeing to lease him a plane. I wish I could think big like that!

An issue with inventing a product is that you’re at the bottom of the food chain.

Investment in designing, equipment, protecting your intellectual property and so on, makes it very difficult to be flexible. On the other hand, a distributor can pick and choose, perhaps dropping your product in favor of your competition.

The assertions I’m making here are obviously not a universal truth.  Engineers and scientists are well placed to develop things such as new products and materials. But even in that department, I had the experience of taking out a patent on a lock I invented only to discover there’s some truth in the old saying that the” only people who make money out of patents are patent attorneys.”

After all that cold water, I should repeat that I’m an entrepreneur and successful inventor myself.  My intention has been to make sure we have been honest with ourselves before we a start parting with hard earned cash.

So if you are not wishfully thinking that it’s not wishful thinking, GO FOR IT!