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MASTERING THE INVENTION PROCESS - Getting Through The Maze
It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time
By Don Kracke
I am a professional inventor. Over one billion dollars in retail sales have been generated from new product ideas I've had a hand in creating. So if I fail 97% of the time, what chance do you (the novice) have? As long as you maintain your sense of enthusiasm regardless of how often you get shot down-YOUR CHANCES ARE EVERY BIT AS GOOD AS MINE, I'M HAPPY TO REPORT.
Regardless of what anyone says, you must continue to believe in your ideas and yourself. You'll note my plural use of the word idea. Ideas. More than one. I'm convinced that if you can come up with one new product idea, you'll undoubtedly have a hundred more behind that first one. Which is good since you'll need that many working at any one time in order to keep your sanity. To this day, 30 years after I began in the idea business, I still cannot stand the time delays in getting even the most extraordinarily successful products from conception to the marketplace.
In my book, "How to Turn Your Idea Into a Million Dollars" I state that "Overnight success takes about a year-or longer." Overnight success takes about a year-or longer. It's worth repeating. With enough of you out there mumbling that little thought often enough, we might create a proper mantra for inventors throughout the world. Nice thought.
You can increase the odds of your success, by increasing the number of new product ideas you're working on at any given moment. Today I counted the new product ideas that I'm currently working on; the total is 137. Which means that if I live long enough about 4 or 5 of them little suckers should generate some income.
Will there be any multi-million dollar ideas that beat the odds and get to market? I sincerely doubt it. In fact, I want you to never think again about your creating a multi-million dollar idea. Teach yourself to think small. Forget even million dollar ideas. In fact, when you finally create a $1.89 idea, give me a call. You will have arrived and I'd like to welcome you personally into the ranks of the professional inventor.
Remember that billion dollars at retail I mentioned earlier? I lied. The real number is $508,000,000 at wholesale. Which is the only true number I know because all my royalties are reported to me only in wholesale numbers. I applied what is called a "keystone mark-up" i.e., 100% to the wholesale number in order to guesstimate (somewhat legitimately) what turned out to be over a billion dollars in retail sales.
"Over a billion" has a nice ring to it. Makes me sound like a pro. However, what matters is that the $508,000,000 wholesale is made up of about 2400 different products I've gotten to market over the past 30-odd years. Do the math. $508,000,000 divided by 2400 comes out to only about $210,000 at wholesale per idea. Not chopped liver, mind you, but well south of that magic million dollars for each idea. Remember, your royalty is based on the wholesale number. Which means I should have made over $24,000,000 off my ideas over the past 30 years. Which is about right. There's only one problem: I spent about $25,000,000 during the same time-frame. As I told Regis on his show one morning, "I wrote the book on how to make a million dollars, not how to keep it."
So there you have it. So lest you miss the point entirely, realize that for those 2400 products that I have created and that have gotten to market, there were somewhere around 97,000 that didn't make it. That comes to about one an hour for the last 30 years. That, too, seems about right. So what are you wasting your time reading this for? Get to your inventing!
Don Kracke is the author of "How to Turn Your Idea Into a Million Dollars". A billion dollars worth of Kracke's new products have been sold at retail. His television celebrity appearances include ABC Nightline, ABC Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Evening News and many more.