Marketability: Specifics with Statistics
There's Nothing Like It
By Stephen Paul Gnass
Most people with a new idea have checked around - maybe some local retail stores and sales outlets - and determined that there's nothing like their product on the market. On occasion, there may a similar product, but it didn't have the same unique features.
Likewise, they have conducted some informal research, asking friends and relatives their opinions about the product, and have received a very positive response.
Everyone feels that their invention will make a million. When asked the question "Is there a market for your product?", the answer is invariably, "Oh, yes"!!!
I call this type of vague generalization about an idea's potential as more of a "gut feeling". And while I believe that gut feelings and intuitions are valid, most inventors fail to go beyond this initial starting point to really dig in and get statistics and information about their product and the market potential.
PROVE IT TO ME
Now, from the point of view of an investor, licensee, or venture capitalist, or someone who is considering investing or financing your product in some way, they're going to want more substantiation than just a "gut feeling" along with some "informal research" as back-up support for your claims. A few "opinions" from family and friends just aren't going to be enough to convince anybody to invest in your product.
These business people want you to "prove it to me". They want solid statistics. They want facts. They want data. And they want to see it in writing, not tossed off the top of your head. They want to know "where" you got the information, "when" you got the information, and "how" you got the information that supports your claims. The more of this you have, the easier it will be to close a prospective deal.
Ironically, you may find that not all of the prospective contacts will actually read all the data, or care about "all" of the information that you have. But you never know "who" will want "what" information at any one point in time, so having as much of it as possible will help increase your chances of success because you'll be prepared for just about anything and everything. You won't be thrown off guard by a question(s) that you hadn't thought about.
And best of all, in the process of gathering all of this material, you actually become an "expert" about your product - based on research and study, not on speculation and wishfulness. Because you will be much more confident as a result of having the proper supportive data, in your business dealings about your product, you will come across as a professional and will not seem like a naive "wannabe".
Too many inventors skip this marketability research part and go straight to the patent and prototyping stage because nobody has explained to them how important this phase is. However digging up this back-up support may also help you reduce the risks of marketing this invention. While there are never any guarantees, being as certain about the product's marketability will greatly increase your chances of success.
TIP: In this initial research phase, it is also important that you remain "neutral" about your idea while you're doing the research so that you can "let go" of the idea if you happen to find out that it is a "no go". Finding this out in the early stages could help you save thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent on useless patents, prototypes, manufacturing, etc.
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