Here is a statistic for you: less than 5% of all patent holders (inventors) profit from their inventions.
Put dramatically: 95% of all inventors fail!
Wow! Still want to be an inventor? Of course you do! I want to help you join the 5% that succeed.
Make sure to grab your FREE Success Resources for Inventors – Cheat Sheet – just click on the blue button.
Let's look at 3 obstacles to invention success and how to overcome them.
Obstacle #1: Excessive Focus on Patenting
Am I suggesting that patents are not important to inventors? No, far from it.
But, if your primary focus is upon getting a patent for your invention idea, you are likely headed down an expensive path – a sort of Road to Perdition for inventors. Why?
When you focus on patenting, to the exclusion of other considerations:
You become focused so much on whether you could (obtain a patent), you don't think about whether or not you should.
Full disclosure: I made that mistake with my first invention.
I didn't know what else to do, so I immediately found a patent attorney to help me file a patent for my slim wallet invention. In my case, it worked out well for me in spite of my initial off-track focus. It could have very easily been an expensive dead end for me as it is for countless other inventors.
Before you give any thought to a patent your new invention idea, you should ask yourself the following 3 questions:
- What specific problem does my invention solve and how big is the problem?
- What other products address or solve this problem?
- Does my invention provide a provably better solution?
You must research the above questions carefully to ensure you have something worth spending lots of your time, effort, and money to develop. If you haven't answered the above questions or if there is not a strong case for your product, then you should either stop now or move on to your next invention idea.
Obstacle #2: Seeking Opinions and Critiques from Family and Friends
Our inventions are like our children, we think they are beautiful – even if no one else does! – Alan Beckley
When you approach family and friends to discuss your new invention, they can see the passion and excitement in your face. When you ask them, “what do you think?” They will, of course, say “I think it's great!”
All the while, the voice in their head is saying, “hopefully he will give up on this soon and go onto something else.” They love you not your product, so they simply don't want to hurt your feelings, so they tell you exactly what you want to hear.
There are two simple reasons why doing this is a waste of time. First, if you divulge details of your product before you have filed a patent on it, this will be a ‘public disclosure' of your product and you will have to file a US patent within 1 year or lose patent rights. Second, friends and family will certainly not provide a fair critique of your product.
What should you do?
Seek a qualified opinion on your invention from a retail buyer or someone with industry expertise. Make sure you are either patent pending or have them sign a non-disclosure first. For more details on this approach, please read Inventors Seek Feedback and Criticism – a post I wrote in June.
Obstacle #3: Looking for the Easy Path Forward
After working for months, perhaps years, on your invention idea, you may naturally say to yourself, “there has got to be an easier way than this.”
Am I right? Of course you will – we all do.
But, when you focus on really searching for the metaphorical “easier way” – you may find yourself drawn like Odysseus was in Greek mythology – to the sweet songs of Sirens. Only, the modern day sirens are invention marketing companies promising to do it all for you: they'll file your patent, they'll develop your product, they'll market it and land a licensing deal for you – and all for the ridiculously low price of $15,000. You get the picture.
Countless inventors have spent $10,000 or even $20,000 or more of often borrowed capital answering the false siren songs of invention marketing companies. Stay focused and do not look for the “easy” way – there isn't one – unless you are looking for an easy way to drain your bank account.
Avoid the Sirens – grab your FREE Success Resources for Inventors – Cheat Sheet – just click on the blue button below.