The eyes of millions are riveted on their TV sets as the world's top-echelon athletes compete in the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro . All the athletes are “going for the gold,” but very few will win gold, silver, or bronze medals.
What if, just before he got in the water to compete for the 200 meter butterfly swim event, Michael Phelps decided to wear two 5 lb anklets just before he went into the competition. Do you think he would win?
What if Simone Biles suddenly donned a weighted belt just before she did her final floor exercise? Do you think she would win?
Neither world-class athlete would ever choose to purposely handicap their chances for winning the gold medal in a hyper-competitive olympic event.
Inventors: Olympians Wearing Weights
Like Olympic athletes, inventors must compete in a hyper-competitive marketplace where the chances of winning gold (invention success) are minuscule. If less than 3% of inventors achieve a profit with their product, only a fraction of those earn a lucrative living.
Like Olympic athletes, inventors must refine and optimize every aspect of their ‘performance' to achieve success. Unlike Olympic athletes, inventors frequently choose to weigh themselves down – taking unnecessary risks – much like a swimmer wearing ankle weights.
Inventors: Lose the Weights – Go for the Gold
What do I mean by unnecessary weights (risks)?
My wallet product, Wonder Wallet, is inexpensive, less than $5 per each to manufacture. The low cost allowed me to do my first production run of 1,000 wallets with a manageable risk of $5,000. Every day I talk to inventors who have great products, but they cost $50 – $100 to manufacture. Even a small test run of 1,000 pieces could cost them $50 – $100,000 of risk capital. That is too risky for them and, in most cases, more risk than many licensees would choose to take.
Choose low cost products to increase chances for success.
Pride and (perhaps) misplaced patriotism can be costly to an inventor's business. For obvious reasons, every inventor would prefer to manufacture their product in the US.
But, if you do not have at least a 4X (preferably 5X) mark up from manufacture to retail, your business will fail. In many cases, the inventor must choose to manufacture overseas, principally in China as I did, to have sufficient profit margins for their business. Your invention, even if manufactured in China, will employee many people here in America if you are successful. Apple manufactures iPhones and other products in China, but it has 66,000 employees in the US with developers earning $100 – $200,000 annual salaries.
Do what is right for your business, including manufacturing in China if necessary.
Avoid niche products. Focus on products that have a WOW factor, that solve an annoying problem, that just about everyone needs. There is a new DRTV product (direct response TV) called Press 2 Paste. It is a simple mechanism that, as the name implies, makes it easy to squeeze every last drop out of a tube of toothpaste. It is low cost, solves an annoying problem, simple solution, a bit of a WOW factor. Great product.
Avoid niche products, focus on simple, problem solving products that millions will buy at a low cost.
Slim down, get rid of unnecessary ‘weights' that drag down your business.