Not all Entrepreneurs are Inventors but nearly every Inventor needs to be an Entrepreneur.
While no entrepreneurial challenge can be said to be easy, It uniformly accepted that bringing inventions to market is among the toughest business challenges one can undertake. The path is complicated, uncertain, and unless one gets lucky will likely be long and costly.
A few of the business challenges the inventor faces:
1. Finding the balance between sharing enough information so that others can assist in moving forward while keeping quiet and protecting the idea from competitors.
2. Trying to get others to see the benefits of your innovation. Most of us cope with problems and prefer not to change and we certainly don’t want to be the first ones to try a new thing. Makes getting those first sales a real challenge.
3. Having enough cash to bring the product to market so that sales can happen allowing the skeptics to see the value of the idea.
Why do the business issues matter? Because in the end, the value of an idea is determined by the idea’s ability of make cash for the owner. Novel inventions that don’t solve immediate problems, while interesting, won’t generate immediate sales thus have little immediate value. On the other hand inventions that solve today’s understood challenges can generate immediate sales. With immediate sales, the invention’s real value can be calculated.
So while it may be comfortable and interesting to imagine, design, improve, fine tune, prototype, and test the idea. The real and true test of the invention is simple. Have real people paid their real money to own the product? If you cannot answer yes to this question the value of the invention is minimal. That is the cold hard truth of the matter. For a invention to have real value it must have real sales.
If you wish to be a successful independent inventor you need to be a business person! That does not mean having all the skills, it does mean understanding the skills that are needed. Then gathering the right skills in sufficient quantity that real business results can be achieved. Quickly being able to demonstrate the market value of your invention gives the inventor the opportunity to earn a fair a wage and invent again. When this happens, it is a thing of beauty. When it does not, well let’s not go there.