How long will it take for you to get your new business idea off the ground?

3_1The founder of Liquid Paper, Bette Graham, came up with an idea while watching painters decorate Christmas Windows at the bank where she was a secretary. She came up with a way to correct typing errors but had to work five years while sending her product from home. She mixed up different colour paints with a kitchen blender until she was able to come up with a suitable product which essentially was correction fluid. After being fired by her boss because of the mistake she couldn’t correct, she started out full-time and grew her business into a large company. Continue reading “How long will it take for you to get your new business idea off the ground?”

Tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, market research and other myths

Easter postcard circa early 20th century
Easter postcard circa early 20th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do you know if your new business idea will be a winner or a loser?

The marketing consultants Al Reis and Jack Trout tell how product ideas don’t always test out well. The inclination is to do market research but that can be a big mistake. One example they mentioned was Univac which pioneered a big product idea called the computer only to lose its early lead to IBM. It seems Univac lost out because its own market research predicted that by the year 2000 there would be only 1,000 computers in use. So they didn’t invest in a product with such a limited potential market. IBM, on the other hand, didn’t spend money on research and didn’t know about this bad news about computers. As Reis and Trout say, “Instead they geared up for a market that proceeded to exceed every market researcher’s wildest dreams”. Continue reading “Tooth fairy, Easter Bunny, market research and other myths”

Better to start developing your new business idea soon as possible than wait for the perfect thing

Food (Photo credits: PB Teen)

The glossy business magazines will feature entrepreneurs who got their promising business ideas up and running in six months. These are the exceptions or what researchers call outliers. It leads you to believe that starting something from scratch can be done in record time and that instant success is forthcoming. What about all the other would-be entrepreneurs who take far longer to come up with a new business idea and even longer to get it off the ground?

The reality is that starting something from scratch, something of your own, something from a promising business idea, takes three times the duration to get it off the ground and will probably cost twice as much as the business gurus would leaf you to believe. It’s far better to have a realistic sense of what to expect when trying to develop something of your own than live in cloud cuckoo land expecting overnight success. One Internet business, for example, took 10 years before it became commercially viable, gaining enough traction to start getting noticed by Internet users. Continue reading “Better to start developing your new business idea soon as possible than wait for the perfect thing”

Obsessed by success secrets but ignoring common sense

Sara BlakelySara Blakely, an entrepreneur, was listed as a billionaire on a rich list. She took her product Spanx, body shaping undergarments for women, from a start-up to a multi-million-dollar company.

A fire storm of articles and TV shows dug into her background to find her secret of success. This is what the media do best – simplifying a story to one or two things that are easy to communicate. This results in giving the wrong impression to would-be entrepreneurs and start-up founders. It looks so authoritative in print or on TV but actually only sells a half-truth. Continue reading “Obsessed by success secrets but ignoring common sense”

How long does it take to develop your product for market?

English: The Product and Logo
The Product and Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Living in an instant society we want things NOW. We want things to happen straight away. It seems that patience has become a precious commodity.

Like growing tree or garden, developing a new idea from the seed of a concept or notion takes time. If you have a fairly simple product, you may be lucky to get it off the ground within a few months. But for the most part developing and testing an idea from its origination to market can take up to a year or more.

I’m sure there are exceptions and I don’t want to put you off but let’s look realistically at what is involved in developing and testing and introducing a new product or service. Continue reading “How long does it take to develop your product for market?”

No one laughs at you when you stand in line to buy a lottery ticket but if you’ve got a new idea…

A quick-pick ticket with two sets of numbers f...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People stand in a long queue on a Saturday afternoon to buy a lottery ticket. Everyone looks serious. It’s a big decision. To spend a small amount and to win untold riches. But nobody is laughing at you when you stand in that lottery ticket queue. No one is poking fun at you. No one is sneering.

In your circle of friends and family have you ever met anyone who had made a fortune from buying a lottery ticket? I don’t know about you, but I have never met anyone who has won a massive amount from the purchase of a lottery ticket. The only person that comes to mind was a hardware store owner in a coastal town where I grew up who was said to have won a lottery ticket and closed down his hardware store. Continue reading “No one laughs at you when you stand in line to buy a lottery ticket but if you’ve got a new idea…”

Careful you don’t create horrifying products like these

Toy Fair 2008
Toy Fair 2008 (Photo credit: Hot Grill)

I bought a screen guard for an iPhone the other day from a small cell phone shop and eventually when I got it on the phone it looked like the screen had been covered in psoriasis. More fool me trying to buy something on the cheap. I’m not going to embarrass the country where this was made but I’m sure you can guess which one it is.

The Cracked website recently covered “The 6 most horrifying product recalls in China” which included donkey meat with fox, chemical burn flip-flops, sewer fish, deadly monkfish (but really puffer fish), face-smashing pogo sticks and moon face cream laced with a steroid hormone.

What’s amazing is how people come up with such products and think they can get away with it. Even more surprising are the retail stores and in some cases large international supermarket chains which sell these potentially deadly products. I mean, a skin cream that was used to treat eczema in babies could cause things like excessive hair growth in women and children, Cushing’s syndrome which is characterised by a swollen, moon-shaped face, acne, muscle weakening, hair loss and truncal obesity. Wow. Who are these people trying to fool? Continue reading “Careful you don’t create horrifying products like these”

Will you settle for your first best idea?

New Ideas
New Ideas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day I was looking for a small speaker to play out of my cellphone because my ball speaker had blown out after about four years of use. I was in a hurry to get a new speaker and came across a Bluetooth wireless speaker. It sounded good in the music store and I bought it thinking that this was better than my original speaker, which despite the small size put out a mean sound.

I should have known better. This new speaker is almost useless in the car and doesn’t even put out enough sound in even a small-size living room.

Settling for the first thing you come across whatever you are searching for isn’t always the best thing to do. The same applies when generating new business ideas. If you settle for your first best idea, you may not be able to achieve as much if you continued pushing the envelope and coming up with even better ideas. Continue reading “Will you settle for your first best idea?”

Do you have what it takes to introduce a new product or service?

You’ve got to know your market.

A small business owner takes her life savings and invests them in her new business venture. Her recruitment business was aimed at a market segment that suddenly dried up because of government legislation. She redirected her business to another market segment and after five years is running a successful business.

A person running a small venture on the side is doing well in a fitness niche but the bulk supply of product closes down. The business person can’t find another supplier with the same prices and so is unable to find a viable cost structure. He’s been trying for two years to figure out a new business model.

What does it take to develop a new product or service and then form and run a business venture to manufacture, market, sell and distribute these products? Continue reading “Do you have what it takes to introduce a new product or service?”

Turning an idea into a product can be risky if you don’t know what you are doing

flatecover 3The new product development process is something that even the very largest of companies often don’t get right. They can afford to lose money especially in the early stages because they are taking bets on various products and services.

For a start-up or small business which wants to develop a new product or service a similar complex process will be faced. If it’s something simple that you are developing such as scented candles or low-sugar jam, you’ll have a relatively easy product development process ahead of you. But if it’s something that is more complex such as a special furniture items, software or food products for grocery stores, you will need to follow a more formal process for product development. Continue reading “Turning an idea into a product can be risky if you don’t know what you are doing”