Will It Sell?TM
|Marketing help for inventors and small businesses.||James E. White & Assoc.|
STOP IF & THIN ICE Issues
The following STOP IF and THIN ICE issues are from STEP 0 - Go Shopping and provide the first part of a simple evaluation you can do yourself on your own invention (or a friends). The scoring system is slightly counter intuitive in that you rate your answer to each STOP IF issue from 0% to 100% with 0% meaning this issue has NO chance of preventing sales success and 100% meaning that your invention is CERTAIN to fail because of this issue. The THIN ICE issues are not scored, they are there to keep you alert to dangerous territory.
To see how you are doing on a project you simply complete each step's questions in step order and keep a running score for each step. At the end of STEP 0 your score is the sum of all answers for STEP 0. At the end of STEP 1 your score is the sum of all answers for STEPs 0 and 1, etc.
My suggestion for making your GO/NOGO decisions is that if your score at the end of any step is greater than 60% then you set that invention aside with a DO NOT RESUSCITATE order. If the score is 40% to 60% set the idea aside and let your subconscious work on it a while. For a 20% through 39%, get a second opinion. For a 5% through 19%, proceed with caution concentrating on the higher probability issues first. If your score is under 5%, proceed merrily on your way—but evaluate all new information to see if it changes your score.
A few comments on the above "STOP IF" issues, and some hints on scoring your self evaluation:
0%—I looked in 4 department stores, 5 specialty stores, 5 catalogs for the product category, and consulted 6 experts in the field and the product was not found on the market.
25%—I looked in 3 department stores at the nearest mall, including a Sears, and asked a few of my 19-25 year old friends.
70%—I asked at the local Big K-Mart and the clerk there hadn't heard of anything like it.
99%—I specialize in another field, and I haven't done any looking yet, but I've never seen it anywhere.
100%—The first store I went into told me I'd find it at another store and, sure enough, it was there!
0%—After a thorough search no competitive products were found OR my invention equals or betters the competitors on breadth and quality but mine will be (I hope) significantly less expensive.
50%—Mine looks about the same difficulty from a manufacturing perspective as competitors and I'm not too sure what price I can get it made for.
70%—There is a product out there within about 20% above my probable price but with a very good feature that my product can't have.
99%—A major industry player has several solutions and brands that dominate the industry.
100%—There is a product with more capabilities and features and I'm sure I can't substantially under-price it.
0%—This is not an issue because there are no competing products.
70%—It's a niche field and I think I can provide considerable added value (e.g., service, support) that will win customers away from competitors.
99%—The field is full of very large players.
100%—You think that there are no competing products yet everyone you mention that to spontaneously busts out laughing.
0%—Your solution works 99-100% of the time and its simplicity assures buyers that it will continue to.
25%—Your solution works 90% of the time and the times it doesn't work it is clear that no completely generic solution is probable.
25%—Your solution works 90% of the time and it clearly is at the forefront of technology.
50%—Your solution works 70% of the time and it provides buyers with major savings over competing solutions.
50%—Your solution works 70% of the time and the times it doesn't work it is clear that no completely generic solution is probable.
50%—Your solution works 70% of the time and it clearly is at the forefront of technology.
99%—Your solution works exceptionally well in s special niche but competing (including BFH) solutions generally get the job done in that niche too.
100%—Your solution works 50% of the time or less and it has no technical difficulty and provides no substantial savings.
0%—The sum of your previous "STOP IF" percents is less than 5 and has been conscientiously determined.
50%—You believe you can succeed at anything if you just put your mind to it.
100%—Your invention doesn't need to be researched because the world will one day see that it is as definitive as the light bulb.
0%—You aren't underestimating the risks of your invention and you plan to provide quality instructions and warnings and carry appropriate liability insurance.
100%—You're scared-to-death someone will be accidentally hurt by your invention.
0%—Manufacturing requires no processes that are not well understood and appropriately "controlled" from an environmental perspective.
60%—Your invention will result in hundreds of millions of discarded aluminum pull-top tabs (or whatever).
90%—There are some processes whose impact you are not yet sure of.
Whew, if STEP 0 is so hard, are you sure you still want to proceed with the even harder parts of being a successful inventor?
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