Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! by Lori Greiner
Learn how to turn your idea into a reality from someone who has already done it. From market research to product design to funding and manufacturing, you must have all of your bases covered in order to successfully create a sell a new product.
Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!
– by Lori Greiner –
1) Passion is a powerful sales tool
You must fully believe in everything that you sell. Your level of enthusiasm will infect others. Create something special and unique. Believe in it so much that other people can’t help but see it the way you see it. Don’t underestimate the importance of charisma and showmanship.
2) Start with self-confidence
You won’t get anywhere if you believe that you are less important or deserving of success than anyone else. Never underestimate or undervalue yourself. There is no room for self-doubt in entrepreneurship. Your success will have everything to do with how you perceive yourself, because how you perceive yourself is how others will perceive you, too.
3) Don’t get ahead of yourself
It’s important to see the big picture, of course, but your ability to appreciate the details and stay organized is essential. Keep lists of your tasks and learn how to delegate effectively. Make plans according to a structure, but allow yourself room to be spontaneous and adapt to different situations.
4) Be self-disciplined
One of the hardest things about being an entrepreneur is that there is no one around to tell you what to do, and no one to make sure you do it. You’ve got to be the kind of person who doesn’t need direction and enjoys figuring things out for yourself.
5) Remember it’s supposed to be fun
If it’s anxiety instead of excitement keeping you up at night, you’ll want to reconsider your decision to take this path. Pursuing a dream is admirable, but to do it at the expense of your health, family, financial well-being, and even your sanity is not good. Life is just too short to spend it doing something you don’t enjoy.
6) Solve a problem
Many of the greatest inventions were developed because an inventor found a problem so ridiculous, pervasive, or aggravating that they felt compelled to do something about it. People who genuinely want to make their customers’ lives better must design the best products.
7) Aim for needs, not wants
Your challenge should be to create something so amazing that once people start to use it, they won’t be able to live without it. Create to fulfill people’s needs, not their wants, because once they believe they need something, your invention is better protected against economic forces.
8) Make something unique
Try to introduce something that the world has never seen before, but also simple enough that customers understand how it works as soon as they see it. One mistake that entrepreneurs make over and over again is they believe so strongly in their invention that they never bother to make sure it’s as unique as they think it is.
9) Question your product
If you want to break into the market, you’ve got to be willing to mercilessly scrutinize your product and open yourself up to brutally honest, objective judgment. You must do this without offering justifications or excuses when your answers aren’t what you’d like them to be. It’s good to believe strongly in your invention, but not to the point that you’re wearing blinders.
10) Articulate your idea
If it takes you more than one or two sentences to describe your product or business, you probably don’t have a clear enough vision of how it’s going to work or whom it’s for. Come up with a brand name that’s catchy, descriptive, brief, and easy to say.
11) Know your target market
Whenever possible, you should invent for the masses. There is a niche market for products, but it’s easier to design something that is useful, with broad appeal, at a price point that the majority of people can afford.
12) Research your market thoroughly
Market research gives you the necessary reality check on your product. It’s good to be passionate about your product, but many people take this too far and become delusional. Know your competition, study trends, and determine if there’s room for you on the market. Search social media and follow conversations related to your product.
13) Get useful feedback
Don’t trust friends or family to give you objective opinions or feedback. Conduct anonymous surveys and find out what people really think. Ask short but important questions. Draw from a large cross section of people to see if answers change according to different demographics.
14) Don’t get defensive
If people criticize your product or offer a critique, don’t argue back or take it personally. Don’t try to convince them that their initial reaction is wrong. Listen, take notes, and pay attention to patterns. You’ll never please everyone, but if you out there and hear a resounding and consistent ‘No’, pay attention. Be grateful you’re able to find out now that no one wants or understands your invention, not down the line.
15) Engage your customers through social media
Engaging does not mean posting or tweeting links to your webpage or e-commerce site every six minutes. Engaging means really being interested in hearing what your consumers have to say. It means joining communities and contributing to them. It means sharing other people’s content when you think your audience would enjoy it as much as you did.
16) Consider Crowdfunding
The rise of websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided new opportunities for entrepreneurs. These platforms help you test the market and gauge demand for your product. They also allow you to mobilize an audience that will become loyal fans, eager to see you succeed. However, you’re at high risk for idea theft if you haven’t taken the correct steps to protect your idea through a patent or trademark.
17) Don’t neglect your loved ones
It’s easy for inventors and entrepreneurs to be so excited about a dream that they underestimate the impact their pursuit of those dreams will have on their partner or family. Be open, and discuss the worst-case scenarios in order to establish confidence and trust. Try to get your family involved in the business so that you can bond over pursuing a common goal.
18) Perfect your pitch
Be precise, clear, authoritative, excited, and animated. Exude confidence, drive, and dedication. Be aware of people’s moods and personalities and adjust as necessary. Explain your product’s appeal and why consumers can’t live without it. Know every answer to any question that someone might ask. Send the message that you’re a hard worker who will do what it takes to be successful. Don’t forget to listen to questions or concerns while still standing firm in your convictions. Be quick, likeable, and assertive but not aggressive.
19) Strive for independence
You should do as much as possible yourself because it is cheaper than hiring everything out and, more important, the experience and expertise you gain sets you up much better for success later. With enough time, you can learn to do anything. Whenever you do ask someone to take over a job, make sure to stay close to the process and learn as much as possible. Shadow the person you hire, talk with them, watch what they do, and listen so that you can eventually become an expert as well.
20) Don’t be intimidated
Cast a wide a net as you can. Knock on every door, call every phone number, and write to every email address you can possibly find belonging to a buyer that might be interested in what you’re selling. Don’t let fear, laziness, or a lack of persistence keep you from success.
21) You’re never done
You have to keep driving your business forward. You want to keep your hands on the steering wheel so that when challenges arise or problems occur, you can take it where you need or want to go.
22) Build friendships
One of the most important things you can do is to get to know the people you work with, because one day you will need to rely on these people to solve a problem, and they will have a choice. They could choose to step up, and make sure your problem is solved; or they could continue on as usual and let you fend for yourself. If you have shown them that you appreciate how hard they work, and have treated them with respect, kindness, and care, there is a much better chance that they will in turn make your business their business.
23) There is always a way
You can’t let anything or anyone get in your way, no matter how dire the situation. You can almost always find a solution if you try hard enough. And if you’ve laid the right groundwork, on those rare occasions when you can’t find a solution, you’ll find that the consequences are usually far less severe than you feared they’d be.