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Is Your Idea Sellable?

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Think you have the next Hula Hoop? Pocket Fisherman? Every now and then we see things that cry out for a solution. “Why doesn’t someone invent something that will solve that problem?” The next time that situation comes up you might want to do a little more thinking.

Just how serious is the problem? How many people a day would purchase this idea if it were out on the market? If the market is there would it be smart to make it and sell it yourself; or sell the idea so someone and walk away with a nice paycheck?

Obviously there is no easy answer to those questions. There are hundreds of variables to consider. Resources, finances, family, income, education, to name just a few, would have to be considered. But, just because there are some initial roadblocks, that’s no reason not to pursue the idea and see what happens.

Funding

Funding considerations go far beyond just producing the product or service. Patents are very expensive but may be necessary to protect your invention from others. Also, patent laws are changing. It’s no longer the first person to think of the idea it’s the first person to file for the patent.

There are also startup costs, market research, feasibility studies, financial forecasting, employees, import/export possibilities, and cash flow.

Most people start with family. If your family has money somewhere and would like a piece of the action then start there. Many people feel that going into business with family members is usually not a good idea and can lead to some heated discussions around the Thanksgiving table. Put everything in writing so there are no misunderstandings about who will pay back what and when.

There are very few, if any, grants for small business startups. If your idea is “green” then you might be able to find some philanthropist that is passionate about that industry. The SBA (Small Business Administration) has many loan programs that can fund startups with good business plans and a workable product or service.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Many potential business owners fail before they even begin due to perceived inadequacies. There are hundreds of entrepreneurs who started very successful businesses with little or no education or finances.

Many dismiss these success stories as “luck.” “They were just in the right place at the right time.” For the most part, these entrepreneurs made their own luck. They were consumed by their idea and failure was simply not an option. Did they make mistakes along the way? Of course, every biography is filled with documentation of failures on the road to a successful venture.

Mistakes are nothing more than learning what doesn’t work. Thomas Edison once remarked that he knew a thousand ways not to make a light bulb.

Some Final Thoughts

An idea is just that — an idea until someone does something about it. If you have one, then don’t wait another minute. Time is of the essence to bring your idea to life. A plant will die on the windowsill if it’s not taken care of. Go out and grow your idea.

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