I had a call yesterday from an inventor that has been working on his product for over eight years. I could tell that he was becoming increasingly frustrated during our call. He asked me a question. And then he asked another. And another. They just kept coming. He had found me on the Internet and I think he assumed I had all the answers for him. I didn’t.
But I did keep trying to explain to him that he needed to get the big picture. Each question he asked lead to another – he couldn’t see the relationship between all of them and the larger goal at hand. It’s obviously important to examine and work on each element of the process. But you can’t go at it solely piece by piece. There’s just too much.
What he needed was an idea of where he was, where he wanted to go, and the steps that it would take him to get there. He needed a road map. If you can’t see where you’re going, then you’re going to very easily get sidetracked by roadblocks. You’ve got to stay on task. But it’s impossible to know how to do so if you don’t ultimately understand the basic way to get there.
The best way to do this is to find someone who is where you want to be and to talk to them. Get a feel for their process – where did they err and what do they wish they’d known? You need someone to give you the overall picture. Follow the steps you’re given. Yes, of course, there are going to be twists and turns. But you’re simply not doing yourself justice if you try to approach something as monumental as bringing a product to the marketplace without picking up your head first.
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 25 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight, a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas and the skills needed to succeed. You can ask questions and get advice on the inventRight forum, check out the resource center, and listen to the weekly radio show on inventing.