Thought Experiment - Inventions

Money, investing, start-up, inventionEinstein was famous for many things including the theories of general and special relativity. I also learned that he was known for using a technique to dream up the answers to his questions of the universe, called “Thought Experiments.”

This series takes the concept of thought experiments to different places. Today’s thought experiment is new inventions and you are invited to participate.

Many people dream of being a inventor and creating a new product that will make a difference in peoples lives. If you woke up in the morning with what you passionately believe could be a successful invention, what would you do first?

The right answers would depend very much on the particulars of your product. At some point along the way the following will be necessary:

Customers – No business exist nor does any product succeed unless it has a ready and willing supply of customers. Make sure there is sufficient market opportunity.

Market Analysis – You must be able to define your market. Who would buy your product and how many people might buy your product?

Financial Analysis – Calculate costs and forecast both sales and profit margins.

Drawings – You need drawings of the product suitable for patent application and manufacturing.

Prototype – Begin testing and improving your product as soon as possible. While you need something to show potential investors quickly the final product must be designed correctly and be built with quality.

Attorney(s) – You may have one attorney to handle your corporate affairs and another to manage the patent process. The bigger question might be how do you limit the number of attorneys?

Investors – Unless you can fund the entire project where are you going to get the money to pay for R&D and marketing? I’ve always heard that you should look first to family but my gut would lean towards investors that have personal knowledge of and connections to the target market.

Elevator Pitch – If you are going to sell the product or obtain some investors you will need to perfect your pitch. It should be short, clear and present as realistic picture as possible of the opportunities.

Readers: So those are just a few ideas off the top of my head. But what about you? If you had a great idea, what steps would you take first and why? There is at least one other document that would need to be available before moving forward. Which document am I referring to?

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8 comments to Thought Experiment – Inventions

  • This “thought experiment” is intriguing but I suppose I have never considered myself as a potential inventor. I have trouble understanding many inventions after someone else invented them. My wife, on the other hand, is very creative, artistic and inventive. She could be the Thomas Edison of our family. The document that is missing? I clicked the “notify me of followup comments” so I can learn what it is. Good riddle.

    Thanks for including my post on the Yakezie Short Carnival. Greatly appreciated!
    .-= Joe Plemon´s last blog ..Why to Build Wealth…Five Wrong Reasons and One Right One =-.

  • Brandon Schmid

    I think one other thing to add is: Does this product solve a problem?

    Far too often I see people inventing something that either does not solve a problem or if it does, then the problem they are trying to solve is too small.

    I also see people that create problems just with their inventions lol.

    At then end of the day, the best business people are the ones that solve the most, and the biggest problems.



  • When I was younger I had a bunch of ideas that I thought were cool, some are now invested. Most were inventions of convenience like the pop can box where it opens in front. Various family members always shot down my ideas. As these came to into existence, I was a bit upset at first, but then I realized I didn’t have the connections for all that you mention above and so it wouldn’t have went far.

    Hmmm, the missing document, I initially was going to guess the Patent process, but I think the attorneys cover that.
    .-= Money Reasons´s last blog ..MoneyReasons Weekly Cache 2010, April 18 =-.

  • Hola Greg-san I’m doing some similar exercises myself with my new project coming up. I’m so pumped about, and I think it’s going to help out a lot of folks, besides just ourselves.

    It’ll be a small business, with great potential!

    Looking forward to your involvement.


    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..5 Money Habits I Learned That Will Never Make Me Rich =-.

  • nice topic!

    I must admit that I’m kind of narrow-minded in my ideas in the sense that they tend to be small operations that I can market and pull off on my own. I don’t need a lot of overhead, builders, plans etc. I probably wouldn’t be likely to do a market analysis either. . .sometimes you can dig up enough potential customers for a business the size I’d be likely to create out of seemingly thin air.

    I would keep potential customers in mind and get to know their needs very, very well–but that’s because my kind of small business ideas usually involve working with others or teaching in some capacity.
    .-= Simple in France´s last blog ..Saying “NO” to Fitting in. And weekly post picks. =-.

  • The LeanLifeCoach

    @Joe – I’ve seen what you can do with a fireplace! Give yourself more credit… and it is my pleasure!

    @Brandon – Too true! There is way too much crap out there. We would also want something made with quality.

    @MoneyReasons – I think we’ve been shorting ourselves. We don’t have the connections but that doesn’t mean we can’t go out and get them. You had the soda box? How cool is that! Take a look at my next post to see a few of my missed ideas.

    @Samurai – Time to step it up a little. In the world of the web you have to move even quicker than us old folks in the RW. I too am excited to see what you have up your sleeve. I can’t wait!

    @Simple in France – And you too need to give yourself more credit. Ultimately, big or small, customers are what makes any business possible. They should be your primary focus!

    Drum roll please……..

    The one other document you need quickly is a non-disclosure agreement. Before the idea begins leaving your mouth you need to have any potential investors, collaborators or vendors sign a NDA to help protect your idea until you can monetize it.

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